Queen Elizabeth II, whose reign took Britain from the age of steam to the era of the smartphone, and who oversaw the largely peaceful breakup of an empire that once spanned the globe, has died. She was 96.

She died peacefully at Balmoral on the afternoon of Sept. 8, according to a statement from Buckingham Palace.

Ascending the throne in 1952, Elizabeth led the U.K. through a time of political upheaval. She began her reign as head of an empire, albeit one in decline. By the time of her death, the future of the U.K. itself was in doubt, with recurrent calls for independence in Scotland and Britain’s exit from the European Union leading to renewed tension in Northern Ireland.