Charles III applauded upon his arrival at Buckingham Palace, national mourning in memory of the Queen

Charles III applauded upon his arrival at Buckingham Palace, national mourning in memory of the Queen

Charles III is applauded by thousands of people on his return to London on Friday outside Buckingham Palace. was officially proclaimed king on Saturday, succeeding Elizabeth II, whose death saddened the whole of the UK.

Charles III, 73, was returning from Scotland in a black suit and, accompanied by his wife and now Queen Consort Camilla, shook hands for a long time as he got out of the car and greeted the crowd that had gathered since the announcement of the disappearance Queen on Thursday to leave bouquets and words of tribute.

“All our condolences,” “God bless you,” “I wish you the best,” some threw at him while others sang “God save the King,” now the country’s new anthem.

The king then entered the palace, where he is scheduled to record his first address as monarch in the Blue Drawing Room, which the palace said will be televised at 17:00 GMT.

He will pay tribute to what new Prime Minister Liz Truss called “one of the greatest leaders the world has ever known” on Friday.

Ms Truss had already hailed Elizabeth II, who died on Thursday aged 96, as “the rock on which modern Britain was built”.

The government “united in its support for the new king” observed a minute’s silence during an extraordinary council of ministers on Friday morning.

A religious ceremony in memory of the Queen was also planned for later in the day at St Paul’s Cathedral in London in the presence of Ms Truss, who is yet to meet the new King.

Bells rang at 1100 GMT in churches across the country including Windsor where the Queen lived most of the time. Those from Sydney City Hall in Australia, of which the Queen was sovereign, had already sounded 96 times, once for each year of the deceased.

96 cannon shots sounded at 12:00 GMT, fired from Hyde Park but also at the Castles of Cardiff and Edinburgh, York, Portsmouth and Gibraltar.

At Holyroodhouse, residence of the monarchy in the Scottish capital of Edinburgh, preparations are accelerating amid the teary eyes of many Scots to welcome the Queen’s coffin ahead of her return to London in the coming days.

– “Not the same without her” –

Elizabeth II died “peacefully” on Thursday at her castle in Balmoral, Scotland, where her son Charles and daughter Anne were then staying.

Her other two sons, Andrew and Edwards, and Prince William, now heir to the crown, arrived after the death, which the Prime Minister had been informed of around 15:30 GMT.

The King has announced that the royal mourning – which will involve family, staff and representatives of the royal household – will last until seven days after the Queen’s funeral, the date of which has not been confirmed but is set to take place on September 19. The royal residences will remain closed until after the funeral and the flags there will be flown at half-staff.

The national mourning ordered by the government must last until the day of the funeral.

Thousands of Brits, some in tears, turned out to lay flowers outside Buckingham Palace, Windsor and Balmoral in northern Scotland.

Photos of the Queen made the front pages of every British newspaper on Friday, in special editions honoring those who dedicated their lives to the crown and who have crossed eras and crises with the same quiet and mysterious kindness.

“I have goosebumps, you can feel that we are part of the same country and that it unites us, it’s very beautiful, really,” tells AFP the moved Shelley Bissett, 32, who laid a bouquet in front of Windsor Castle.

“I wanted to be here today… It’s very powerful to be here with so many other people to show how much we respect them. She’s done so much for this country, it won’t be the same without her.” Abundant David Renn, 42, who cycled to Windsor from London.

Known for her sense of duty and tongue-in-cheek humour, the late monarch was ever-present in British life, present on banknotes and stamps that are in need of a change of face.

His portrait adorns London bus stops, replacing advertisements, and books of condolence have been opened in some churches and online on the Royal Family’s official website.

As some shops closed in mourning, the Bank of England announced it was postponing its long-awaited monetary policy meeting by a week in light of the current price hike.

Many sporting events, such as this weekend’s Premier League games, but also several designers’ runway shows including the famous brand Burberry, scheduled during next week’s London Fashion Week, have also been postponed, while railway and postal workers suspended their planned strikes to denounce the cost of living.

– “Beautiful laughter” –

The new King Charles will become Britain’s oldest monarch at the beginning of his reign. He is infinitely less popular than his mother, who knew how to keep the monarchy respectable and secret, not giving interviews and keeping her opinions to herself.

He comes to the throne at a difficult time as the UK faces its worst economic crisis in 40 years while four prime ministers in six years have thrived.

The kingdom is reeling from internal divisions between the fallout from Brexit, the desire for independence and tensions in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Even in the former British colonies that remained kingdoms, the colonial past was heavily criticized and republican tendencies strengthened.

Though he’s become much more visible in recent months, often replacing his mother, who has been debilitated by her ill health, it’s a different challenge awaiting the king as head of state for 15 countries from New Zealand to the Bahamas.

During her historic reign, Elizabeth II had known 15 prime ministers whom she could listen to and advise at private audiences, usually weekly, at which nothing ever happened. “She often had that little light and that beautiful smile that (…) calmed the nerves of so many people,” former Prime Minister Theresa May told the BBC on Friday.

Liz Truss will have met two monarchs in four days, something unprecedented in British history.

After the funeral, the Queen will be buried privately in Windsor Castle Chapel.


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