King Charles III to address U.K. as mourning begins for late queen

Charles, 73, became monarch immediately after the death of his mother

September 09, 2022 08:35 am | Updated 11:16 am IST - Ballater, United Kingdom:

Britain’s King Charles III. File.

Britain’s King Charles III. File. | Photo Credit: AP

King Charles III was on Friday due to address his new subjects, as Britain was plunged into mourning by the death of Queen Elizabeth II, ending a history making 70-year reign.

Charles, 73, became monarch immediately after the death of his mother at her Scottish Highland retreat on Thursday, sparking tributes at home and abroad.

He is due to return to London from Balmoral, where the 96-year-old queen died “peacefully” after a year-long period of ill health and decline.

Also read:Queen Elizabeth II: World reacts to death of monarch | Live updates

Details of his inaugural address, set to be pre-recorded, were not immediately released by the palace, but are part of 10 days of detailed pre-prepared plans honed over decades.

Also on Friday, the new king is expected to hold his first audience with Prime Minister Liz Truss, who was only appointed on Tuesday in one of the queen’s last ceremonial acts before her death.

He was also due to meet officials in charge of his accession and the elaborate arrangements for his mother’s set-piece funeral.

He will decide on the length of the royal household’s period of mourning, which is expected to last a month, while the U.K. government will observe 10 days of official remembrance, when limited business is conducted.

Gun salutes — one round for every year of the queen’s life — will be fired across Hyde Park in central London and from the Tower of London, the ancient royal fortress on the River Thames.

Muffled church bells will toll at Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral and Windsor Castle, among other places, and Union flags will fly at half-mast.

Ms. Truss and other senior ministers are set to attend a public remembrance service at St. Paul’s, while the U.K. parliament will start two days of special tributes.

The queen’s death and its ceremonial aftermath comes as the government strives to rush through emergency legislation to tackle the kind of war-fuelled economic privation that marked the start of Elizabeth’s reign in 1952.

“Our hearts are broken,” headlined popular tabloid the Daily Mail. “We loved you Ma’am,” said The Sun. The Mirror wrote simply: “Thank you.”

Elizabeth, whose public appearances had become rarer, died following months of ill-health that first came to light after she spent an unscheduled night in hospital in October 2021 for undisclosed health tests.

In one of her last official acts, on Tuesday, she appointed Ms. Truss as the 15th Prime Minister of her reign, which started with Winston Churchill in Downing Street

She was seen smiling in photographs but looked frail and leant on a walking stick. Her hand was also bruised dark blue-purple, sparking concern.

Her coffin will initially remain at Balmoral, a private residence set among thousands of acres (hectares) of rolling grouse moors and forests.

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