Queen Elizabeth II was a tiny woman dressed in candy colors and extravagant hats, mourned and celebrated within hours of her death on Thursday for her charm and wit, determination to protect the British monarchy and grace in the public eye for more than seven decades.
“The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon,” the palace said in a statement, referring to the queen’s summer residence in Scotland.
According to the BBC, members of the royal family, including her children and grandchildren, Prince William — who is now first in line to the throne — and Prince Harry, rushed to Balmoral as Buckingham Palace announced health concerns early on Thursday.
King Charles III, as he is now known, will deliver a televised address today from London. At 73, the environmentalist, ex-husband of Britain’s beloved Princess Diana, husband of Queen Consort Camilla and a father and grandfather, is the oldest British king to assume the throne. The U.K. news media immediately described the king, an heir to the monarchy since he was three, as a man forever in his mother’s shadow, destined to be less popular and consequential.
“The death of my beloved Mother, Her Majesty The Queen, is a moment of the greatest sadness for me and all members of my family,” Charles said in a statement. “We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished Sovereign and a much-loved Mother. I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world.
“During this period of mourning and change, my family and I will be comforted and sustained by our knowledge of the respect and deep affection in which The Queen was so widely held,” he added.
Elizabeth II’s death appeared to surprise the United Kingdom and much of the world despite her advanced age and reports of health issues in recent years. She was the only monarch most Britons have known. Her official coronation in 1953 followed the death of her father, George VI, in 1952.
▪ BBC: Queen Elizabeth II.
▪ The New York Times: Queen Elizabeth II dies at 96; Was Britain’s longest-reigning monarch.
▪ The Telegraph: Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 1926 — 2022.
▪ The Times: Queen Elizabeth II: Britain’s longest-serving monarch, whose reign was defined by an unwavering sense of commitment to her people and her country.
President Biden joined other former U.S. presidents and elected officials in praising the queen, 96, as a stateswoman who linked the post-World War II era and the 21st century and who affirmed a “special relationship” between the U.K. and the U.S. She met with 13 of 14 sitting U.S. presidents during her reign and was head of state alongside 15 prime ministers.
“She endured the dangers and deprivations of a world war alongside the British people and rallied them during the devastation of a global pandemic to look to better days ahead,” Biden said in a statement. “By showing friendship and respect to newly independent nations around the world, she elevated the cause of liberty and fostered enduring bonds that helped strengthen the Commonwealth, which she loved so deeply, into a community to promote peace and shared values.”
The president on Thursday evening stopped at the British embassy in Washington to leave a handwritten message in a condolence book for visitors. Greeting the ambassador and embassy staff, Biden called Elizabeth II “a great lady,” adding he had been fortunate to meet her while he and first lady Jill Biden were in England last year.
Earlier in the day, Biden canceled White House remarks about COVID-19 upon receiving news of the queen’s death (The New York Times). He ordered White House flags to be flown at half-staff.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) also ordered flags at the Capitol to be flown at half-staff and said the House would pass a bereavement resolution in honor of the late queen. The lighting on the Eiffel Tower in Paris was turned off on Thursday night in the queen’s honor.
Elizabeth II’s funeral, to take place at Westminster Abbey 10 days after her death, will be her country’s first state funeral since Winston Churchill’s in 1965.
Thursday’s historic events capped a week of changes in the U.K., following the exit from No. 10 Downing Street of Boris Johnson as prime minister and the queen’s Tuesday appointment of Liz Truss to lead the Conservative Party as his successor. Truss will meet with King Charles today at Buckingham Palace.
▪ The New York Times: Queen Elizabeth II: A life in photos.
▪ The Guardian: The queen’s funeral: What we can expect over the next 10 days, including five days in which the late monarch’s coffin will lie in state at Westminster Hall.
▪ The Boston Globe: British royal family line of succession following the queen’s death.
▪ Reuters: Death of Queen Elizabeth is marked around the world with tributes and flowers.
▪ Mark Landler, The New York Times: Long an uneasy prince, King Charles III takes on a role he was born to.
LEADING THE DAY
➤ POLITICS & INVESTIGATIONS
The Justice Department on Thursday appealed a federal judge’s ruling in favor of appointing an independent arbiter to review documents collected on Aug. 8 during a search of former President Trump’s residence at Mar-a-Lago, citing national security and an ongoing investigation in its request for reconsideration of part of the ruling.
“Without a stay, the government and public also will suffer irreparable harm from the undue delay to the criminal investigation,” the Justice Department wrote in its filing. “Any delay poses significant concerns in the context of an investigation into the mishandling of classified records.”
In the 21-page appeal, prosecutors laid out a multitude of reasons why Judge Aileen Cannon’s ruling was flawed and should be reversed. They criticized Cannon’s claim that Trump might have a legitimate claim of executive privilege over some of the documents, saying that the only person who can reasonably do that is the current Oval Office occupant (Politico).
In addition, the Justice Department said that the judge’s push to halt the FBI’s probe and concurrently allow a national security review of the seized documents is not “feasible.”
“[S]uch bifurcation would make little sense even if it were feasible, given that the same senior DOJ and FBI officials are ultimately responsible for supervising the criminal investigation and for ensuring that DOJ and FBI are coordinating appropriately with the [Intelligence Community] on its classification review and assessment,” Justice Department counterintelligence chief Jay Bratt said in the filing.
The appeal will be heard by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, on which a majority of judges were appointed by Trump.
As The Hill’s Rebecca Beitsch writes, the motion for a partial stay would allow the government to continue its review of the classified records found at Trump’s home and block the independent arbiter from examining some 100 documents of roughly 10,000 taken in the Aug. 8 search.
Prosecutors also said that a stay is needed so the FBI can help with the investigation into empty folders that were found at Mar-a-Lago that contained classification markings in order to figure out what documents they originally held and whether they “may have been lost or compromised.”
▪ The New York Times: Trump’s post-election fundraising comes under scrutiny by Justice Department.
▪The Washington Post: Stephen Bannon charged with fraud, money laundering, conspiracy in “We Build the Wall.”
▪ The Hill:Wall Street hits back at GOP state officials over shift away from fossil fuels.
On the midterm scene, Democrats are trying to turn Ohio from the right-leaning state it has emerged as in recent years back to its previous role as one of the preeminent swing states, as polls show that Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) has a puncher’s chance against Republican J.D. Vance in November.
Since Biden’s 2020 loss in the Buckeye State, political observers have increasingly seen the Buckeye State as Trump territory. However, as The Hill’s Alex Gangitano notes, various Democratic House candidates are showing strength in addition to Ryan — most notably Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), who looked like she’d be in trouble after redistricting made her district more Republican. She is now in a toss-up race with Republican J.R. Majewski, who has come under scrutiny because he was at the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.
Next door, the Michigan Supreme Courton Thursday ruled in favor of addinga proposal to the November ballot enshrining the right to an abortion in the state’s Constitution, ending a partisan feud that unexpectedly erupted when a state board refused to approve the question last week (The Washington Post).
▪ Alexander Bolton, The Hill: Same-sex marriage bill expected to pass Senate this month.
▪ Axios: Republican Senate candidate Mehmet Oz calls for a September debate, criticizing Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman’s (D) offer of one in October.
The Hill: Liberals push Biden on marijuana reform ahead of midterm momentum.
IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES
Russia’s war with Ukraine has caused significant economic turmoil in Europe that leaders fear could undermine allied support for Ukraine while undercutting living standards and economic growth, especially because of projected energy shortages in the winter (The New York Times).
Inflation is soaring. In the 19 countries that use the euro, consumer prices rose 9.1 percent in August, according to the most recent data reported by the Times. Nine of those nations were in double-digit territory. The highest was Estonia, where inflation topped 25 percent.
Skyrocketing energy prices are at the center of rising costs. Natural gas and electricity prices recently set records in August as the flow of oil and gas from Russia to Europe dwindled, raising the specter of recession in economies across Europe, according to the Times. The average European household is facing a monthly energy bill of 500 euros ($494) next year, triple the amount in 2021, according to Goldman Sachs (The New York Times).
On Thursday, the European Central Bank raised key benchmark interest rates by three-quarters of a percentage point, the largest hike since the launch of the euro in 1999, joining other central banks in an aggressive move to try to calm inflation (The Associated Press). A “substantial slowdown” is expected in the eurozone economy ahead of a winter energy crisis, signaling pain ahead and possibly political upheaval (The New York Times).
Against that ominous backdrop, European Union energy ministers met on Thursday in Brussels following the Wednesday announcement of an EU plan that calls for capping revenues of low-carbon energy companies, renewable and nuclear suppliers that have reaped “enormous revenues” from generating electricity, with proceeds earmarked to help domestic consumers and companies pay “astronomical” bills (The Guardian).
In Great Britain, Truss announced on her third day in office a sweeping plan to freeze gas and electricity rates just as news broke of the queen’s death (The New York Times).
EuroNews and Reuters: France plans to restart its entire nuclear fleet by early next year. One of the largest producers of nuclear power in the world, state-owned EDF is trying to avoid disruption to its energy supply over the winter. Electricity rationing is possible.
At the same time, Secretary of State Antony Blinken made an unannounced visit to Kyiv on Thursday and pledged $2.6 billion in U.S. military and security assistance ($675 million in military aid and $2 billion in long-term security assistance to Ukraine and its neighbors), hoping to fortify Ukraine’s defenses along with unity among allies behind the war effort (NBC News and The Associated Press).
In Germany on Thursday, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, met their counterparts in the Ukraine Defense Contact Group at the Ramstein Air Force Base. Austin, who also announced the $675 million in military aid to Ukraine, told reporters that Ukrainian forces showed “demonstrable success” against Russian forces (Al Jazeera). “This is the Biden administration’s twentieth drawdown of equipment from U.S. stocks for Ukraine since last August,” he added.
■ With dignity, Queen Elizabeth II embodied an endangered principle: unity, by David Von Drehle, columnist, The Washington Post. https://wapo.st/3qlea1r
■ Queen Elizabeth’s old-school virtues, by Peggy Noonan, columnist, The Wall Street Journal. https://on.wsj.com/3B2S4FQ
WHERE AND WHEN
The House will meet at 9 a.m. for a pro forma session and return to work in the Capitol on Tuesday.
The Senate convenes on Monday at 3 p.m. and will resume consideration of Salvador Mendoza Jr. to be U.S. Circuit Judge for the 9th Circuit.
The president will receive the President’s Daily Brief at 8:30 a.m. Biden will travel to Licking County, Ohio, to speak at 12:15 p.m. about American manufacturing at a groundbreaking event for an Intel Corp. semiconductor manufacturing facility (The Associated Press). The president will depart Ohio and arrive in Wilmington, Del., at 3:20 p.m.
Vice President Harris will speak with International Space Station astronauts at 9:55 a.m. CDT from the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston. She will chair at 1:20 p.m. CDT a meeting of the National Space Council and return from Texas to Washington this afternoon. (The council will hear from two State Department officials, including the assistant secretary of state for arms control, with a focus on “responsible” international behavior in outer space and “shared international commitment against destructive, direct-ascent anti-satellite missile testing.”)
The secretary of state, who just left Poland, is in Brussels this morning with NATO ambassadors and will hold a joint press conference at 1:15 p.m. local time with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. Blinken will meet virtually while in Brussels this afternoon with his counterparts from France, Germany and the United Kingdom.
The first lady will participate in the Philadelphia Phillies’ sixth annual “Childhood Cancer Awareness Night” game at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia at 6:30 p.m. as part of the Biden administration’s Cancer Moonshot. She will join the Phillies and Major League Baseball to honor pediatric cancer patients and survivors and their families at the game.
➤ PANDEMIC, POX & HEALTH
Uber announced on Thursday that masks as COVID-19 precautions are now optional for New York passengers, albeit recommended (Yahoo News).
Confirmed reports of monkeypox cases in the United States are dropping, but racial disparities are growing among reported cases. While cases in white men have dropped in recent weeks, Blacks made up a growing percentage of infections — nearly 38 percent during the final week of August, according to the latest data available. In the early weeks of the monkeypox outbreak, Black people made up less than a quarter of reported cases. Latinos are also disproportionately infected, making up roughly a third of infections. That trend means that public health messaging and vaccines are not effectively reaching those communities, said Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security (The Associated Press).
The Food and Drug Administration issued a new alert on Thursday after reports that various types of cancer, including squamous cell carcinoma and various lymphomas, have been found in the scar tissue of breast implants. Binita Ashar, the director of the Office of Surgical and Infection Control Devices in the agency’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said in a release that the agency received reports of the cancers in the capsule or scar tissue near the implants, but that the occurrences are considered rare (CNN).
Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff and White House COVID-19 response coordinator Ashish Jha plan a virtual roundtable event at 2:30 p.m. with youth leaders to promote COVID-19 vaccinations and booster doses among young people this fall.
Total U.S. coronavirus deaths reported as of this morning, according to Johns Hopkins University (trackers all vary slightly): 1,049,749. Current average U.S. COVID-19 daily deaths are 313, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A bankruptcy judge on Thursday greenlighted the Boy Scouts of America’s proposed $2.46 billion reorganization plan that would allow it to continue operations as it compensates tens of thousands of men who reported being sexually abused as children while taking part in the organization. More than 80,000 men have filed abuse claims against the Boy Scouts of America (The Associated Press).
And finally … 👏👏👏 Bravo to this week’s Morning Report Quiz winners! The Hill’s Al Weaver created his final newsletter quiz before he resets his alarm clock to begin covering the Senate. He has the NFL and the upcoming season in mindbecause, let’s face it, much of America does, too.
🏈 Victorious is Pam Manges, the lone pigskin puzzler who went 4/4.
The Washington Commanders this weekend will take the field under the franchise’s new nickname, and there’s another change: Black is the color of the alternate jersey for the team’s upcoming season.
Ten NFL teams made head coaching changes ahead of the 2022 season.
Teams can wear alternate helmet designs during the upcoming season (the correct answer from among our options).
Super Bowl LVII will happen in Glendale, Ariz., which will make three Super Bowls played in the greater Phoenix area.