As crowds gathered in rain-swept London Thursday evening due to the news that Queen Elizabeth II was gravely ill, the clouds suddenly parted, revealing a double rainbow above Buckingham Palace.
Approximately 20 minutes after the appearance of the rainbow, the palace issued a statement at 6:30 p.m. local time announcing that Elizabeth had passed away at Balmoral Castle, her retreat in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.
“The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon,” the statement read. “The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow.”
Yahoo News editor Ed Hornick, who was vacationing in London, shot a picture of the rainbow shortly after 6 p.m. London time that he posted to Twitter.
Pouring rain blanketed London for most of the day. Shortly before #QueenElizabeth II’s death was announced, the sun broke through thick, gray clouds and a rainbow appeared. “London Bridge is Down.” pic.twitter.com/pOBZ4aKtMf
— Ed Hornick (@edhornick) September 8, 2022
While the public announcement of the queen's death came at 6:30 p.m., Elizabeth actually had passed away earlier in the day; the prime minister's office was informed at 4:30 p.m., according to Sky News.
NEW: No 10 say the PM was informed of the Queen’s death by the Cabinet Secretary at 4.30pm while she was working in Downing St.
Liz Truss has spoken to the King.
She will chair an operational ministerial meeting at 9pm.
— Joe Pike (@joepike) September 8, 2022
Coinciding with reports of her declining health, the queen's family began arriving at Balmoral early Thursday. Her death at 96 marked the end of an extraordinary 70-year reign as sovereign. Following a period of silence that followed the announcement that Elizabeth had died, the crowd gathered at Buckingham Palace joined in a chorus of "God Save the Queen."