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Queen Elizabeth II’s cause of death revealed

Queen Elizabeth II's coffin traveled from Westminster Hall to Wellington Arch and to her final resting place, Windsor Castle, for her state funeral on Sept. 19. (Video: Alexa Juliana Ard/The Washington Post)

LONDON — Queen Elizabeth II died of “old age,” according to her official death certificate, which did not note any contributing factors.

In extracts from the queen’s death certificate, released by the National Records of Scotland on Thursday, the local time of death for the 96-year-old monarch was shown as 3:10 p.m. That detail and others provide a glimpse into the final day of her life.

The queen died Sept. 8 at Balmoral Castle, the royal residence in the Scottish highlands where she spent her summer vacations. At 12:32 p.m. that day, the palace released a highly unusual statement saying that doctors were concerned for her health.

The news spread immediately, and soon it was revealed that the queen’s children and grandchildren, including Prince William and Prince Harry, were rushing to her bedside.

At 6.30 p.m., a second palace statement announced that the queen had “died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon.” The time of death suggests that only the queen’s two eldest children — Charles and Anne — had made it by then to Balmoral.

Several days after the queen’s passing, Princess Anne issued a personal statement saying, “I was fortunate to share the last 24 hours of my dearest mother’s life.”

The official document lists her — the queen’s only daughter — as the “informant.” That signifies that she was the relative who registered the death, filling out the same paperwork as every family in Scotland completes after someone dies.

The document also lists the deceased’s occupation as “Her Majesty The Queen.” The record shows only one cause of death.

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Queen Elizabeth II
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According to guidance from the Scottish government, “old age” as the sole cause of death should be designated only if a person was 80 years or older and several other conditions are met: The certifying doctor has personally cared for the individual for a long period, has “observed a gradual decline” in their general health and is not aware of “any identifiable disease or injury that contributed to the death.”

Britain held an elaborate state funeral for Elizabeth on Sept. 19 that more than 90 world leaders attended. She was laid to rest at Windsor Castle beside her parents and late husband, Prince Philip, who died just a year shy of the century mark in 2021. All four were interred at the King George VI memorial chapel, an annex within St. George’s Chapel on the centuries-old castle grounds.

Windsor drew a larger-than-usual crowd Thursday, the first day since the funeral that the castle was open to the public. Hundreds of people again lined up outside, walking under its gothic entrance arch and then on to the chapel to see the queen’s final resting place.

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