Charles III addresses the Britons in mourning for their queen

Charles III addresses the Britons in mourning for their queen

King Charles III must address the British on Friday and, in one of the first public acts of his reign, must respond to the immense emotions that the death of Elizabeth II arouses beyond the borders of his kingdom.

A period of national mourning begins in the UK ahead of the funeral of the sovereign, who died “peacefully” in ten days on Thursday at the age of 96 at her Balmoral residence in Scotland. Sporting and cultural events have been cancelled, department stores have decided to keep their doors closed and rail and postal workers have suspended planned strikes amid the cost of living crisis.

Portraits of Elizabeth II with a benevolent smile and at all ages in her life hit the front page of the British press on Friday, testifying to the void left by her disappearance after a reign of 70 years and seven months.

“Grief is the price we pay for love,” appears on the front page of the Daily Telegraph, repeating the words Elizabeth II addressed to the American people after the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York.

“Goodnight Ma’am,” headlines the Sun, “Our hearts are Broken” headlines the Daily Mail, while other newspapers publish a photograph of the Queen at the time of her coronation, soberly stamped with the dates “1926-2022.”

At the age of 73, the new King Charles III follows. Elizabeth II succeeds with much less popularity and inherits a kingdom hit by a major economic crisis and rocked by internal discord between the aftermath of Brexit, a desire for independence and tensions in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

– bells and cannons –

The long-meticulously prepared schedule for the next few days has yet to be confirmed by the Palace, but the main lines are known.

Returning to London with Camilla, now the Queen consort, the new king, whose picture has not been shown since Elizabeth II’s death was announced, will address Britain for the first time on television in a recorded and broadcast message of the Evening.

Shortly before, he will meet the new Prime Minister, Liz Truss, whose enthronement by Elizabeth II on Tuesday was the last constitutional act of a life dedicated to her to the end.

Charles had become much more present in recent months, increasingly replacing his ailing mother with his eldest son and now heir William.

He made his first statement on Thursday evening in a press release to express his family’s “great sadness” after the death of “a dear ruler and a beloved mother”. “I know his loss will be felt deeply across the country, in the rich and in the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world,” he added.

At midday, 96 guns will be fired from multiple locations across the country and the bells of St Paul’s, Westminster Abbey and Windsor Castle will be rung. Such honors have already begun on the other side of the world, in Australia and New Zealand, which are part of the 15 kingdoms headed by Charles III. is.

Charles must then be officially proclaimed king by the Council of Successors, which are meeting at St James’s Palace in London on Saturday.

– “Difficult to rule by her” –

From Joe Biden to Vladimir Poutine to Emmanuel Macron, Pope Francis, Xi Jinping, footballer Pelé or rocker Mick Jagger – the honors for Elizabeth II were unanimous.

The Sovereign’s death had limited appearances in October 2021 for a night in hospital. Thousands of Britons have followed one another outside Buckingham Palace in London to pay homage and meditate since her death was announced at 18:30 local time (17:30 GMT) on Thursday and into the early hours of Friday.

Known for her sense of duty and wry humor, the late monarch is ever-present in British life, present on banknotes and stamps that have had to change their faces. Many only know her from the throne.

“I loved her, she was the only leader worthy of the name that this country left behind,” Paul White, 48, lamented Friday morning at a London train station, newspaper in hand. “Charles III…it will be difficult to reign after her but I will support him and his family”.

Charles will have a lot to do to preserve Britain’s attachment to the monarchy, an institution some consider obsolete but whose prestige Elizabeth II managed to preserve.

He succeeds him as head of state of 15 kingdoms, from New Zealand to the Bahamas, that his mother had traveled throughout her reign, always dressed in matching outfits, often in bright colors. In the former British colonies that remained kingdoms, criticism of the colonial past is voiced and republican tendencies are strengthened.


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