Church bells toll as Parliament starts special session after Queen Elizabeth II's death

Church bells tolled at noon as Parliament started a special session to mark the death of Queen Elizabeth II

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Church bells rang out across the land as a mark of respect to the late monarch.

Bells could be heard at Westminster Abbey, St Paul's Cathedral and Windsor Castle.

It came as hundreds of people queued to sign a book of condolence in Kent's historic Canterbury Cathedral.

Bells rang out throughout Canterbury for an hour to commemorate the life of Queen Elizabeth II.

Many are also lighting candles and leaving floral tributes below statues of her alongside Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

MPs observed a minute’s silence in memory of Queen Elizabeth II in the House of Commons chamber.

Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle led the tributes, telling MPs: “She is wed in our minds with the crown and all it stands for.”

Big Ben tolled in Westminster on Friday
Big Ben tolled in Westminster on Friday
Prime Minister Liz Truss
Prime Minister Liz Truss

Prime Minister Liz Truss added: “On the death of her father King George VI, Winston Churchill said the news had stilled the clatter and traffic of 20th century life in many lands.

“Now 70 years later in the tumult of the 21st century life has paused again. Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was one of the greatest leaders the world has ever known.”

She continued: “She remained determined to carry out her duties even at the age of 96.

“It was just three days ago at Balmoral that she invited me to form a Government and become her 15th prime minister.

“Again she generously shared with me her deep experience of government, even in those last days.”

The Queen did not simply “reign over us”, she lived “alongside us”, Sir Keir Starmer added.

Paying tribute in the Commons, the Labour leader said: “All our thoughts are with her beloved family, our Royal Family, at this moment of profound grief.

“This is a deep and private loss for them, yet it’s one we all share because Queen Elizabeth created a special, personal relationship with us all.

“That relationship was built on the attributes that defined her reign: her total commitment to service and duty, a deep devotion to the country, the Commonwealth, and the people she loved. In return for that, we loved her.”