An emotional King Charles III was greeted by thousands of well-wishers as he arrived at Buckingham Palace today where he met with representatives from the Commonwealth – while his mother Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin embarks on her historic final journey from Balmoral to Edinburgh, then onto Westminster Abbey for her state funeral.
Crowds lining the length of The Mall – including excited young children sat on top of the shoulders of parents trying to take photos with their phones – cheered and waved at Britain’s new monarch as he was driven in his state Rolls-Royce from Clarence House through the Palace gates at around 1pm, accompanied by a motorcade of four cars and four police motorbikes.
The King was followed shortly after arriving at Buckingham Palace by his wife Camilla, Queen Consort, who was also cheered by mourners.
Charles met Commonwealth general secretary Patricia Scotland in the 1844 Room at 2pm today, before attending a reception with High Commissioners and their spouses from countries where he is head of state at the royal residence’s Bow Room. Then at 3.30pm, the King – who was formally proclaimed at St James’s Palace yesterday – received the Dean of Windsor.
Guests will include Foreign Secretary James Cleverly and the Commissioner for Antigua and Barbuda – whose republican Prime Minister is threatening a referendum on ditching the Crown – as well as representatives for Bahamas, Belize, Canada, Grenada, New Zealand, St Christopher and Nevis, St Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines, and the Honorary Consul of Tuvalu and the Acting High Commissioner for Australia.
Next week, the King and Queen will embark on a tour of the four home nations in the run-up to his late mother’s state funeral at Westminster Abbey and burial at St George’s Chapel in Windsor, following her death at Balmoral on Thursday aged 96.
Today, the King was proclaimed as head of state at a swathe of ceremonies across Britain and the Commonwealth – from Edinburgh, Cardiff and Hillsborough castles, and the devolved parliaments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, to the far-flung capitals of Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
The late Queen’s eldest son, who automatically became King three days ago, was yesterday formally proclaimed at a historic ceremony in St James’s Palace in London, following a meeting of the ancient Norman-era Accession Council.
In Edinburgh, huge crowds gathered down the Royal Mile as the King’s Body Guard for Scotland, known as the Royal Company of Archers, and the guard of honour marched from the Castle Esplanade to Mercat Cross. They were joined by soldiers from the Royal Regiment of Scotland, where a drill is taking place in front of the cross in Edinburgh.
Rain beat down on officials at the proclamation event in Hillsborough, as a 40-second fanfare was sounded by a bugler after the last round of the 21-gun salute was fired before the band of the Royal Irish Regiment then played one verse of God Save the King. Guests at the event – including Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris, Northern Ireland Office minister Steve Baker, DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, Alliance Party leader Naomi Long, Ulster Unionist leader Doug Beattie and Traditional Unionist Voice leader Jim Allister – joined together and said three cheers for Charles III.
And at Cardiff Castle, more than 2,000 people witnessed Wales Herald of Arms Extraordinary, Tom Lloyd, and the Lord-Lieutenant of South Glamorgan, Morfudd Meredith, read the proclamation of the new King in English and Welsh. Prior to the Proclamation, 26 men of the 3rd Battalion the Royal Welsh – supported by the Band of the Royal Welsh – were marching from City Hall at 11.25am along the Boulevard de Nantes, North Road and Duke Street to the castle. They were accompanied by the regimental mascot, a Welsh billy goat called Lance Corporal Shenkin IV, and Goat Major Sergeant Mark Jackson.
In other developments today:
- The Queen’s coffin is making the historic six-hour journey from Balmoral to Edinburgh. Her Majesty will lie in state at the Palace of Holyroodhouse overnight and then for 24 hours in St Giles’ Cathedral tomorrow, so that well-wishers can pay tribute to the monarch. The coffin will then be transported down to London ahead of the state funeral at Westminster Abbey on Monday, September 19;
- Prince William vowed to serve Wales with ‘humility’ – after he paid tribute to his ‘extraordinary Grannie’ in a heartbreaking statement yesterday;
- The Prince and Princess of Wales yesterday reunited with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, for a historic walkabout at Windsor;
- Church services took place around the UK today to remember Her Majesty on first Sunday after her death;
- The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby told his congregation that this was an ‘unexpectedly extraordinary Sunday’ as he paid tribute to the later monarch;
- The Sussexes’ children Archie and Lilibet continued to be listed as ‘Master’ and ‘Miss’ on the new order of succession;
- First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, paid tribute to the late Queen in a tweet;
- Former Prime Minister David Cameron described how he had to apologise to Her Majesty after revealing details of private phone call. He also revealed that he help Charles prepare for becoming King by holding ‘practice’ audiences.
King Charles III waving at well-wishers as he arrives at Buckingham Palace this afternoon
Members of the public gather to watch King Charles III arrive by car at Buckingham Palace today
King Charles is driven to Buckingham Palace, following the death of his mother Queen Elizabeth II
Camilla, the Queen Consort, waving to people gathered outside Buckingham Palace from her car today
Children sit on the shoulders of their parents as they watch the King arrive at Buckingham Palace today
People wait in line to lay flowers for the late Queen Elizabeth II in front of Buckingham Palace
The Queen ‘s oak coffin was today seen leaving Balmoral Castle on its way to Edinburgh in a black Mercedes Benz
King Charles III waves to waiting members of the public as he arrives by car at Buckingham Palace
King Charles at Buckingham Palace, following the death of his mother Queen Elizabeth II
The monarch was accompanied by a motorcade of four cars and four police motorbikes
Camilla, Queen Consort arrives by car at Buckingham Palace as she is greeted by well-wishers this afternoon
Liz Truss will join the King on tour of the UK as they lead the nation in mourning
Liz Truss will accompany the King as he visits the four corners of the United Kingdom to lead the nation in mourning.
The Prime Minister will be by His Majesty’s side as he attends services in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales next week ahead of his mother’s funeral.
While she is not required to be present, she believes it is important to be present.
Her official spokesman told reporters: ‘In terms of the Prime Minister’s involvement, she will join the King as he leads the national mourning across the United Kingdom, attending services of reflection in Scotland on Monday afternoon, in Northern Ireland on Tuesday and Wales on Friday.’
He said it would not be a formal or constitutional role but had been agreed by Downing Street and the Palace.
‘It’s not a requirement but the Prime Minister believes it’s important to be present for what is a significant moment of national mourning around the United Kingdom.’
The spokesman also said that the scale of planning the Queen’s funeral was ‘equivalent to the Olympics’ – but would need to be done in just ten days.
Charles has also been proclaimed King in cities across the Commonwealth. Speaking from parliament’s steps in Wellington, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told a crowd that in the wake of the Queen’s death, New Zealand had entered a time of change.
In Canberra, Governor General David Hurley, the monarch’s representative in Australia, proclaimed Charles with a 21-gun salute at Parliament House.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said a national day of mourning for the Queen would take place on September 22, with the day to be a public holiday. He also announced that he would attend Her Majesty’s state funeral at Westminster Abbey on September 19.
As a mark of respect, national flags in Australia are at half-mast, parliament has been suspended and a giant portrait of the Queen has been displayed on the sails of the Sydney Opera House.
And in Ottawa, a 28-member band of the Canadian Armed Forces played God Save the King during a 21-run gun salute at a proclamation ceremony attended by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Though Canadians are somewhat indifferent to the monarchy, many had great affection for the Queen, whose silhouette marks their coins. She was the head of state for 45% of Canada’s existence and visited the country 22 times as monarch.
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.
The King will begin his visit to legislators at London’s Westminster Hall tomorrow, 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.
People stand to pay their respects as the hearse carrying the body of the Queen makes its way towards Edinburgh
A sombre Princess Royal in a Bentley limousine behind the Queen’s hearse as it travels through Aberdeenshire to Edinburgh
Members of the public line the streets in Ballater, Scotland, as the hearse carrying the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II passes through
A slight mist hung in the air at Balmoral Castle early this morning ahead of the Queen’s final departure from what was one of her most beloved places to spend time
The wreath is made up of flowers from the Balmoral estate including sweet peas – one of the Queen’s favourite flowers – dahlias, phlox, white heather and pine fir
Dignitaries salute Queen Elizabeth II’s hearse as it passes through the village of Ballater
Local people – dressed in black – gather in Ballater in tribute to the Queen as her coffin passed through the village
The coffin is expected to stop in Ballater for a short ceremony in the town famed for its connections to the Royals.
Local people dressed in tartan preparing for the arrival of the Queen’s coffin at Glenmuick Church in Ballater
Policing operation for funeral will be ‘hugely complex’
A senior Metropolitan Police officer has said policing in the run-up to the Queen’s funeral will be a ‘hugely complex operation’.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stuart Cundy on Sunday said hundreds of extra officers had already been called in as thousands descended on the capital following the monarch’s death.
Officers are likely to be concerned with managing crowds, with a huge number of mourners expected to queue for several hours, including overnight, to pay their respects to the Queen as she lies in state, expected to be from Wednesday.
Leaders from around the globe will also travel to the UK for the state funeral on Monday, meaning security will be of increased concern.
Mr Cundy said: ‘Our role is to ensure this is going to be a safe and a secure set of events.
‘Our policing operation is hugely complex, with a huge amount of detail within it, as you can well imagine.
‘So we’re always mindful of all manner of different potential things that might occur. We know that not just the eyes of the United Kingdom but the world will be on London at this point in time.’
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.
It comes as floral tributes were thrown into the path of Queen’s coffin as thousands of people turned out to pay their respects as the monarch began the journey to her final resting place at St George’s Chapel in Windsor, alongside her beloved husband the Duke of Edinburgh.
Her oak coffin, draped with the Royal Standard of Scotland with a wreath of Balmoral flowers on top, began its six-hour trip from the Queen’s summer sanctuary in the Highlands to Edinburgh.
The former monarch did not travel alone – the Princess Royal and her husband Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence were in a limousine as part of a procession directly behind her.
A single motorbike police outrider led the way as the hearse, followed by six vehicles, travelled at a stately pace through the Aberdeenshire countryside.
Proclamations of the new King were read to large crowds at Mercat Cross in Edinburgh, at Cardiff Castle, in Wales, and at Hillsborough Castle, in Northern Ireland.
The First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, paid tribute to the Queen, calling her ‘extraordinary’. In a tweet, she said: ‘A sad and poignant moment as Her Majesty, The Queen leaves her beloved Balmoral for the final time. Today, as she makes her journey to Edinburgh, Scotland will pay tribute to an extraordinary woman.’
Hundreds lined the main street as the Queen’s coffin was driven slowly through Ballater, the village closest to the Balmoral estate, where locals considered her a neighbour.
The Queen and her family were often seen in the village in Royal Deeside, which she had visited since childhood and where the royal family have space to be themselves. Many shops in the picturesque Victorian village had photographs of the Queen in their windows.
A gun salute is fired during the proclamation ceremony for King Charles III at Cardiff Castle, Wales
The Royal Marines march down the Royal Mile during an Accession Proclamation Ceremony at Mercat Cross, Edinburgh
Military guards march in Edinburgh prior to the arrival of the cortege carrying the coffin of the late Queen Elizabeth II
Drummers at the front of a military band play prior to the Proclamations near St Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh
An Accession Proclamation Ceremony at Mercat Cross, Edinburgh, publicly proclaims King Charles III as the new monarch
A trumpeteer sounds a fanfare during an Accession Proclamation Ceremony at Cardiff Castle, Wales
In Cardiff, the 3rd battalion of the Royal Welsh and The Band of the Royal Welsh arrive at Cardiff Castle accompanied by the regimental mascot during of the Welsh Proclamation of King Charles III
EDINBURGH: Members of the public during an Accession Proclamation Ceremony at Mercat Cross publicly proclaiming King Charles III as the new monarch
CARDIFF: Lance Corporal Shenkin IV, the regimental mascot goat, accompanies the 3rd Battalion of the Royal Welsh regiment at the Accession Proclamation Ceremony at Cardiff Castle
WALES: Crowds gather at Cardiff Castle ahead of the Welsh Proclamation of King Charles III
What happens next: Day two of mourning
D+2 – Sunday September 11
The Queen’s coffin, draped in the Royal Standard for Scotland, will be taken by road to the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh from 10am.
It will travel east from Balmoral to the coast, before travelling south to Holyroodhouse, in a journey lasting six hours.
Huge crowds are expected to line the route of the 170-mile journey, as mourners pay their respects.
The Queen will rest overnight in the oak-panelled Throne Room.
Proclamations will be read in the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland devolved parliaments in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast.
And King Charles will meet Commonwealth Secretary General, Realm High Commissioners, and the Dean of Windsor at Buckingham Palace today.
D+3 – Monday September 12
At 2.35pm, the procession will be held along the Royal Mile to St Giles’ Cathedral.
The King and other senior members of the Royal Family will walk the 1,200 yard route on foot.
At 7.20pm, the King and other family members will mount a vigil by the coffin.
The Queen will then lie at rest for 24 hours, with thousands expected to file past.
The House of Commons and the House of Lords are expected to come together in Westminster for a Motion of Condolence, which the King could attend.
After leaving England and visiting Scotland, Charles will at some stage travel to the other countries of the UK – Wales and Northern Ireland – known as Operation Spring Tide.
D+4 – Tuesday September 13
At 5pm on Tuesday, the Queen’s coffin will be taken by hearse to Edinburgh airport, where it will be met by a Guard of Honour from the Royal Regiment of Scotland.
The Royal Air Force bearer party will then carry it on to a waiting aircraft, where it will be flown to London at 6pm.
She will be accompanied by Princess Anne and arrive at RAF Northolt in West London shortly before 7pm.
The coffin will then be driven to Buckingham Palace where it will be met by a Guard of Honour.
There it will rest in the Bow Room, under the watch of a rota of chaplains.
A rehearsal for the procession of the coffin from Buckingham Palace to the Palace of Westminster is also expected to take place.
D+5 – Wednesday September 14
The Queen’s lying in state is expected to begin in Westminster Hall – Operation Marquee – following a ceremonial procession through London that will begin at 2.22pm.
The King will walk behind his mother’s coffin for the second time in three days.
On arrival, the coffin will be placed on a raised bier where the Queen will lie in state for four full days.
The Archbishop of Canterbury will conduct a short service following the coffin’s arrival.
Hundreds of thousands of people will file past the coffin on its catafalque and pay their respects, just as they did for the Queen Mother’s lying in state in 2002.
The management of the queues outside is Operation Feather.
During the Covid-19 crisis, plans included the possibility of the introduction of timed ticketing for those wanting to attend.
Senior royals are also expected to pay their own moving tribute, standing guard at some stage around the coffin – the tradition known as the Vigil of the Princes.
D+6 – Thursday September 15
Lying in state continues and a rehearsal is likely to take place for the state funeral procession.
D+7 – Friday September 16
Lying in state continues, ending on D+9.
On Friday, King Charles will continue his tour of the UK, travelling to Wales to receive a motion of condolence at the Welsh Parliament, and attend a service at Llandaff Cathedral, in Cardiff.
D+9 – Sunday September 18
Heads of state begin to arrive for the funeral. An evening reception will be held for funeral guests, including prime ministers, heads of state and other dignitaries from across the world.
The King will hold an audience with the Prime Minister.
D+10 – Monday September 19
The Queen’s state funeral will take place at Westminster Abbey in central London at 11am.
The original plans are for the Queen’s coffin to process on a gun carriage to the abbey, pulled by naval ratings – sailors – using ropes rather than horses.
Senior members of the family will follow behind – just like they did for the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales and the Duke of Edinburgh.
The military will line the streets and also join the procession.
Heads of state, prime ministers and presidents, European royals and key figures from public life will be invited to gather in the abbey, which can hold a congregation of 2,000.
The service will be televised, and a national two minutes’ silence is expected to be held at midday.
The same day as the funeral, the Queen’s coffin will be taken to St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle for a televised committal service.
Later in the evening, there will be a private interment service with senior members of the royal family.
The Queen’s final resting place will be the King George VI memorial chapel, an annex to the main chapel – where her mother and father were buried, along with the ashes of her sister, Princess Margaret. Philip’s coffin will move from the Royal Vault to the memorial chapel to join the Queen’s.
The hearse passed Glenmuick Church, where the Rev David Barr rang the church bells 70 times after the Queen’s death was announced.
Flowers were thrown into the hearse’s path by well-wishers on both sides of the road in Ballater, which was sombre and silent. The hearse slowed to a fast walking pace and mourners could clearly see the royal standard-draped coffin and the wreath featuring flowers from the Balmoral estate, including sweet peas – one of the Queen’s favourite flowers – dahlias, phlox, white heather and pine fir.
Elizabeth Taylor, from Aberdeen, had tears in her eyes as she considered what she had just seen.
She said: ‘It was very emotional. It was respectful and showed what they think of the Queen. She certainly gave service to this country, even up until a few days before her death.’
Earlier, the Queen’s oak coffin was carried to the hearse by six Balmoral estate gamekeepers tasked with the symbolic gesture. It had been at rest in the Balmoral ballroom so the monarch’s estate workers could say their goodbyes. The hearse is making a journey of around 180 miles from Balmoral to the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh.
Some distance from the main cortege was a large number of support vehicles, including police vans and cars, an ambulance and what appeared to be a back-up hearse.
Richard Gledson, factor of the Balmoral estate, managed the event supported by Rev Kenneth MacKenzie, minister of Balmoral’s Crathie Church where the Queen worshipped.
Rev Mackenzie travelled in a vehicle with the main procession, as did a representative of the Lord Chamberlain’s Office, a department responsible for organising ceremonial or public-facing events in the monarch’s diary.
Yesterday Charles paid tribute to the reign of the late Queen, ‘unequalled in its duration, its dedication and its devotion’, as he was formally declared the nation’s new monarch.
During a poignant and sombre meeting of the Accession Council, the King spoke movingly about his mother and the grief his family is experiencing, but said the ‘sympathy expressed by so many to my sister and brothers’ had been the ‘greatest consolation’.
Watched by the Queen, the new Prince of Wales and more than 200 privy counsellors – including six former prime ministers – the King pledged himself to the task now before him and the ‘heavy responsibilities of Sovereignty’.
His mother would be his guide for the years ahead as he strived to ‘follow the inspiring example I have been set in upholding constitutional government’, he added.
The day included a moment of pomp and pageantry with David White, Garter King of Arm, in his colourful regalia and flanked by other Officers of Arms and Sergeants at Arms, reading the proclamation of the new King from a balcony at St James’s Palace.
Meanwhile, in Scotland the late Queen’s other children, the Princess Royal, Duke of York and Earl of Wessex, and their families attended a service at Balmoral’s Crathie Kirk where their mother regularly worshipped.
Afterwards, Anne, her husband Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence and her children Zara Tindall and Peter Phillips joined Andrew and his daughters, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, and Edward and the Countess of Wessex with their daughter Lady Louise, at the gates of Balmoral Castle to look at floral tributes left for the late monarch.
Eugenie wiped away tears at one point and was hugged by her father Andrew, and returned the comforting gesture.
Charles began his momentous day by discharging the ‘sorrowful duty’ of announcing the death of his ‘beloved mother’, and told the council: ‘I know how deeply you, the entire nation – and I think I may say the whole world – sympathise with me in the irreparable loss we have all suffered.
‘It is the greatest consolation to me to know of the sympathy expressed by so many to my sister and brothers and that such overwhelming affection and support should be extended to our whole family in our loss.’
Charles spoke of the late Queen’s ‘selfless service’, adding: ‘My mother’s reign was unequalled in its duration, its dedication and its devotion. Even as we grieve, we give thanks for this most faithful life.’
He went on to say: ‘I am deeply aware of this great inheritance and of the duties and heavy responsibilities of Sovereignty which have now passed to me. In taking up these responsibilities, I shall strive to follow the inspiring example I have been set in upholding constitutional Government and to seek the peace, harmony and prosperity of the peoples of these islands and of the Commonwealth Realms and Territories throughout the world.’
The King ended by saying: ‘And in carrying out the heavy task that has been laid upon me, and to which I now dedicate what remains to me of my life, I pray for the guidance and help of Almighty God.’
The historic event was broadcast for the first time, giving the world a first glimpse of an ancient ceremony dating back centuries and one of the first changes to convention instigated by the new King.
Following convention, Charles did not attend the first part of the ceremony when the clerk of the council Richard Tilbrook read the proclamation to the packed meeting that confirmed the new monarch.
He said: ‘…Prince Charles Philip Arthur George, is now, by the death of our late Sovereign of happy memory, become our only lawful and rightful liege lord, Charles III…’
The meeting was staged in the state rooms of St James’s Palace, and the clerk declared to the room: ‘God Save the King,’ with the privy counsellors repeating the famous phrase.
The new monarch became King the moment his mother died, but an Accession Council must be convened following the death of a Sovereign – usually within 24 hours.
More than 200 privy councillors – a group of mostly senior politicians past and present, some members of the monarchy and other national figures – were present to hear the Clerk of the Council read the Accession Proclamation.
Among them were ex-prime ministers Sir John Major, Sir Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, David Cameron, Theresa May and Boris Johnson – Cabinet members, former Archbishops of Canterbury and York with everyone standing, a convention believed to have been established by Queen Victoria to keep such meetings short.
The current premier Liz Truss was part of the proceedings and stood at the head of the council with Camilla, William, Archbishop of York Justin Welby and other figures as the clerk read the proclamation.
Charles’s address was made in the second part of the ceremony – when proceedings moved to the palace’s throne room – and was effectively the King hosting his first Privy Council meeting.
After his personal declaration about the death of his mother the King took the oath to preserve the Church of Scotland – because in Scotland there is a division of powers between the church and state.
A number of procedural matters were completed including the King approving the day of the late Queen’s funeral, which has yet to be confirmed, to be a bank holiday.
EDINBURGH: An Accession Proclamation Ceremony at Mercat Cross publicly proclaiming King Charles as the new monarch
EDINBURGH: People gather outside of the St Giles’ Cathedral ahead of the ceremony of the proclamation
The new monarch became King the moment his mother died, but an Accession Council must be convened following the death of a Sovereign – usually within 24 hours.
At 11am the crowds stood in a road overlooking the St James’s Palace’s Friary Court saw the spectacle of the Garter King of Arms reading the proclamation from a balcony.
In the court below was the palace’s detachment of the King’s Guard made up of Number 7 Company, Coldstream Guards.
The national anthem was performed by the Band of the Coldstream Guards alongside eight State Trumpeters of the Household Cavalry who were stood on the balcony.
Amid a burst of pageantry with a trumpet fanfare, it was a masterclass in royal choreography – the like of which not has not been witnessed for 70 years – as the change in reign was officially announced.
Behind the old stone castellations of the balcony above Friary Court in St James’s Palace, the Garter Principal King of Arms David White, resplendent in a sumptuous red and gold velvet tabard, stepped into the warm September air under grey skies to shout out the proclamation.
It signified the formal notice to the people of the accession of a new sovereign, at the conclusion of the historic Accession Council.
In a poignant move, the Queen’s grieving first cousins had made their way into Friary Court to watch from beneath the arches of St James’s Palace.
LONDON: Members of Band of the Coldstream guards ahead of the reading of the Principal Proclamation in Friary Court before the accession council
King Charles III during the Accession Council at St James’s Palace, London
Led by the late Queen’s Master of the Household Vice Admiral Tony Johnstone-Burt, the Duke of Kent, aged 86 and 10 years the Queen’s junior, looked ailing and frail as he walked slowly but without any aid to sit on a red leather and wooden seat specially set out for him under the arches of the courtyard.
There too were his brother Prince Michael of Kent, and the Duke of Gloucester and his wife the Duchess of Gloucester and the Duke of Kent’s daughter Lady Helen Taylor.
The Duchess of Gloucester, sat next to the Duke of Kent, listened as he pointed towards the balcony discussing the scene before them.
The Queen’s cousins have served Elizabeth II throughout their lives and shared precious times with her in childhood.
At one point the Gloucesters stood with their arms interlinked.
In the quadrangle, the King’s principal private secretary Sir Clive Alderton, clutching a series of white documents, and the late Queen’s private secretary Sir Edward Young were engrossed in conversation shortly before the public proclamation. Both have key roles in the busy days ahead as London Bridge gets fully under way – although Charles has yet to set out the details of royal court as monarch.
The Garter King of Arms confessed beforehand to being nervous at his ’emotional’ role.
‘It’s a great honour and something that we have been preparing for, for years. It’s a rather emotional occasion,’ he said.
Asked if he had any nerves, he replied: ‘I do.’
His intricately decorated tabard, embroidered gold thread, was thankfully not heavy or hot, he disclosed, due to it being made of velvet.
Given the ancient nature of the ceremony, it was also remarkably new, having been made just 10 years ago when the previous one which dated from 1838 became too frail to be used.
‘Every garment has its working life,’ he added.
There had been much to do in preparation. One of the 20 foot high huge sash windows at the back of the balcony was removed entirely on Friday to allow the Garter King of Arms and the Officers and Serjeants of Arms ease of access – with a scramble through a window unthinkable amid the carefully staged pomp.
It was replaced with a temporary window in case of poor weather and for protection, which was removed on Saturday as the scene was readied.
Special wooden steps – crafted by a carpenter – were created to allow the ceremonial officers, all decked out in tabards like a row of court playing cards – to process with regal effect onto the balcony, which overlooked the expanse of the red coloured court.
Ahead of the ceremony, the newly named King’s Guard – made up of Number 7 Company Coldstream Guard – in familiar red tunics and black bearskin hats took their positions with shouts of ‘Be still’ from their Captain.
Timing was of the utmost importance and the Earl Marshal – the Duke of Norfolk – in charge of the accession proceedings and the funeral – checked his watch twice as he and the others waited for the precise start time of 11am.
The Garter King of Arms read his 197 word proclamation – to ‘publish and proclaim that the Prince Charles Philip Arthur George, is now, by the death of our late Sovereign of happy memory, become our only lawful and rightful liege lord, Charles III’.
He delivered his words loudly and without falter, the carrying of his voice assisted by two fluffy boom microphones hid out of sight behind the low dark red brick balcony wall, above the quadrangle.
The Captain of the King’s Guard ordered his troops to ‘Present arms’ as the colour was lowered with the stomp of their feet.
The Garter King of Arms’ shout of ‘God Save the King’ was echoed triumphantly by the gathered royals, including the Duke of Kent who rallied to stand, along with the household staff and public, as the state trumpeters sounded the royal salute.
Members of the household staff appeared moved as cheers from the crowds on The Mall and shouts of ‘God Save the King’ flooded into the courtyard, as the National Anthem was played, and those watching joined in.
In a poignant tribute, the King’s Guard lifted their head-dresses raising them aloft three times as the Garter King of Arms declared ‘Three Cheers for His Majesty The King. Hip-Hip’ with the troops responding ‘Hooray’ to each.
The Duke of Kent raised his hand in the air for the two final cheers.
Friary Court plays a role in the Changing the Guard ceremonies, being where the Old Guard forms and is inspected by the Captain of the Guard before marching to Buckingham Palace – and on Saturday, it was a Changing the Guard of the monarchy, from a now departed monarch to her son.
Hour-by-hour guide to the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II: World will watch as King Charles III and senior royals walk behind late monarch’s oak coffin carried on gun carriage from Parliament to Westminster Abbey for historic service
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II‘s state funeral will take place at Westminster Abbey at 11am on Monday, September 19.
It will be the first funeral service at the Abbey – which was the background to much of the Queen’s astonishing life, from her marriage to her beloved Duke of Edinburgh to the Coronation – for a British monarch since that of King George II in 1760.
The funerals of kings and queens have been at St George’s Chapel in Windsor since the reign of George III.
However, in a break with convention, Her Majesty – who died at Balmoral on Thursday aged 96 following many months of concern over her health – decided her funeral should be in the much bigger setting of Westminster Abbey.
Scotland Yard has now been tasked with organising the most significant security arrangement in British history for the funeral.
After a night at the Palace of Holyroodhouse tonight, the Queen will lie in state for 24 hours at St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh. Her coffin will be flown to London on Tuesday, acccompanied by the Princess Royal, before being driven to Buckingham Palace. The Queen’s lying in state is expected to begin in Westminster Hall in London on Wednesday afternoon.
Then on Monday, the coffin will be moved from the Houses of Parliament that morning on the state gun carriage and transported to the neighbouring Abbey. King Charles III and other senior members of the Royal Family, as well as the military, will follow the coffin while hundreds of thousands of mourners line the streets to pay their final respects to the late monarch.
Around 2,000 guests including Prime Minister Liz Truss and US President Joe Biden will then attend the hour-long televised service in the Abbey, which is expected to be one of the most watched live events in history – before the coffin is solemnly carried to Wellington Arch at 1pm via Whitehall, The Mall and past Buckingham Palace.
The coffin will then be carried to Windsor, before the Queen is buried at St George’s Chapel next to her husband Prince Philip.
Her Majesty stands on the Buckingham Palace balcony on the final day of her Platinum Jubilee celebrations in early June
6am-8.30am: Last vigil at Queen’s coffin in Westminster Hall
At dawn on the last day of national mourning, the King’s bodyguards will begin their final vigil at the Queen’s oak coffin in the Houses of Parliament. It will then close at 8.30am in preparation for the procession.
9am: Big Ben will strike
Big Ben will strike clearly, before the bell’s hammer is covered with a thick leather pad to muffle its strikes for the rest of the day, out of respect and deference to the late monarch.
10.30am: Queen’s coffin is carried from House of Parliament to Westminster Abbey
The Queen’s coffin will be moved onto the state gun carriage which will be outside the north door of Westminster Hall.
From there, it will be pulled by naval ratings using ropes instead of horses from the Hall to Westminster Abbey.
Enormous crowds of mourners are expected to line the streets in Westminster as King Charles and senior members of the Royal Family follow the coffin as they did at the funeral for Princess Diana and for Prince Philip. The military will also join the procession.
11am: The Queen’s coffin is carried to the High Altar
Around 2,000 guests including members of the Royal Family, Prime Minister Liz Truss, former British premiers, foreign dignitaries including US President Joe Biden, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and possibly Japanese Emperor Naruhito, and other VIPs, will fill the Abbey and watch as the Queen’s coffin is moved down the nave to the High Altar, before the nation falls silent.
The state funeral at Westminster Abbey (pictured) be led by the Dean of Westminster and the Archbishop of Canterbury
11am-12pm: The state funeral at the Abbey
The state funeral will be led by the Dean of Westminster and the Archbishop of Canterbury.
It is being televised and is expected to be beamed to millions around the world – and could well be one of the most watched live events in human history.
Royal experts believe that the choice of the Abbey could be both because it is so big – it has a capacity of 2,000 though can hold as many as 8,000 – and more live TV broadcasts have already been held there.
It is also believed that it could be a better place for large crowds to gather to pay their respects, since it is in Central London.
And the Abbey was the setting for many of the most important events of the Queen’s life – from her Coronation to her wedding to Prince Philip. The Princess Royal and the Duke of York, and the Queen’s sister Princess Margaret, were also married there.
Other royal funerals have been held at the Abbey, including Princess Diana’s in 1997 and the Queen Mother’s in 2002. The funeral of Earl Mountbatten of Burma, Philip’s uncle, was also held there in 1979.
Queen Elizabeth II at her coronation ceremony in Westminster Abbey
12pm: The Last Post
At the end of the service, the Last Post and Reveille will be played.
12pm-1pm: Queen’s coffin is carried to Wellington Arch via The Mall
The Queen’s coffin will then be placed back on the state gun carriage, before the royal funeral procession will solemnly move through Parliament Square, Whitehall, Constitution Hill and The Mall, past Buckingham Palace, to arrive at Wellington Arch at 1pm.
1pm-4pm: The coffin is transported to Windsor
Then the coffin will be transported to Windsor, where the Queen spent much of the last years of her life, to her final resting place at St George’s Chapel via the Long Walk.
The Queen’s coffin will be lowered into the Royal Vault at St George’s Chapel in Windsor (pictured), where she will be buried alongside her husband the Duke of Edinburgh, her beloved parents, and her sister Princess Margaret
Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh in an official wedding photograph taken on their wedding day in 1947
4pm: Queen will be buried at St George’s Chapel by her husband Prince Philip
The committal service conducted by the Dean of Windsor will then begin, and will also be televised around the world.
Before the last hymn, the Imperial State Crown, sceptre and orb will be removed from the Queen’s coffin by the crown jeweller.
Then at the end of the service, a lament will be played by a lone piper as the coffin is lowered into the Royal Vault, where she will be buried alongside her husband the Duke of Edinburgh, her beloved parents, and her sister Margaret.
7pm: King Charles will attend private family burial service at chapel
King Charles and his closest family will return to the chapel for a private family burial service, where – as the late Queen did for her father – the monarch will scatter earth upon the coffin.
The significance of Westminster Abbey in the Queen’s life: Married and crowned there, Her Majesty’s state funeral will be the first at the church for the first time since George II’s 260 years ago
The Queen was married and crowned at Westminster Abbey.
Now the bells of the ‘House of Kings’ – half muffled in mourning – will ring out at her funeral.
It will be the first time in over 260 years a sovereign’s funeral has taken place in the Abbey. The last was George II’s in 1760.
For the Queen, the Abbey was where her most defining milestones took place, both in terms of her personal happiness and her public duty.
Princess Elizabeth was 21 when, on Thursday November 20 1947, she married her prince in the surrounds of the central London church. It was a morale booster in tough post-war years and millions of people listened on the radio.
More than 2,000 guests gathered inside, waiting for the royal bride, whose Norman Hartnell wedding dress was hand-embroidered with more than 10,000 pearls and crystals.
Just five years after she married, the princess became Queen Elizabeth II on the death of her father, George VI.
Some 16 months later, on June 2 1953, she was crowned at the Abbey – the scene of coronations for some 900 years. During the service, the Queen took the oath and was anointed, with the St Edward’s Crown placed on her head. An estimated 27 million people in Britain watched the ceremony on TV after the Queen agreed it could be televised.
The Abbey was also the site of romantic royal celebrations for the Queen.
She saw her daughter, Princess Anne, marry Captain Mark Phillips in the church in 1973, and her second son, the Duke of York, wed Sarah Ferguson in 1986.
In 2011, her grandson, the Duke of Cambridge, now the Prince of Wales, exchanged vows with Kate Middleton as millions watched across the globe.
Many times, the Queen went to the Abbey with her family to attend thanksgivings or commemorative events such as a service to mark the 60th anniversary of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme in 2016.
The church was also a reminder of the loss of her mother, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, and former daughter-in-law, Diana, Princess of Wales. The Queen Mother’s funeral was held at the Abbey in 2002, five years after Diana’s.
The Gothic church – whose official title is the Collegiate Church of St Peter, Westminster – has been the coronation church since 1066. The Queen’s was the 38th.
It is also the final resting place of 17 monarchs, including Charles II and Elizabeth I.
Steeped in over 1,000 years of history, Benedictine monks first went to the site in the middle of the 10th century. The present church, started by Henry III in 1245, is one of the most important Gothic buildings in the country, with the medieval shrine of Anglo-Saxon saint Edward the Confessor still at its heart.
Elizabeth II maintained a close connection with the Abbey, which is a Royal Peculiar and subject only to the sovereign and not any archbishop or bishop.