The board of Britain’s main public service broadcaster, the BBC, has called Queen Elizabeth II “a unifying figures across generations, communities and borders,” as bosses paid tribute to the monarch, who died today aged 96.
The broadcaster has cleared its schedules this evening as the UK comes to terms with a future without Elizabeth on the throne for the first time since 1953 and has switched to rolling news coverage as crowds gather around Buckingham Palace in London to pay tribute. Its bosses have this evening followed up by releasing a heartfelt statement.
“On behalf of everyone at the BBC we offer our deepest condolences to the Royal Family following the death of Her Majesty The Queen,” said BBC Chairman RICHARD SHARP and Director General Tim Davie.
“Her Majesty was the absolute embodiment of public service. She was a unifying figure across generations, communities and borders, who represented the very best of our nation. We are grateful at the BBC to have witnessed, recorded and shared so many of the special moments in her long life and reign.
“She will always be remembered with the greatest affection and admiration.”
The BBC’s relationship with the Royal Family hasn’t always been the easiest, but the organization generally always displayed a reverence and warmth to the Queen, and the Board’s words this evening show a depth of feeling that many in Britain are sharing right now.
The broadcaster is currently running a news special on BBC One and BBC Two, having scrapped its schedule earlier today when it became apparent the Queen’s health was fast deteriorating. This will run until at least 10.30pm local time. BBC Three and BBC Four have been suspended for the evening.
Meanwhile, other key figures from the UK’s broadcasting space released statements highlighting Elizabeth’s unique place in the UK’s collective psyche.
“On behalf of Channel 4, we are deeply saddened by the death of Her Majesty The Queen and our thoughts and condolences are with her family and the whole country,” said Channel 4 CEO Alex Mahon. “For over 70 years, she has united this nation, supporting the right on everyone to have the opportunity to success and celebrating the rich diversity of our communities.”