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Queen Elizabeth II at the opening of a new building at the Thames Hospice in Maidenhead, United Kingdom, on July 15.

Queen Elizabeth II, whose reign took Britain from the age of steam to the era of the smartphone, and who oversaw the largely peaceful breakup of an empire that once spanned the globe, has died. She was 96.

She died peacefully at her estate in Balmoral, Scotland, on Thursday afternoon, according to a statement from Buckingham Palace.

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