Last picture of the Queen before her death aged 96 shows her smiling at Balmoral

The last known picture of Her Majesty the Queen was taken when she met Liz Truss, after inviting the new Prime Minister to form a fresh government on Tuesday.

A sullen statement from Buckingham Palace that sent shockwaves through the world following the death of the Queen today read: “The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon.

“The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow.”

READ MORE: Queen dies aged 96 as longest-reigning monarch loses long-running health battle

Queen Elizabeth II reigned over the United Kingdom since 1952 and is the country’s longest-serving monarch.

And in her last important engagement, she welcomed newly elected leader of the Conservative party Liz Truss to her Scottish bolthole.

In an image that will circle the world, the Queen smiles broadly despite her illness, as she waits for Truss in the Drawing Room at Balmoral Castle.

The Monarch waits with a walking stick as she oversaw the 15th Prime Minister in her 70-year tenure as Queen.

"She fulfilled her duty as Queen even on her last days," tweeted one mourner.

The Queen’s funeral will, according to tradition, be a state funeral, a rare honour mostly reserved for the sovereign.

Her death marks the end of the Elizabethan era and is certain to trigger an extended period of national mourning.

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Prince Charles, her eldest son, now becomes King having held the position of Prince of Wales for the longest period in history. Prince William is now expected to inherit that title.

Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, will likely now become the Queen Consort. She will be the first person to fill the role since the Queen Mother.

As Queen, Elizabeth oversaw a period of modernisation and great technological advance in Britain.

As well as being sovereign, she was Head of the Commonwealth and key to keeping the bloc of former British Empire territories united.

She was born in Mayfair in 1926 to the Duke and Duchess of York, who later became King George VI and Queen Elizabeth when King Edward VIII abdicated the throne in 1936 to be with his American lover Wallis Simpson.

Elizabeth acceded the throne in 1952 after her father died while she was on a tour of Kenya.

As Princess Elizabeth, she married Philip Mountbatten in 1947 before having four children; Charles in 1948, Anne in 1950, Andrew in 1960 and Edward in 1964.

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