THE QUEEN has died aged 96, Buckingham Palace has confirmed this evening. The news comes after members of the Royal family headed en-masse to Balmoral this afternoon, after doctors warned that the Queen's health had deteriorated.

The flag at Buckingham Palace was lowered to half-mast at 6.30pm.

People among the crowd gathered outside the gates began crying and taking pictures as a single helicopter circled the skies above.

A group of armed police assembled with Palace staff in the grounds. Broadcaster Huw Edwards delivered the news of the Queen’s death live on BBC One.

After an image of the flag at Buckingham Palace was shown at half mast, he told viewers: “A few moments ago Buckingham Palace announced the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.”

Floral tributes in Hereford as Queen's death mourned

Edwards then read out the statement from Buckingham Palace which announced the news. The broadcaster was dressed in a dark suit, white shirt and black tie, in line with the BBC’s dress code for when a member of the royal family dies as a mark of respect.

Spanning 70 years, the Queen's magnificent service, which has seen her be a beacon of continuity through times of change, big crowds turned out to see the Queen when she visited Herefordshire, such as in 1957 and 2003.

To remember the Queen's reign, the longest-ever in world history, here's a look back at the times she has visited Herefordshire.

The Queen inspecting livestock at Hereford Cattle Market in 1957

Over the years, her visits have included unveiling a memorial plaque at Hereford Cathedral in 2012 as part of her Diamond Jubilee tour, inspecting livestock at the cattle market in 1957 and observing a massage at Hereford's blind college in 1987.

The Queen at Hereford’s Blind College in December 1987

The Queen unveiled a memorial plaque at Hereford Cathedral in 2012. Picture: Chas Breton

She has been greeted by thousands of wellwishers over the years, including most recently the Diamond Jubilee tour where the city centre's streets were packed.

The Queen and her husband spent just over an hour in the city, arriving by train at 10am. They then travelled by car along Commercial Road before crossing into Commercial Street and passing the black and white house in High Town before travelling along High Street and turning into Broad Street.


They arrived at Hereford Cathedral at 10.15am where the Queen revealed a plaque officially declaring the new Cathedral Close open.

The Duke of Edinburgh with the Queen at a visit to Hereford Cathedral in 2012. Picture: Derek Foxton

From there the Royal visitors went on to the King George V playing fields for 10.40am, where they were greeted by a choir of 1,000 local voices and a parade of entertainers.

While on the fields, they visited marquees representing various corners of the county, shake hands with volunteers and meet the crew of the Hereford Bull - the Wye Trow which took part in the Royal pageant on the River Thames.

Herefordshire's Diamond Day celebrations continued into the afternoon and thousands of people came out to take part.

During Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip's first visit in 1957, they went from Ledbury to Leominster, before the Queen planted two oak trees at Queenswood.

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh during a visit to Queenswood in 1957

At Hereford, there was a rousing welcome from thousands of well-wishers. She opened the Langford sale ring at Hereford’s old cattle market, and took tea at the Town Hall with the Mayor, Alderman CJ Gooding and Mayoress, Camilla Gooding.

The Queen at Hereford Cattle Market in 1957

The flags came out again in 1976 when the Queen arrived in Hereford to distribute Royal Maundy coins at the cathedral, and again in 1987, when the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh returned for the third time, taking lunch at Bulmers where they were met by retired chairman, Bertram Bulmer and received the first bottle of cider brandy.

Cider Museum founder Bertam Bulmer presents the Queen with a bottle. Picture: Derek Evans Archive

The Queen with Prince Philip at Bulmers in 1987

George Thomas, former public relations’ manager, said: “We were going to paint the loos but were advised not to, as the Queen and Prince Philip didn’t like the smell of fresh paint.”

Crowds lined the streets to cheer the Royals during a visit to Hereford in the 1990s, with the Duke of Edinburgh pictured amid a crowd in St Peter's Square, and speaking to children from Hereford Cathedral Junior School.

The Queen shares a joke with the staff of Keith and Peter’s hairdressers during a visit to Hereford in 1996

The Queen during a visit in 1996 when she officially opened Hereford’s library

The Queen sits alongside Prince Philip during a visit


Hereford Cathedral in 1996 to visit the Mappa Mundi exhibition, with the then dean Robert Willis