Queen Elizabeth II “slipped away in her sleep” and had a “very peaceful” death, according to a memo written by her private secretary.
Sir Edward Young wrote a note about the late monarch’s final moments at Balmoral Castle, where she died on 8 September 2022, aged 96.
In a memo reported by the Daily Mail, Sir Edward wrote: “Very peaceful. In her sleep. Slipped away. Old age. She wouldn’t have been aware of anything. No pain.”
The document – now housed in the Royal Archives – is featured in a new biography of the King, entitled Charles III: New King, New Court. The Inside Story – by the Mail’s royal writer, Robert Hardman. The book is being serialised by the newspaper.
However, the book reveals the Queen died very suddenly – with Charles rushing to Balmoral by helicopter and reading the plans for events following her death, dubbed “London Bridge”, on the way.
The now-king and Queen Camilla spent an hour with his mother privately before she died.
Princess Anne and the late Queen’s senior dresser, Angela Kelly, took turns sitting at her bedside, together with Reverend Kenneth McKenzie, a minister at nearby Crathie Kirk – the church where the Royal Family worship when they are staying at Balmoral.
Charles called both Prince William and Prince Harry and told them to travel to Scotland as quickly as possible to say their final goodbyes, the biography says.
He went out to gather mushrooms and clear his head after seeing his mother – before being informed she had died as he was driving back to Balmoral, according to the Mail.
His most senior aide took a call, prompting Charles to pull over, when he was addressed for the first time as “Your Majesty”.
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Royals mark Queen Elizabeth’s death When Charles called William via the Palace switchboard to break the news, he simply told the operator “it’s me” – as he could not yet reveal that he was king.
He tried to contact Harry, but he was already on a flight, the book says.
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According to the book, shortly after Sir Edward wrote the memo, a footman brought a locked red box of paperwork found at the Queen’s deathbed containing two sealed letters.
One was addressed to her son and heir, while the other was for Sir Edward, the Mail reports.
The box also held the Queen’s choice of candidates for the Order of Merit for “exceptionally meritorious service” across the Commonwealth.’
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The King later described the death of his mother as a “profound loss”.
He said of the late Queen: “During her life, she remained a constant source of inspiration for us all.”