King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla to visit Northern Ireland ahead of state funeral

King Charles is to visit Northern Ireland. Pic PA
King Charles is to visit Northern Ireland. Credit: PA

King Charles III and his Queen Consort will visit Northern Ireland next week to hear condolences and words of sympathy.

The tour of the four nations forms part of the official period of mourning in the run-up to the Queen’s state funeral. Charles will visit Edinburgh, Belfast and Wales in the coming days with Camilla, and the Prime Minister, to hear condolences from politicians and respond to their words of sympathy.

On Sunday, after meeting Baroness Scotland, the Commonwealth Secretary-General, at Buckingham Palace, Charles will host High Commissioners and their spouses from countries where he is head of state at the royal residence’s Bow Room. The King will begin his visit to legislators at London’s Westminster Hall on Monday, where both Houses of Parliament will express their condolences to the new monarch and his wife – and the King will give his reply. Later that day, Charles and Camilla will fly to Edinburgh where the King will inspect the Guard of Honour at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, before attending the ceremony of the Keys on the forecourt. During the day, the King will join his other siblings – the Duke of York, the Earl of Wessex, the Princess Royal and her husband Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence – walking behind the Queen’s coffin when it is moved from the Palace of Holyroodhouse to St Giles’ Cathedral where it will lie for 24 hours so the public can pay their respects. Camilla and other members of the family will travel by car and all the royals will attend a service of thanksgiving for the life of the Queen.

At the Palace, the King will hold audiences with the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, followed by an audience with Alison Johnstone, the Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament. Words of sympathy will be expressed by the Scottish Parliament when Charles and Camilla attend to receive a motion of condolence, with the King replying. That evening, the monarch will hold a vigil at the Queen’s coffin with other members of the royal family. Belfast is the next stop with the royal couple flying to Ulster on Tuesday to visit Hillsborough Castle, where they will view an exhibition about the late Queen’s long association with Northern Ireland. The King will then meet the Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris and party leaders and receive a message of condolence led by the Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly, again making his reply.

After a short reception at Hillsborough, the King and Queen Consort will travel to St Anne’s Cathedral for a service of prayer and reflection and before the event Charles will meet leaders from all the major faiths in Northern Ireland, and later the royal couple will return to London. In a tribute to his late mother, the King will lead Wednesday’s procession behind the gun carriage carrying her coffin to Westminster Hall, where the lying in state will begin before her state funeral on September 19. The planned trip to Wales is scheduled for Friday, with details to be released at a later date.

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