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World leaders pay tribute to Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth of England

The death on Thursday of Queen Elizabeth II prompted an outpouring of condolences from leaders around the world.

Presidents, prime ministers and fellow monarchs all paid tribute to the queen, Britain’s longest-serving monarch. At 96, she remained one of the world’s most recognizable people, her image a symbol of the nation both at home and abroad.

Her personality remained an enigma to many of her subjects, but she was famous for her sense of duty and took part in hundreds of public engagements a year.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Twitter that he would never forget the queen’s “warmth and kindness.”

“During one of the meetings she showed me the handkerchief Mahatma Gandhi gifted her on her wedding,” he said. “I will always cherish that gesture.”

French President Emmanuel Macron, also on Twitter, said that he would “remember her as a friend of France, a kind-hearted queen who left a lasting impression on her country and her century.”

United Nations Secretary General António Guterres mourned her loss in a statement, saying she was a “reassuring presence throughout decades of sweeping change, including the decolonization of Africa and Asia and the evolution of the Commonwealth.”

The Commonwealth is a group of states that includes the United Kingdom and many of its former territories.

In a statement addressed to the new king, Charles III, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa “expressed his profound and sincere condolences” for the queen’s death.

“Her Majesty was an extraordinary and world-renowned public figure who lived a remarkable life. Her life and legacy will be fondly remembered by many around the world,” Ramaphosa said.

Dickie Arbiter, a former press secretary for the queen, said her legacy would be one of “stability and continuity” and that thanks to her lengthy stewardship, Britain has a monarchy that is “world-recognized.”

Elizabeth served for 70 years and for most Britons, she was the only monarch they ever knew.

Robert Hardman, author of “Queen of the World,” said she may be remembered in the pantheon of British monarchs as the first to reverse 1,000 years of accepted royal practice that a monarch’s job is to consolidate or conquer or expand territory.

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