- King Charles will visit London with his wife Camilla
- Queen, 96, died at Balmoral Castle in Scotland
- The eldest son becomes King Charles III
- Mourners gather at Buckingham Palace
- Tributes pour in from around the world
BALMORAL, Scotland, September 9 (Reuters) – Britain’s King Charles will address a grieving country on Friday following the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth, the only monarch most Britons have ever known and “the spirit of the nation” for seven decades.
Charles, who raced to be alongside the Queen at her Scottish home on Thursday, was due to return to London with his wife Camilla, now Queen Consort, before meeting the Prime Minister and making a televised statement.
The death of the Queen, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch and a commanding presence on the world stage for 70 years, has drawn condolences from around the world.
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Waking up to their first day without a woman once described by her grandson Harry as ‘the nation’s grandmother’, members of the public again gathered outside Buckingham Palace to lay flowers and take photos of the growing memorial.
Notice boards across the city displayed messages of condolence and newspapers carried photo tributes to the Queen on their front pages.
Buckingham Palace said there would be a period of mourning to be observed by members of the family and the royal household until a week after the funeral, the date of which has not yet been confirmed but is planned in about 10 days.
An online condolence book has also been opened.
At the remote Balmoral Castle in Scotland where she died on Thursday and where her family is reunited, people have also arrived to pay their respects.
“She was amazing. She was like everyone’s grandmother. She always managed to capture the mood with her words,” said Kay McClement, 55, who came with a friend to lay flowers at the castle .
People also gathered at Buckingham Palace, the Queen’s home in central London, to lay flowers in front of the famous black railings.
“I brought my young daughter here because even though she doesn’t remember it, we can tell her she was here when the story was happening,” said railway worker Liam Fitzjohn, 27.
“She’s all we’ve ever known, we’ll never have a queen like that again.”
The government said in a statement it expected large crowds to gather at royal residences. “We expect heavy traffic and delays on some public transport,” he said.
Elizabeth was head of state of the United Kingdom and 14 other kingdoms, including Australia, Canada, Jamaica, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.
Charles, who automatically succeeded him as king, said the death was a time of great sadness for him and his family.
“We deeply mourn the passing of a dear Sovereign and a much-loved mother. I know her loss will be deeply felt across the country, the Kingdoms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people across the world,” said the 73-year-old woman. said in a statement.
He is expected to meet Prime Minister Liz Truss on Friday before addressing the country later.
There will be gun salutes in Hyde Park and the Tower of London and the bells of Westminster Abbey and St Paul’s will ring. At Windsor Castle, the Sevastopol Bell, captured in the 19th-century Crimean War and struck only to mark the death of the sovereign, will ring.
Routine proceedings in parliament have been replaced by a special session, from 11:00 GMT, for lawmakers to pay their respects to the Queen. Parliament will also meet on Saturday, which it rarely does, and approve a message of condolence to the king.
News that the Queen’s health was deteriorating emerged shortly after midday on Thursday when a statement from the palace said she had been placed under medical supervision, prompting her family to rush to Scotland.
The Queen had been suffering from what Buckingham Palace called “episodic mobility issues” since late last year, forcing her to withdraw from almost all of her public engagements. Her husband of 73 years, Prince Philip, died in 2021.
Her last public office came only on Tuesday, when she appointed Truss Prime Minister – the 15th of her reign.
“The death of Her Majesty The Queen is a huge shock to the nation and to the world,” Truss said outside his office in Downing Street where the flag, like those on royal palaces and government buildings across Britain, has been lowered.
“Through thick and thin, Queen Elizabeth II provided us with the stability and strength we needed. She was the very spirit of Britain – and that spirit will live on.
Unions called off planned strikes and the BBC’s national broadcaster said “out of respect” it had canceled its remaining ‘Proms’ concerts – the patriotic, flag-waving finale of which was due to take place on Saturday.
REIGN OF SEVEN DECADES
Condolences poured in from leaders and people around the world.
“His legacy will loom large in the pages of British history and in the history of our world,” US President Joe Biden said in a statement.
“We are all very touched because she was such an important figure. Not just in England, but all over the world,” Madrid’s Alejandra Mas said, while in Berlin Christoph Krebs said: “I felt says, ‘at 96, a woman is allowed to die’.”
Queen Elizabeth II, who was also the oldest and longest serving head of state in the world, ascended the throne following the death of her father, King George VI, on February 6, 1952, when she was n was only 25 years old.
She is crowned in June of the following year. The first televised coronation was a taste of a new world in which the lives of members of the royal family would come under increasing media scrutiny.
Elizabeth became monarch at a time when Britain retained much of its former empire with Winston Churchill as its prime minister, while Josef Stalin ruled the Soviet Union and the Korean War raged.
Stripped of its symbol of continuity and resilience, Britain is entering a new era in a severe economic crisis, marked by unrest with Europe and a population disaffected by years of political strife and scandal.
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Reporting by Michael Holden, William James, Kate Holton, Humza Jilani, Farouq Suleiman, Muvia M and Alistair Smout in London and Andrew MacAskill and Gerhard Mey at Balmoral; Editing by and Janet Lawrence
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