Wearing a black suit and tie, a visibly emotional Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday reacted to the death of Queen Elizabeth II, saying he will “miss her so.”

The longest-reigning monarch in British history has died at 96, The Royal Family announced on Twitter.

“As her 12th Canadian prime minister, I’ve having trouble believing that my last sit down with her was my last,” Trudeau said, speaking to reporters.

“I will so miss those chats. She was thoughtful, wise, curious, helpful, funny and so much more.”

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Queen Elizabeth II, longest-reigning monarch in British history, dead at 96

He said that The Queen was the reigning monarch for “almost half” of Canada’s existence, adding that the country “is in mourning.”

“She was one of my favourite people in the world and I will miss her so,” Trudeau said.

Interim Conservative leader Candice Bergen also expressed her sadness about the news, passing her “deepest condolences” to the Royal Family.

“As a proud Commonwealth country, we grieve with unspeakable sadness the loss of our longest-reigning monarch,” Bergen wrote in a statement.

“Her Majesty’s sense of duty to Canada was both deeply held and demonstrated in her actions.”

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NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh pointed out that, “for many Canadians, Queen Elizabeth represents the only monarch they’ve known in the entire lives.”

“Her service will be remembered and her sacrifice will be remembered,” Singh told reporters Thursday afternoon.

“We express our sadness on the passing and our condolences to the family.”

Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet also sent his “most sincere condolences” to the family and “the people of England.”

“She was at the heart of a troubled century with the desire to be a positive force,” he wrote in a French-language tweet.

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LIVE: Queen Elizabeth II has died. Here’s what we know

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Former prime minister Brian Mulroney, who led the country from 1984 to 1993, told Global News that The Queen was a “towering figure in history” and imparted much wisdom to those she met. That wisdom was partly gained from her personal interactions with “every significant figure” over the last 70 years, Mulroney said.

“She couldn’t have been more helpful in her advice,” he said. In his interactions with her, Mulroney said she was friendly, casual, unpretentious and funny – a side “not everyone saw.”

“She’s going to be missed … She loved Canada.”

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Former prime minister Jean Chrétien remembered spending days with the queen in the Northwest Territories in 1967 when she was in Canada to celebrate its centennial. He said Queen Elizabeth was always speaking French with him to get in practice.

“For me, it’s a great loss,” he said. “She deserved the respect she has.”

The Queen has been on the throne for 70 years, so a transition of power is unfamiliar territory for the current Canadian government.

Experts say governance is expected to carry on as usual because the monarch remains the constitutional head of state in Canada no matter who is filling the role at any given time.

Succession from the Queen to her eldest son Charles was automatic although there will be some formalities, including a proclamation from the Governor General.

“A lot of that remains unclear on how we’re going to exactly follow it in Canada”‘ says Philippe Lagasse, an associate professor of international affairs at Carleton University and an expert on the role of the Crown in the Westminster system of government.

— With files from The Canadian Press and Global News’ Eric Stober


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Ellen Bullock