- Charles is officially declared king
- The Queen’s funeral set for September 19
- “We thought she was invincible” – William
- Queen Elizabeth, 96, died on Thursday
LONDON (Reuters) – The state funeral for Queen Elizabeth will take place on Monday, September 19, royal officials said on Saturday, after her son Charles was formally proclaimed Britain’s new king in a prehistoric procession. Centuries.
The death of the 96-year-old Queen has sparked tears, sadness and warm tributes, not only from the Queen’s close family and many Britons, but also from around the world – reflecting her 70-year presence on the world stage.
“We all thought she was invincible,” said her grandson Prince William, who is now heir to the throne. Read more
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“It was surreal,” he said during a tour outside Windsor Castle, where he and his wife Kate first appeared up close two years ago with his younger brother Harry and wife Meghan, – a hint that Elizabeth’s death may help heal the rift. Between my son Charles.
Elizabeth’s oak coffin, draped in the Royal Standard of Scotland with a wreath, lay in the ballroom of Balmoral Castle, her summer home in Scotland where she died peacefully on Thursday.
On Sunday, he will be transported through remote Highland villages to Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh, during a six-hour journey that will allow people to pay their respects. Read more
The coffin will then be flown to London on Tuesday where it will remain at Buckingham Palace before being taken to Westminster Hall to lie down until the funeral service at Westminster Abbey at 11am (1000 GMT) on September 19.
The death of Elizabeth, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, sent an outpouring of emotion around the world. Buildings and landmarks in Europe, America and Africa are lit up in the red, white and blue of the UK flag.
Charles, 73, succeeded his mother immediately, but the Accession Council met at St James – the UK’s largest royal palace built for Henry VIII in the 1530s – to proclaim him king on Saturday.
The council – made up of the Queen’s advisers whose role for centuries had been to advise the king – included his son and heir William, his wife Camilla and the new British prime minister, Liz Truss, who signed his accession declaration.
Six former prime ministers, senior bishops and a host of politicians shouted “God save the king” when the declaration was approved.
“I am fully aware of this great legacy and the enormous duties and responsibilities of the Sovereign now bequeathed to me,” said Charles. “I will work hard to follow the inspiring example you set for me.”
Later, in the Proclamation Gallery, on a balcony above Freire’s Court in St. James’s Palace, the Garter King of Arms, David White, accompanied by others dressed in gold and red, recited the chief proclamation, as the trumpets sounded.
Soldiers in traditional scarlet garb chanted “Hip, thigh, hurray” as White called out three cheers to the king.
A few hundred people were allowed into the court, including young children on parents’ shoulders, a woman holding flowers and elderly people on commuting bikes.
Charles is the 41st king in a dynasty that traces back to Norman King William the Conqueror who seized the English throne in 1066. Saturday’s events reflected announcements of new kings and queens dating back hundreds of years.
He became king and head of state not only of the United Kingdom but of 14 other kingdoms including Australia, Canada, Jamaica, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.
This was the first advertisement for the King to be broadcast on television. And for most Britons, it was the first event of its kind in their lives because Elizabeth was the only Queen they had ever known. Charles himself was only three years old when she became queen in 1952.
Britain has declared a period of mourning until Elizabeth’s state funeral, which will be a public holiday. Leaders from around the world are expected to attend, including US President Joe Biden, who has said he will be there.
Charles will be crowned at a later time – the timing of that is not yet clear. There was a 16-month gap between Elizabeth becoming queen and her coronation in 1953.
He has already made his eldest son William, 40, the new Prince of Wales, a title traditionally held as heir to the throne, and William’s wife Kate becoming Princess of Wales, a role played by the late Princess Diana.
The couple had a major public feud with Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, after they decided to step out of royal duties and move to California in 2020.
Harry and Meghan happened to be in Britain last week for some charity events and weren’t even expected to see William – until their grandmother passed away.
Nevertheless, the quartet stood together and spoke briefly, although they seemed rather awkward and didn’t spend much time together during the 40-minute drive in Windsor, which followed a call from William for his brother.
A royal source said it was an important show of unity at a very difficult time for the family.
Meanwhile in Balmoral, the Queen’s three younger children – Anne, Andrew and Edward – and their families also made a public appearance, visiting a nearby church before checking out letters among the flowers and thanking the crowd for their support.
Princess Eugenie, one of Prince Andrew’s daughters, was seen wiping away her tears and hugging her father.
“It was a very emotional moment, it was very moving,” said Ian Smith, the local businessman who was standing at the front of the curbs. “It was really special that they came to acknowledge us and we can show them our support.”
Elizabeth, who was the world’s oldest and tallest head of state, ascended to the throne after the death of her father, King George VI on February 6, 1952, when she was only 25 years old.
Over the decades she has witnessed a seismic change in the social, political and economic structure of her homeland. She won praise for modernizing the monarchy during her long reign, despite intense media scrutiny and her family’s often public troubles.
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Additional reporting by Kate Holton and Michael Holden Additional reporting by Movija M, Peter Nichols and Alistair Smoot in London and Andrew MacAskill in Balmoral, Scotland Editing by Andrew Heavens, Christina Fincher and Frances Kerry
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