For the first time in seven decades, the UK woke up to life Friday without the country’s longest-reigning monarch, queen elizabeth iiwho died Thursday at 96.
On Friday, Buckingham Palace began a period of Royal Mourning which will last seven days after her funeral, per the wishes of her eldest son and heir —King Charles III.
The date and details of the queen’s funeral have not been set but will be released “in due course,” according to Buckingham Palace. While the official date hasn’t been set, it is expected to take place within the next 10 days at Westminster Abbey in central London. The queen will then be laid to rest in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle alongside her mother, father and husband Prince Philip.
While preparations for the queen’s services take place, flags at royal residences will fly at half-mast and Britain’s longest-reigning monarch will rest in state among family and friends in Scotland before the queen’s coffin will be transferred to the throne room at Buckingham Palace.
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King Charles III returns to London from Scotland
Friday afternoon, King Charles III arrived at Buckingham Palace for the first time as Britain’s monarch.
The king flew to London from Scotland and was driven to the royal residence in an official Rolls-Royce. A large crowd cheered as the car arrived at the palace gates.
He got out of the car to greet well-wishers and look at some of the huge pile of floral tributes left to honor his mother Queen Elizabeth II. Some called “Thank you Charles” and “Well done, Charlie!” as he shook hands with the crowd. Several shouted “God save the king!”
King Charles III to deliver speech Friday, give public oath Saturday
On his first full day of duties Friday, King Charles III will meet newly appointed Prime Minister Liz Truss and deliver his first speech as king to a nation at a time when many Britons are preoccupied with an energy crisis, the soaring cost of living, the war in Ukraine and the fallout from Brexit. The king’s prerecorded address to the nation will air at 1 pm EST, which is 6 pm local time.
King Charles will be proclaimed by the Ascension council Saturday and will make his public oath to the church and to “facilitate continuity of government.”
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Guns salute, bells toll in remembrance of Queen Elizabeth II
As the 10-day mourning period began Friday, bells tolled around Britain ahead of the 96 gun salute which will take place Friday afternoon in London – a gun for each year of the queen’s long life.
people around the globe, including President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden, gathered at British embassies to pay homage to the queen.
Hundreds of people arrived through the night to leave flowers outside the gates of Buckingham Palace, the monarch’s London home which will be closed until she is laid to rest.
“She was like a mother to us all, someone who was always there, always constant. We all grew up with her,” said one woman waiting in line to get coffee on Friday morning in central London.
The UK has become accustomed to seeing the queen’s portrait, profile and coat of arms embossed on everything including stamps, money, passports and ketchup bottles. Over time, all these seals, known as royal warrants, will pass to King Charles III. Already, last night as mourners shed tears and laid flowers outside Buckingham Palace a few small pockets of well-wishers could be heard singing “God Save the King,” a change from “God Save the Queen,” the UK’s national anthem since 1952.
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Monarchy fans camp outside to remember the queen
Not everyone in the UK is a full-throated royalist but the queen was exceptionally well-loved and respected by the British public with some like John Loughrey preparing to spend almost two weeks camped outside Westminster Abbey to show his appreciation for all things royal following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
Loughrey, 67, has participated – from the sidelines – in royal weddings, birthdays, commemorations, funerals and more for years. From Saturday, he’ll set up a tent across the street from Westminster Abbey so he can closely follow along as members of the royal family, British officials, European royals, world leaders and other key figures from public life descend on London for the queen’s funeral.
“She was a very special person. She always went out of her way,” he said. “I am really going to miss her Christmas speeches from her.”
James Corden, Elton John pay tribute to Queen
Celebrities from Sir Elton John to world leaders such as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy mourned the queen, who died Thursday at Balmoral Castle.
During John’s final show in Toronto Thursday, the 75-year-old musician remembered Queen Elizabeth for her “grace and decency and genuine caring.”
He added: “I’m 75 and she’s been anymore with me all my life and I feel very sad that she won’t be with me, but I’m glad she’s at peace,”
The singer-songwriter then performed his 1974 track “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me.”
Corden, the host of TV’s “Late Late Show” said in a special message that while he is sad, he is also “so thankful and grateful to the queen for the most incredible service and leadership that she has shown during all of our lifetimes.”
He said, “we viewed her as immortal and an essential part of the fabric of our world. … She represented good in this world, living a life of honor and service, dedicated to bettering the lives of others.”
Contributing: Kim Hjelmgaard, Maria Puente, Laura Trujillo, Elise Brisco, USA TODAY; Associated Press
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism