The Queen and Prince Philip on a visit to Gibraltar, 10 May 1954 / sur

Gibraltar grieves for Queen Elizabeth II, who passed away this Thursday afternoon

As local people paid tributes to for Her Majesty, the chief minister and other government officials returned early to the Rock from London and Gibraltar's National Day celebrations on Saturday have been cancelled

DEBBIE BARTLETT Gibraltar

Many people in Gibraltar shed a tear this Thursday evening as the news broke that Queen Elizabeth II had died. Her Majesty held a very special place in the hearts of the local population.

The statement from Buckingham Palace earlier in the day that the Queen's doctors were concerned about her health, and her family rushing to Balmoral Castle to be with her, came as a shock.

Gibraltar's chief minister Fabian Picardo, deputy chief minister Dr Joseph Garcia and attorney general Michael Llamas returned early to the Rock from London this afternoon, where they had been holding meetings relating to Gibraltar's future relationship with the European Union. They were due to return on Friday.

The Gibraltar government issued a statement immediately after the announcement of Her Majesty's death. It read as follows:

"The Chief Minster, Fabian Picardo said: "It is with great sadness that the People of Gibraltar and His Majesty's Government of Gibraltar has received the news from Buckingham Palace of the death at Balmoral in Scotland of Her Majesty The Queen, Elizabeth The Second.

"The People of Gibraltar will mourn Her Majesty as a monarch who has reigned wisely and with incomparable dedication throughout the period of our post-war emergence as a part of the British family of nations.

"The People of Gibraltar and the Government proclaim their loyalty to the Crown of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and to His Majesty The King.

"I have written to His Majesty the King to offer the deepest condolences of the Government and the People of Gibraltar to all the members of our Royal Family at this sad time.

"May Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II rest in eternal peace and may the reign of His Majesty The King be long, peaceful and prosperous. Long live the King.

The following arrangements should also be noted:

Today, as soon as the announcement of Her Majesty’s death had been made at Buckingham Palace, Gibraltar lowered the flags of official buildings.

Together with the United Kingdom and the rest of the Overseas Territories, Gibraltar has entered a period of national mourning.

The traditional National Day events will therefore be cancelled. A further announcement will follow.

Flags will remain at half-mast until the day of the State Funeral and will be raised only temporarily for the Proclamation of the Accession of the new Sovereign.

Gibraltar will mark its respects to Her Majesty in a gun salute of 96 rounds, fired by the Royal Gibraltar Regiment from His Majesty’s Naval Base".