‘An Inspiring Presence’: Joe Biden, Elton John, and More React to Queen Elizabeth II’s Death

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queen-elizabeth-tribute - Credit: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images
queen-elizabeth-tribute - Credit: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

After the death of Queen Elizabeth II — the longest-reigning leader of the United Kingdom — celebrities, musicians, and political leaders shared tributes in honor of the late monarch.

The White House shared a statement on behalf of President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden shortly after her death was announced.

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“Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was more than a monarch. She defined an era,” the statement read. “In a world of constant change, she was a steadying presence and a source of comfort and pride for generations of Britons, including many who have never known their country without her… The seven decades of her history-making reign bore witness to an age of unprecedented human advancement and the forward march of human dignity.”

The Bidens praised the late Queen for dedicating “her whole life to their service,” and remembered meeting her during a trip to the United Kingdom in 1982 when Biden was a Senator. (“She charmed us with her wit, moved us with her kindness, and generously shared with us her wisdom,” Biden wrote.)

“Queen Elizabeth II led always with grace, an unwavering commitment to duty, and the incomparable power of her example. 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,” the statement read, later adding, “She helped Americans commemorate both the anniversary of the founding of Jamestown and the bicentennial of our independence. And she stood in solidarity with the United States during our darkest days after 9/11, when she poignantly reminded us that ‘Grief is the price we pay for love.’ “

Sir Elton John was one of the first musicians to share a statement commemorating the Queen’s life. “Along with the rest of the nation, I am deeply saddened to hear the news of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s passing,” John wrote. “She was an inspiring presence to be around, and led the country through some of our greatest, and darkest, moments with grace, decency and a genuine caring warmth.”

He added, “Queen Elizabeth has been a huge part of my life from childhood to this day, and I will miss her dearly.”

World leaders, including France’s president Emmanuel Macron and the United Nations leader António Guterres, also expressed their condolences.

“I am deeply saddened at the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, admired worldwide for her leadership & devotion,” tweeted Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations. “She was a good friend to the @UN & a reassuring presence through decades of change. Her unwavering, lifelong dedication will be long remembered.”

Macron wrote: “Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II embodied the British nation’s continuity and unity for over 70 years. I remember her as a friend of France, a kind-hearted queen who has left a lasting impression on her country and her century.”

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby shared a lengthy statement sharing that he’s mourning the death of the Queen, remembering her leadership through the Covid pandemic.

“In The Late Queen’s life, we saw what it means to receive the gift of life we have been given by God and — through patient, humble, selfless service — share it as a gift to others,” he wrote.

Former Presidents Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, George Bush, and Donald Trump also shared statements and tributes for the late Queen.

On his social media app Truth Social, Trump said the queen would be “remembered for her faithfulness to her country and her unwavering devotion to her fellow countrymen and women. Melania and I will always cherish our time together with the Queen and never forget Her Majesty’s generous friendship, great wisdom, and wonderful sense of humor.”

Clinton wrote that he and his wife Hillary were mourning her death and wanted to give “thanks for her extraordinary life.”

“She led Britain through great transformations with unfailing grace, dignity, and genuine care for the welfare of all its people,” he wrote. “In sunshine or storm, she was a source of stability, serenity, and strength.”

Obama shared a photo of himself, Michelle Obama, and late Prince Philip.

“Michelle and I were lucky enough to come to know Her Majesty, and she meant a great deal to us. Back when we were just beginning to navigate life as President and First Lady, she welcomed us to the world stage with open arms and extraordinary generosity,” Obama wrote. “Time and again, we were struck by her warmth, the way she put people at ease, and how she brought her considerable humor and charm to moments of great pomp and circumstance.”

Obama added, “Like so many, Michelle and I are grateful to have witnessed Her Majesty’s dedicated leadership, and we are awed by her legacy of tireless, dignified public service. Our thoughts are with her family and the people of the United Kingdom at this difficult time.”

Meanwhile President Bush wrote, “Queen Elizabeth ably led England through dark moments with her confidence in her people and her vision for a brighter tomorrow. Our world benefitted from her steady resolve, and we are grateful for her decades of service as sovereign.”

Other musicians also posted tributes for the queen on social media, including some of the U.K.’s greatest rockstars.

“I mourn with my country the passing of our greatest Queen,” wrote Ozzy Osbourne on Instagram. “With a heavy heart I say it’s devastating the thought of England without Queen Elizabeth II.”

“Dignity. If there’s ever one word to describe this wonderful lady & monarch it’s dignity. We will never see the likes of this again,” added Def Leppard. “She has transcended eras with good grace and service to her country that is unparalleled anywhere or by anyone. Thank you your Majesty for a lifetime of great memories and leadership.”

“The Rolling Stones extend their deepest sympathy to the Royal family on the death of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, who was a constant presence in their lives as in countless others,” wrote the Rolling Stones on their Instagram.

Mick Jagger wrote, “For my whole life Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II has always been there. In my childhood I can recall watching her wedding highlights on TV. I remember her as a beautiful young lady, to the much beloved grandmother of the nation. My deepest sympathies are with the Royal family.”

Dionne Warwick also shared that her sadness following the queen’s death. “She graciously greeted me with knowledge of my recordings naming ‘I Say A Little Prayer’ as a favorite,” she wrote. “Condolences to her family and the citizens of the United Kingdom.”

“Up to the mountain, Queen,” Maren Morris tweeted, sharing a video of herself playing piano and singing Patty Griffin’s “Up to the Mountain.”

Meanwhile, actress Helen Mirren wrote, “I am proud to be an Elizabethan. We mourn a woman, who, with or without the crown, was the epitome of nobility.”

The British monarchy announced her passing with a short statement. “The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon,” the message read “The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow.”

The news came just hours after Buckingham Palace released a statement noting concern for the royal’s health. In a rare comment, the palace confirmed on Sept. 8 that the Queen would remain under medical supervision at her home in Balmoral. Following the news, the Queen’s children and grandchildren traveled to be by her side, including her son and heir, Prince Charles, as well as Prince William and Prince Harry.

In an official statement — where he’s referred to, for the first time, as “His Majesty the King” — Charles shared a statement acknowledging his mother’s death.

“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. We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished Sovereign and a much-loved Mother,” Charles wrote. “I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world.”

Charles added that the United Kingdom would be going through a “period of mourning and change,” but that the Queen’s family will be “comforted and sustained by our knowledge of the respect and deep affection in which The Queen was so widely held.”

This story was updated at 3:15 p.m. to include reactions from President Barack Obama, Ozzy Osbourne, Mick Jagger, and other celebrities.

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