Tributes are pouring in for Queen Elizabeth II following confirmation of her death at Balmoral aged 96.
The leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) Sir Jeffrey Donaldson led the tributes, saying: “Her Majesty The Queen has been a steadfast and unshakeable Head of State for the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. Her gracious approach has been a constant throughout our lives.
“In 1952 during her first Christmas broadcast Queen Elizabeth II asked the nation to pray “that God may give me wisdom and strength to carry out the solemn promises I shall be making, and that I may faithfully serve Him and you, all the days of my life.”
“Today we mourn Her Majesty’s death, but we do so with tremendous honour for one who served God and her people faithfully.
“I remember with fondness her speech in 2011 where she again referred to her Christian convictions and reminded us that forgiveness lies at the heart of her faith and that 'it can reconcile divided communities'.
“Her Majesty led by example in Northern Ireland and reached out the hand of friendship to help with the reconciliation process. We are duty bound to build on that foundation.
“The Royal visit to the Republic of Ireland was ground-breaking and the warmth with which Her Majesty was received demonstrated that she was revered and respected far beyond the United Kingdom.
“Her visits to my constituency in Royal Hillsborough invoke precious memories for the residents and for all of us and I know her death will be felt acutely in that village.
“Today we pray for the Royal Family as they mourn the passing of a mother, grand-mother and great-grand-mother.”
VICE-PRESIDENT OF SINN FEIN, MICHELLE O'NEILL
“It’s with deep regret that I learned of the passing of Queen Elizabeth II,” she posted on Twitter.
“The British people will miss the leadership she gave as monarch. I would like to offer my sincere sympathies and condolences to her children, and wider family as they come to terms with their grief.
“I wish to especially acknowledge the profound sorrow of our neighbours from within the unionist community who will feel her loss deeply. Personally, I am grateful for Queen Elizabeth’s significant contribution and determined efforts to advancing peace and reconciliation between our two islands.
“Throughout the peace process she led by example in building relationships with those of us who are Irish, and who share a different political allegiance and aspirations to herself and her Government.
“Having met Queen Elizabeth on a number of occasions alongside my colleague, the late Martin McGuinness, I appreciated both her warmth and courtesy.”
DOUG BEATTIE, LEADER OF ULSTER UNIONIST PARTY (UUP)
“Incredibly sad news which will have an personal impact on so many people.
"May I pass on my condolences, thoughts, prayers and those of the UUP to the family and friends at this sad time.”
COLUM EASTWOOD, LEADER OF SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC AND LABOUR PARTY (SDLP)
“Saddened to hear of the passing of Queen Elizabeth this evening. I know her loss will be felt acutely by people across our island. Even the blessing of a long life does not make the burden of saying goodbye any lighter.
“Elizabeth was a hugely consequential figure touched by the pain of conflict in Ireland but who, like the people of our island, helped shape a path toward peace. My thoughts are with her family and all those for whom the Queen held a cherished place in their lives and hearts.”
NAOMI LONG, LEADER OF ALLIANCE
"Her unwavering service to the country and the Commonwealth for 70 years were remarkable not just for their length but for her fortitude and graciousness throughout.
"A remarkable woman who lived a life of devotion and service. My thoughts are with her family at this time."