As crowds gather in honor of Queen Elizabeth II, the world is mourning the passing of the longest reigning monarch in British history. News outlets announced Thursday the queen passed peacefully at the age of 96 at Balmoral Castle, her Scottish summer home.
“We are so saddened to hear of the death of Her Majesty the Queen,” said Nigel Fawcett-Jones, manager of the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team (BG-RRT) and assistant head of ministry in the U.K.
“We are thankful for her leading the Commonwealth so well over so many years. The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team is already outside Buckingham Palace to support those grieving and paying their respects,” he continued. “There is so much going on in the world at the moment. The death of the queen will add to the insecurity and fear that people are currently experiencing and we want them to know that there is hope in the Gospel message and through faith in Jesus. He brings peace in the midst of the storm in every challenge of life.”
With international headlines citing the queen’s critical condition on Thursday, six crisis-trained U.K. chaplains from the BG-RRT arrived at Buckingham Palace moments after hearing of her passing to comfort those mourning.
A double rainbow appeared in the sky shortly before the announcement of the queen’s passing was made. Chaplains will remain in the area at least 10 days until the queen’s funeral.
In addition, more than 20 chaplains from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association’s U.S., U.K., Canadian, and Australian offices are expected to minister in the next few days to mourners gathered near Windsor Castle and in Edinburgh, Scotland. The chaplains will offer prayer and a listening ear, helping Brits navigate any spiritual questions they may have during this sensitive time.
The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has held evangelistic events in England since the 1950s, and Billy and Ruth Graham visited the queen on several occasions.
“I am deeply saddened to hear about the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II,” Franklin Graham shared on Facebook. “She has been a symbol of stability and steadfastness for the United Kingdom for 70 years, and I’m asking people to join me in praying for the royal family and the people of the U.K.”
During the last 68 years, three generations of Grahams have shared the Good News in at least 20 cities in the United Kingdom, including four cities during the recent U.K. God Loves You Tour.
Last April, chaplains offered care to those grieving outside Buckingham Palace following the death of Her Majesty’s husband, Prince Philip, whom she was married to for 73 years.
Queen Elizabeth’s eldest son, Charles, 73, is now king of the United Kingdom and the head of state of 14 other provinces, including Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.
For many, the queen’s seven-decade rule is the only monarchy they’ve experienced. After her father died, she became queen at the age of 25 and was coronated 16 months later. Her reign involved 15 prime ministers—from Winston Churchill, born in 1874, to Liz Truss, born in 1975 and just appointed by the queen this past Tuesday.
The queen’s death comes at a fragile time between a shift in leadership and economic hardships.
Read stories about Billy Graham’s friendship with the queen.