09 September 2022

Grief-stricken King Charles begins journey to London as duty calls for new monarch

09 September 2022

The nation’s new monarch King Charles III has begun his poignant journey from Balmoral to London, following the death of his mother the Queen.

The grief-stricken King was glimpsed for the first time since his accession to the throne as he departed Birkhall, his private home on the Balmoral estate, by car at around 11.15am on Friday.

With Camilla, his new Queen Consort, in the front passenger seat, Charles sat in the back, dressed in his mourning clothes of a black suit and tie, looking sombre as he headed to Aberdeen Airport.

King Charles III and Camilla, the new Queen, drive through Ballater as they leave Birkhall (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Camilla stared straight ahead as they were driven from the Scottish residence, where they had rushed to be at the Queen’s bedside when she fell gravely ill.

The couple stayed overnight at Balmoral, where Queen Elizabeth II died peacefully aged 96 on Thursday afternoon.

Members of the royal family had made the urgent dash to be with the frail monarch as her health failed.

Her children – Charles, the Princess Royal, the Duke of York and Earl of Wessex – travelled to the castle, as did the Duke of Cornwall and Cambridge, the Countess of Wessex and the Duke of Sussex.

Senior royals will have duties to perform in Scotland in the coming days when the Queen’s coffin begins its journey back to the capital, but Harry was spotted leaving Balmoral on Friday morning.

The Sussexes, who were coming to the end of a whistle-stop visit to Europe when the Queen died, are expected to stay in the UK to attend the Queen’s state funeral, likely be held on September 19.

A woman lays flowers outside Buckingham Palace (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

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 the King.

He told Charles: “Your mother lived a meaningful life with dignity, grace, a strong sense of service and a warm heart, qualities we all should treasure.”

The Queen’s former homes of Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and Balmoral continue to attract thousands of people wanting to pay their respects to the late monarch, with hundreds of bouquets, personal notes and candles being placed in her honour.

Charles has already turned his hand to his duties as monarch despite his grief.

(PA Graphics)

He gave the order that a period of “Royal Mourning” for the Queen will be observed from now until seven days after her funeral.

Royal Mourning 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.

Royal salutes will be fired in London on Friday at 1pm in Hyde Park by the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery, and at the Tower of London by the Honourable Artillery Company, with one round being fired for each year of the Queen’s life.

The Union Flag is flown at half mast in Nottingham following the death of the Queen (Mike Egerton/PA)

Flags at royal residences were at half-mast on Thursday and will remain half-masted until 8am on the morning after the final day of royal mourning.

The King is expected to address the nation on television on Friday evening, and hold his first audience with Prime Minister Liz Truss.

The PM and senior ministers will attend a public service of remembrance at St Paul’s in central London.

(PA Graphics)

On Saturday morning, an Accession Council – the formal proclamation of Charles as King – will take place at St James’s Palace in London.

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.

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.

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