LONDON, UK — Following the announcement Thursday that doctors were "concerned" about Queen Elizabeth II's heath, crowds began to gather around Buckingham Palace.
A few hours later as they anxiously waited for any update, a double rainbow briefly adorned London skies overtop the crowds. Shortly after, news spread of the queen's death at age 96.
British subjects outside Buckingham Palace wept when officials carried a notice confirming the queen’s death to the wrought-iron gates of the queen's London home. Hundreds soon gathered in the rain, and mourners laid dozens of colorful bouquets at the gates.
A photographer for Getty Images tweeted about the moment the flags were being lowered to half mast over Windsor Castle while a rainbow appeared on Thursday.
Buckingham Palace said the queen died Thursday afternoon at Balmoral Castle, her summer residence in Scotland, where members of the royal family had rushed to her side after her health took a turn for the worse.
BBC channels interrupted programming with a special report confirming the queen's death. With a somber tone and dressed in black, a presenter announced the queen had died peacefully.
The BBC played the national anthem, “God Save the Queen,” over a portrait of her in full regalia and the flag over Buckingham Palace as the second Elizabethan age came to a close.
Elizabeth had been on the throne since 1952, when the nation was still rebuilding from the destruction of World War II, and became a global icon of calmness and fortitude through years of political upheaval and social changes at home and abroad.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.