The head of the Commonwealth Queen Elizabeth II has died at the age of 96 ©Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth II, the head of the Commonwealth, who opened the Olympic Games at Montreal in 1976 and London in 2012, has died at the age of 96.

In a statement Buckingham Palace confirmed that the monarch died peacefully at her Balmoral Estate in Scotland this afternoon, surrounded by her family.

Queen Elizabeth II had struggled with mobility issues for some time, and was represented by Prince Charles at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony.

During a message at the Opening Ceremony, Queen Elizabeth II saluted Birmingham as "a city symbolic of of the rich diversity and unity of the Commonwealth."

Queen Elizabeth II's daughter Princess Anne is a member of the International Olympic Committee, and competed in the 1976 Olympics in Montreal as a member of the British equestrian team.

Princess Anne's daughter Zara Tindall also competed in equestrian at the Olympics, and was part of the British team that won eventing silver at London 2012.

Sporting organisations have been paying tribute to Queen Elizabeth II this evening, while some sporting events are being postponed as a mark of respect.

Queen Elizabeth II opens the London 2012 Olympics ©Getty Images
Queen Elizabeth II opens the London 2012 Olympics ©Getty Images

The England and Wales Cricket Board has announced that Friday's play in the Test match between England and South Africa will not take place.

Action at golf's BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth in England, one of the flagship events on the DP World Tour, was suspended until further notice this evening after news of the monarch's death, with no play taking place tomorrow.

European football matches involving English clubs Manchester United, Arsenal and West Ham United are going ahead as scheduled this evening despite the news, with a period of silence observed at the matches as a mark of respect.

Organisers of cycling's Tour of Britain said the remaining three stages of the race have been cancelled.

Uncertainty surrounds domestic sporting action in Britain scheduled to take place this weekend, with an expectation that many fixtures may be postponed.