The Archbishop of Canterbury paid tribute to the late Queen following her passing at the age of 96 in Balmoral Castle

The senior church leader, Justin Welby, expressed his “profound sadness” following the news of her death after 70 years on the throne. 

This comes as chapels, churches and cathedrals across the country prepare to toll their bells and begin special services at 11am in memory of the late monarch.

Archbishop of Canterbury pays tribute to the Queen

The Archbishop said: “As we grieve together, we know that, in losing our beloved Queen, we have lost the person whose steadfast loyalty, service and humility has helped us make sense of who we are through decades of extraordinary change in our world, nation and society. 

“As deep as our grief runs, even deeper is our gratitude for Her Late Majesty’s extraordinary dedication to the United Kingdom, her Realms and the Commonwealth. Through times of war and hardship, through seasons of upheaval and change, and through moments of joy and celebration, we have been sustained by Her Late Majesty’s faith in what and who we are called to be.”

Pope Francis pays tribute to the Queen

Pope Francis, head of the Catholic Church, also paid his respects to the Queen in a telegram sent to the country’s new head of state, King Charles III. 

He said: “Deeply saddened to learn of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, I offer heartfelt condolences to Your Majesty, the Members of the Royal Family, the People of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth.” 

Other senior figures in the Church of England like the Archbishop of York praised the Queen’s “constant faithful presence” while the Church of Scotland’s Rt Rev Dr Iain Greenshields said: “The Church of Scotland has valued Her late Majesty's generous support, and seen in her private devotion someone for whom faith remained central throughout her long life.

We send our heartfelt condolences to the King, and all members of the Royal Family, assuring them of our prayers and best wishes in the days ahead." 

The Chief Rabbi of the Jewish community in the Commonwealth also sent his condolences to the Queen and Royal Family, stating: "The Queen embodied the most noble values of British society. Throughout her extraordinary reign she conducted herself with grace, dignity and humility, and was a global role model for distinguished leadership and selfless devotion to society."

The Queen’s passing has triggered 12 days of mourning ahead of her state funeral. 

Charles, the Queen’s eldest son, became King with immediate effect and will be known as Charles III. 

The new king will broadcast his first address to the nation as king at 6pm tonight.