King Charles to address nation after death of Queen

King Charles III, the UK’s new monarch, will address the nation on Friday as tributes were paid from around the world after the death of his mother Queen Elizabeth II at the age of 96.

The new King will travel from Balmoral, the royal estate in Scotland, to London and is expected to hold an audience with Liz Truss, who became prime minister just three days ago. He is expected to make his first televised address to the nation as head of state at 6pm.

Parliament will gather at noon for a 10-hour session for MPs to pay their respects to the Queen while bells will toll at St Paul’s Cathedral, Windsor Castle and Westminster Abbey.

A ceremonial bell at Windsor Castle will toll 96 times, once for each year of the Queen’s life — and a 96-gun salute will be fired in Hyde Park.

The Church of England has called for parish churches, chapels and cathedrals to ring their bells for an hour starting at noon.

Truss and other senior politicians will attend a remembrance service at St Paul’s at the start of a 10-day period of national mourning, reflecting the Queen’s central role in British life for seven decades, since the death of her father George VI in 1952.

The King’s formal accession to the throne and proclamation as monarch will take place on Saturday, when parliament will sit for senior MPs to swear an oath of allegiance.

The death of Elizabeth II — announced by Buckingham Palace on Thursday evening — has left her people in mourning but reflecting on a life of duty in which she bound the country together through momentous change.

Crowds have gathered outside the Queen’s residences including Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, leaving flowers and tributes.

Sporting fixtures scheduled for Friday have been cancelled, including horseracing, the England-South Africa cricket Test match and fixtures in the English Football League. The Mercury Music Prize was abandoned on Thursday evening and the classical music BBC Proms were called off on Friday and Saturday as a mark of respect.

The new King said that his mother’s death was a moment of “the greatest sadness for me and all members of my family”. He said the family would be “comforted and sustained” by the respect and affection felt in Britain and across the Commonwealth towards the Queen, who celebrated the 70th anniversary of her reign this year.

The Queen’s death prompted tributes from the public and expressions of gratitude and condolences from leaders in Britain, around Europe and the Commonwealth, as well as corporate leaders and US presidents.

The Queen’s reign encompassed the decolonisation of much of the British empire in Africa and Asia, as well as the consolidation of the Commonwealth. It also saw the emergence of the modern monarchy, which became the subject of intense media scrutiny. The Queen’s personal popularity was an important factor in maintaining support for the monarchy in the UK in recent years.

She was known chiefly to her subjects by her presence at public events and televised Christmas messages, which often emphasised the values of duty and dialogue. She became the longest-serving monarch in British history in 2015, surpassing her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria.

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