An extraordinary day for the Royal Family, the United Kingdom and the world - James Mates reports
King Charles III has paid tribute to his "darling mama" and praised her as an "inspiration" and "example to me and all my family" in his first address to the nation.The new monarch addressed the nation for the first time at 6pm in a prerecorded speech.
During the address, he said: "Throughout her life, Her Majesty The Queen – my beloved Mother – was an inspiration and example to me and to all my family, and we owe her the most heartfelt debt any family can owe to their mother."
He added: “To my darling Mama, as you begin your last great journey to join my dear late Papa, I want simply to say this: thank you.
“Thank you for your love and devotion to our family and to the family of nations you have served so diligently all these years. May ‘flights of Angels sing thee to thy rest’.”
He praised his mother's pledge to devote her life “to the service of her peoples” on her 21st birthday in 1947.
He said: "That was more than a promise: it was a profound personal commitment which defined her whole life.
"She made sacrifices for duty."
The King pledged himself to the “constitutional principles” at the “heart of our nation” and to serve the UK and other countries where he is head of state with “loyalty, respect and love”.
He said: “As the Queen herself did with such unswerving devotion, I too now solemnly pledge myself, throughout the remaining time God grants me, to uphold the Constitutional principles at the heart of our nation.
“And wherever you may live in the United Kingdom, or in the Realms and territories across the world, and whatever may be your background or beliefs, I shall endeavour to serve you with loyalty, respect and love, as I have throughout my life.”
Tribute for the Queen have continued to pour in on Friday, with Prime Minister Lizz Truss giving a bible reading at a service at St Paul’s.
The service was not attended by the Royal Family but many leading UK politicians, including London Mayor Sadiq Khan, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng and Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, were present.
At 7.05pm, after the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby delivered a blessing, the first official public rendition of God Save the King took place as the service neared its conclusion.It comes after crowds spontaneously sang the version of the song outside of Buckingham Palace on Friday as the King arrived with the Queen Consort.
During his address to the nation, the King said he would be appointing his son the Duke of Cambridge and Cornwall to the title of the Prince of Wales.
He said: “Today, I am proud to create him Prince of Wales, Tywysog Cymru, the country whose title I have been so greatly privileged to bear during so much of my life and duty.
“With Catherine beside him, our new Prince and Princess of Wales will, I know, continue to inspire and lead our national conversations, helping to bring the marginal to the centre ground where vital help can be given."
He also said William would be inheriting his Scottish titles.
Watch ITV News special programme following the death of Queen Elizabeth II
Speaking of his new role the King said: “My life will of course change as I take up my new responsibilities.”
He added: “It will no longer be possible for me to give so much of my time and energies to the charities and issues for which I care so deeply. But I know this important work will go on in the trusted hands of others.”
The King, who acceded to the throne immediately on the death of his 96-year-old mother in Balmoral on Thursday, got a very warm welcome from the crowd gathered outside the royal residency for the first time earlier in the day.
The royal couple had viewed floral tributes to the Queen that had been laid outside the gates of the Palace before walking through the famous gates for the first time as King and Queen Consort as the Royal Standard was raised for the first time of the King’s reign.He held his first in-person audience with Ms Truss at the Palace on Friday afternoon in his first full day as the nation’s new monarch, having spent much of his 73 years in preparation for the role.
As she offered her condolences, Charles thanked her, saying: “You are very kind for coming – I know how busy you are.” Referring to the death of the Queen, he said: "It was the moment I have been dreading, as I know a lot of people have. We’ll try keep everything going.”
On Saturday morning, an Accession Council – the formal proclamation of Charles as King – will take place at St James’s Palace in London and will be televised for the first time in history.
The period of royal mourning will be observed from now until seven days after the Queen's funeral, the date of which will be confirmed at a later date, Buckingham Palace said.
Church bells tolled, gun salutes were fired, and MPs in the House of Common fell silent in tribute to the late sovereign as the nation mourned its longest-serving monarch.
The monarch and his wife, Camilla, Queen Consort, had left Balmoral on Friday after spending the night there following the death of the Queen.
As the King and Queen Consort flew to London from Aberdeen, the PM led tributes to the late Queen in the House of Commons - recalling a monarch whose strength guided the nation through its "darkest days".
Shortly before the King and his wife landed, a 96-round Queen’s Death Gun Salute rang out across the United Kingdom, Gibraltar and Guernsey at 1pm in tribute to the Queen.
One round was fired for each year of her life. The crowds in Hyde Park applauded as the final of the 96 rounds were fired.
Bells at Westminster Abbey and at churches and cathedrals around the country tolled for an hour from noon in tribute to the country's longest-serving monarch.
During the minute's silence held for the Queen in the House of Commons just after noon on Friday, MPs, wearing black, stood with their heads bowed.
They then began a 10-hour special session to mark the death of the Queen.
Addressing MPs in the Commons for tributes to the Queen, Ms Truss said her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II “was one of the greatest leaders the world has ever known", adding she reinvented monarchy for the modern age”.
She hailed a new “Carolean age” as she closed her speech saying “God save the King”.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer added: “We join together today, not just to say goodbye to our Queen or to share in our mourning, but to say something else important: God Save The King.
“Because as one era ends, so another begins. King Charles III has been a devoted servant of this country his entire life, he has been a powerful voice for fairness, and understood the importance of the environment long before many others."
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Flags at Royal Residences were flown at half-mast from Thursday and will remain in that position until 8am on the morning after the final day of Royal Mourning.
The first public proclamation of the new sovereign will then be read in the open air from the Friary Court balcony at St James’s Palace by the Garter King of Arms.
The Duke of Cornwall and Cambridge, who is a Privy Counsellor, will attend the Accession Council, Kensington Palace said.
Charles will hold audiences, and the media will be briefed by the Earl Marshal, who is in charge of the accession and the Queen’s funeral, on the coming days.
Large crowds gathered at royal residencies across the country, including Balmoral where the Queen died, with many people laying flowers. The government said it expects "significant crowding and delays on some public transport" as people flocked to lay tributes to the late monarch.
"Those who wish to lay floral tributes near Royal Residences in London, Windsor, Edinburgh, Balmoral and Sandringham are asked to do so only in designated areas, as directed by stewards," the Cabinet Office said.
Prince Harry boards a plane at Aberdeen airport to travel back to London
Books of condolence for the Queen are being opened in churches, theatres and local authorities across the country as well as on the royal website. The royal family added its “Book of Condolence” to its official website, allowing people from all over the world to send messages of support.
Britain will enter a seven day mourning period from Thursday, until seven days after the Queen's funeral.
No date has been announced for what will be the first state funeral in Britain in over half a century.
Details of the Queen’s funeral and other forthcoming ceremonial and commemorative events will be announced “in due course”, the Cabinet Office said.
President Joe Biden said on Friday he "didn't know the details" of the funeral but he would be attending.
A royal mourning period will be observed by members of the Royal Family, royal household staff and representatives of the royal household on official duties, together with troops committed to ceremonial duties.
One of the first acts of the new monarch – whose chosen title was confirmed by the PM – was to speak of his grief and highlight the “respect and deep affection” in which the Queen was “so widely held”.
"There's an enormous shift in the world around us" - the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby says many people around the UK and the world will feel that “part of our lives we’ve taken for granted as being permanent is no longer there”.
The Queen's four children: Charles, the Princess Royal, the Duke of York and the Earl of Wessex had travelled to be with their mother on Thursday as fears for her health grew.
Her grandsons, the Duke of Cambridge and Duke of Sussex, also made the journey to Scotland, along with Camilla and Sophie Wessex.
Prince Harry, who arrived at Balmoral on Thursday to see his grandmother, was seen leaving the estate in a car on Friday morning and later boarded a British Airways flight at Aberdeen airport.
Buckingham Palace made the official announcement at 6.30pm on Thursday with a brief 26-word statement saying: “The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon.
“The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow.”
In the wake of the announcement of the Queen's death, tributes flooded in from around the globe, hailing her unwavering commitment to serving her country and the Commonwealth.
Tributes continue to be paid to the woman described by the prime minister as the “rock on which modern Britain was built”, with the Dalai Lama expressing his “deep sadness” over the death of the Queen in a letter to King Charles III.
The late monarch held a significant position on the global stage and world leaders knew the value of meeting Queen Elizabeth, who remained a constant while prime ministers and presidents came and went, and widespread tributes were paid following her death.
US president Joe Biden described her as “a stateswoman of unmatched dignity”, while Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau said the Queen was “a constant presence in our lives”.
Britain's longest-serving sovereign was mourned across Europe. In France, officials ordered flags at the presidential palace and public buildings be lowered to half-staff on Friday. President Emmanuel Macron hailed her “immutable moral authority” and her intimate knowledge of French.
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Ms Truss – just a few days into her role – heralded the late monarch’s “great legacy” outside Downing Street on Thursday as news of the end of the New Elizabethan Era became a reality.
“Queen Elizabeth II was the rock on which modern Britain was built. Our country has grown and flourished under her reign,” she said.
Charles, whose wife Camilla is now Queen Consort, said in a written statement: “The death of my beloved Mother, Her Majesty The Queen, is a moment of the greatest sadness for me and all members of my family.
“We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished Sovereign and a much-loved Mother.
“I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world.
“During this period of mourning and change, my family and I will be comforted and sustained by our knowledge of the respect and deep affection in which The Queen was so widely held.”
Buckingham Palace had issued a statement at 12.32pm on Thursday, saying royal doctors had recommended the Queen remain under medical supervision, with the Palace issuing an unusually detailed update earlier in the day, saying royal doctors were concerned for her health.
Behind the scenes, the long-held London Bridge plans for the Queen’s death are being rapidly put into action, setting out the next 11 days according to a strict timetable which will feature a lying in state and then the solemnity and grandeur of a state funeral.
The arrangements have a more complex factor due to the Queen’s death being in Scotland – and have triggered Operation Unicorn – the contingency plans in case of such an event.
Members of the royal family will be expected in the coming days to hold a poignant vigil around the Queen’s coffin in St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh, and the Queen’s coffin will have to be transported by RAF plane back to London.
She is expected to lie in state in a few days’ time in London, with her funeral held in Westminster Abbey in central London, most likely on Monday September 19.