Celebs bid fond farewell to 'our greatest Queen'

Queen Elizabeth and singers (from left) Elton John, Cliff Richard, Shirley Bassey, Tom Jones and Paul McCartney backstage at the Diamond Jubilee Concert on June 4 , 2012. PHOTO: REUTERS

LOS ANGELES - Celebrities around the world bade a fond farewell on Thursday to perhaps the biggest global star of them all, with heartfelt tributes to the late Queen Elizabeth II.

British entertainment royalty led the chorus, with Helen Mirren, who played the monarch in the 2006 biopic "The Queen" calling herself "proud to be an Elizabethan". She said: "We mourn a woman who, with or without the crown, was the epitome of nobility."

Elton John, who has a lavish home just a stone's throw from Windsor Castle, said he was deeply saddened by the queen's passing.

"She was an inspiring presence to be around and led the country through some of our greatest and darkest moments with grace, decency and genuine caring warmth," he wrote on Instagram. "Queen Elizabeth has been a huge part of my life from childhood to this day, and I will miss her dearly."

John was knighted by the Queen in 1998, just months after singing a re-worked version of "Candle in the Wind" at the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales.

Fellow entertainer Mick Jagger mourned the loss of someone who had been present "for my whole life". He said: "In my childhood I can recall watching her wedding highlights on TV. I remember her as a beautiful young lady, to the much beloved grandmother of the nation."

Composer and theatre producer Andrew Lloyd Webber, in a statement on Twitter, said the queen's "legacy will be remembered as a selfless beacon for love, understanding and the celebration of fellow human beings all over the world".

"Harry Potter" author JK Rowling said the queen had "earned her rest". She posted on Twitter: "She did her duty by the country right up until her dying hours, and became an enduring, positive symbol of Britain all over the world."

Reality TV star and former Black Sabbath frontman Ozzy Osbourne - who was part of the line-up for the queen's Golden Jubilee concert in 2002 - called the queen "our greatest Queen".

"With a heavy heart I say it is devastating the thought of England without Queen Elizabeth II," said the rocker, who recently revealed he plans to leave the United States to return to live in Britain.

Victoria Beckham, a member of British pop group Spice Girls, entrepreneur and wife of one of England's most popular footballers, said the queen's death marked a sad day "for the entire world". She said: "She will be remembered for her steadfast loyalty and service."

Former Beatle Paul McCartney, who was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 1997 and performed at her Diamond Jubilee in 2012, paid tribute to the queen, and her son Charles as he succeeds her on the throne. He posted on Twitter: "God bless Queen Elizabeth II... Long live The King."

American stars were also quick to offer condolences, with heiress Paris Hilton declaring Queen Elizabeth "the original girl boss".

Fellow reality star Khloe Kardashian spoke of the sense of continuity the queen brought in an ever-changing world during her 70 years on the throne. "She truly graced the world and there will never be another like her."

Stars of the big screen paid tribute, with actress Bette Midler declaring: "We will never see her like again. She was steadfast, staunch, and dedicated until the very end."

And the world of fictional characters was also not to be left out.

The Twitter account for Paddington, the marmalade-eating bear who starred opposite the monarch in a popular short video to mark Queen Elizabeth's 70 years on the throne tweeted simply: "Thank you Ma'am, for everything." AFP

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