The first full day of the reign of King Charles III has begun, with the new monarch traveling to London to meet the prime minister and prepare for a national address on Friday evening.
After staying at Balmoral overnight, the King will travel with Camilla, now Queen Consort, to the capital.
Charles was in Balmoral when Buckingham Palace announced the Queen had died peacefully there on Thursday afternoon at the age of 96.
For the King, there will be very little time for private mourning. Once in London he is expected to meet the Earl Marshal, currently Edward Fitzalan-Howard, the Duke of Norfolk, to approve the carefully choreographed plans for the coming days and weeks.
The King, 73, was expected on Friday to pre-record a televised address to the nation, which will be broadcast early the same evening.
Liz Truss, on only her fourth day as prime minister, will be invited to Buckingham Palace to meet the new monarch on Friday.
She will also be among senior ministers and politicians expected to attend a public service of remembrance at St Paul’s Cathedral in central London.
Truss will need to confirm the length of national mourning, which is likely to be a period of about 12 days, ending the day after the funeral. The government was also expected to announce that the day of the funeral will be a public holiday.
Bells will toll at St Paul’s, Westminster Abbey and Windsor Castle at midday on Friday – and churches across the country are likely to follow suit.
At the same time, MPs and peers in the Houses of Parliament will begin sessions paying tribute to the Queen. Truss is expected to lead tributes in the Commons, which were scheduled to continue until 10pm.
At 1pm, a gun salute of 96 rounds, one for every year of the Queen’s life, will be fired in Hyde Park and at other official gun stations.
The public has already begun to gather outside royal buildings. At Buckingham Palace, mourners, many dressed in black, congregated besides hundreds of colorful bouquets and messages that had been left overnight and early in the morning. A large union flag in shades of black and gray has been pinned to the right flank of the gates, while police officers kept a crowd back from the main gates further to the left.
Messages of thanks for the Queen and condolences to her family were also left among the floral tributes from the public at the gates of Balmoral Castle. One said: “Thank you Queen Elizabeth II for your service to our nation.”
Another card said: “Thank you for your dedication, service and reign. You have been a source of inspiration and a calming figure through my life.”
Because the announcement of the Queen’s death came late in the day on Thursday, at 6.30pm, Friday was understood to be the first day of the carefully choreographed fortnight of activities to mark her passing.
The situation means that under the complex plans, codenamed London Bridge, Friday was considered D-Day or D+0.
King Charles will be formally announced as the new sovereign on Saturday when the accession council meets at St James’s Palace. This is traditionally at 10am and is read in the open air from the Friary Court balcony by the Garter King of Arms.
There will also be a rare Saturday sitting of parliament, with senior MPs taking an oath of allegiance to the King from 2pm. Condolences are then expected to continue again until 10pm.
The session will end with a “formal humble address” to the King, “expressing the deep sympathy of the house”, according to a House of Commons statement.
Every MP will have the option of taking an oath to the King but are not obliged to.
In a statement on Thursday, the King said: “We deeply mourn the passing of a cherished sovereign and a much-loved mother. I know her loss of her will be deeply felt throughout the country, the realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world. ”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism