NICOLA Sturgeon has led political tributes to the Queen after it was announced that she passed away in Balmoral. 

The monarch passed away aged 96 after a 70-year reign on Thursday. 

The First Minister took to social media shortly after the news was announced, writing: "The death of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth is a profoundly sad moment for the UK, the Commonwealth and the world.

"Her life was one of extraordinary dedication and service. On behalf of the people of Scotland, I convey my deepest condolences to The King and the Royal Family."

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The Scottish Government confirmed that Sturgeon had sent a message of condolence to the newly appointed King Charles and the royal family on behalf of the people of Scotland. 

In a statement released later on Thursday evening, the FM added: “We are all saddened by today’s news and will come together in the days ahead to mourn.

“But it is right and proper that we celebrate the unparalleled contribution she made in her 70 years as Sovereign."

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She added: “Scotland was special to her and she was special to Scotland. Throughout her life, she had a particular fondness for Aberdeenshire and her home there at Balmoral, where she spent her final days.

“But her contribution to Scottish public life extended throughout our country and abroad and was deeply felt by thousands.

“In the coming days there will be ample opportunity for people to pay their respects by attending events across the country.

“Today is a day for reflection and remembrance. It is also a day for giving thanks to The Queen for her devotion to duty and the decades of public service she gave to the people of Scotland.”

Scottish Greens co-leader Lorna Slater MSP said: “All of us have shared in the pain of losing a loved one in our lives, and at this difficult time for so many, we offer our condolences following the Queen’s passing.The National: The First Minister met the Queen on numerous occasionsThe First Minister met the Queen on numerous occasions

READ MORE: ALL Scottish Parliament business suspended until further notice after Queen's death

“Since first opening the Scottish Parliament in 1999 she was a frequent visitor to Holyrood, and I am among many here who hold memories of meeting her during her visits to the Chamber over the years. 

“She made her mark on history, and we hope people find solace in each other.”

The National: Slater paid tribute on behalf of the Scottish GreensSlater paid tribute on behalf of the Scottish Greens

The Scottish Tories said in a press release that they had "suspended all political activity with immediate effect". 

Douglas Ross said: “Her Majesty The Queen was a national treasure who represented the very best of our United Kingdom throughout her entire life.

“The dedication and commitment of Her Majesty to this country and her people was unmatched. For 70 years, The Queen led the country through good times and bad, an unwavering presence of strength in each and every national moment of adversity.

“There was nobody else like Her Majesty. This loss will be felt dearly across Scotland, the United Kingdom and around the world. Everyone will remember Her Majesty as a warm, loving and caring mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and monarch.

The National: The Scottish Tories have suspended all political activity after the news of the Queen's deathThe Scottish Tories have suspended all political activity after the news of the Queen's death

“My thoughts and prayers are with the Royal Family and the entire country at this very difficult time.”

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said the Queen had a "genuine love" of Scotland and "very special relationship with us Scots".

He added: "Her Majesty was held dear by people in Scotland, and she will be very much missed.

“It was in Scotland we saw the Queen at her most relaxed and happy, particularly on her regular visits to her much-loved Balmoral. I know it would have been a comfort to her and her family that she was able to spend her last days in the place she loved so much.

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“We will come together in the coming days to mourn The Queen’s passing.  But as we reflect on her long life and her unstinting service, we will also remember fondly her compassion, humour and warmth.

“I offer my wholehearted support and loyalty to the new King, as I know will people across the country. God save the King.”

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar said: “This is a sad day for the whole country, but especially for the Royal Family who have lost a mother, a grandmother and a great-grandmother.

“The entire nation joins them in mourning the death of Her Majesty, the Queen.

“Our longest serving monarch, Her Majesty was a dedicated public servant, demonstrating strength, leadership and compassion when her country needed it most.

“From the Blitz to the pandemic, she brought our nation together at times of crisis - providing hope and light in our darkest moments.

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“That influence was felt beyond the United Kingdom, she was a global figure whose stewardship of the Commonwealth leaves a world better than she found it.

“The Scottish Labour party joins the rest of the UK and the Commonwealth in mourning her loss.”

Alex Salmond, former First Minister and Alba party leader, paid tribute to a "remarkable lady". 

The National: Salmond paid tribute to a "remarkable lady"Salmond paid tribute to a "remarkable lady"

He added: "Her passing is a great moment of sadness for her family and for people around the world.

"My audiences with her were extensive and free-wheeling, with no subject out of bounds. She had a great love of Scotland and enormous regard for her people.

"The best gift I offered her on behalf of Scots was at the Diamond Jubilee, when I presented her with a complete digitalisation of the 1911 census record of Balmoral Estate, which she poured over excitedly, recognising many of the names from her childhood.

"In turn, I suspect that of all her 15 prime ninisters and 15 first ministers in her record breaking reign, I was the only one to whom she shared her racing tips - and very successful they were too."

Alex Cole-Hamilton, leader of the Scottish LibDems, also release a tribute to the Queen. 

He said: “Queen Elizabeth II represented perhaps the greatest life of public service in the history of our country. Our family of nations is in mourning. 

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“For seven decades she has been our country’s most recognisable ambassador. Whether it be her wartime service, her patronage of more than 600 charities or her Covid-19 broadcast to the nation, she has been a beacon for so many people. 

"The Queen was loved and touched lives the world over. 

“She will be remembered not only as the longest reigning monarch these isles have ever seen but as a steadfast and loyal sovereign, devoted to the wellbeing of her people."

Councillor Shona Morrison, the president of Cosla, has expressed her sadness on behalf of the local authority umbrella body and the whole Scottish local government family.

Morrison said: “Our thoughts and condolences go to the Royal Family and all those who mourn the loss of Her Majesty the Queen at this time of great sadness.   She has devoted her life to public service and tirelessly served the people of the Commonwealth.”