Queen Elizabeth II Dies and Multiple Rainbows Immediately Appear in Britain

There is sadness in the air but magic in the skies.

On September 9, after Buckingham Palace announced that Queen Elizabeth II had died at age 96 at her Balmoral home in Scotland, multiple rainbows seemed to spontaneously appear in the skies over the United Kingdom.

The U.K. is known for its gloomy, drizzly weather—one-half of the equation when it comes to rainbows, but it is less known for sunshine, the other critical factor in creating this rare natural event. According to the National Weather Service, "The traditional rainbow is sunlight spread out into its spectrum of colors and diverted to the eye of the observer by water droplets. The 'bow' part of the word refers to the fact that the rainbow is a group of nearly circular arcs of color all having a common center. Typically, we only see a portion of the entire circle, leading to the bow shape."

Today's first rainbow was spotted next to Windsor Castle, the Queen's residence in the English county of Berkshire. Getty Images captured a shot of Windsor Castle that depicted the flag being flown at half-staff, to honor Elizabeth's service to her country. And right next to it was a big, undeniable rainbow.

Rainbow over Windsor Castle
A rainbow appeared right next to the lowered Union flag atop Windsor Castle, Queen Elizabeth II's main residence, on September 8, 2022, in England, shortly after the announcement of her majesty's death. Multiple other rainbows were spotted in the skies of Great Britain after the monarch's passing. Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Britons and citizens worldwide mourning the death of the world leader were quick to point out the timing on the heels of such a loss. Other observers and news outlets alike reported seeing rainbows in the skies elsewhere, too, like over Buckingham Palace, the queen's headquarters in London, and even as far as Canada.

Others reported seeing a double rainbow, an even rarer event involving two concentric arcs of color. The National Weather Service a double rainbow occurs when there are two refractions of light within the water droplets at different angles.

Queen Elizabeth famously ascended the throne after her uncle, Edward VIII, abdicated in order to marry American Wallis Simpson. Her father, King George VI, took his place but died in 1952 at Sandringham. Elizabeth then became Queen at just 25.

The Queen's death comes about 17 months after the passing of her beloved husband, Prince Philip, on April 9, 2021. At the time, Elizabeth's former press secretary told Newsweek that losing her husband was a "particularly sad day for the queen." They had been married for 73 years. When he died, Newsweek previously reported, Elizabeth requested two weeks of royal mourning to be observed by members of her family, adding to the customary eight days observed by the nation.

The Queen's oldest son, the longtime heir apparent Prince Charles, is now officially the King.