King Charles confirms period of royal mourning from now until seven days after Queen Elizabeth II's funeral

A period of royal mourning will be observed from now until seven days after the Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral, Buckingham Palace said

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Queen Elizabeth II will be commemorated by pomp and ceremony as the nation begins a period of mourning to mark the death of its former monarch.

Gun salutes will ring out in the capital and bells will toll across the country, with churches, chapels and cathedrals encouraged by the Church of England to open for prayers or a special service for mourners.

King Charles III spoke of his grief soon after Buckingham Palace announced the death of the 96-year-old monarch, who died “peacefully” on Thursday afternoon at Balmoral.

He will now turn his mind to matters of state as he begins his first full day as the nation’s new monarch having spent much of his 73 years in preparation for the role.

Tributes have flooded in from around the globe, hailing the Queen’s unwavering commitment to serving her country and the Commonwealth.

King Charles III is mourning the death of his mother
King Charles III is mourning the death of his mother

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Queen Elizabeth II died on Thursday afternoon
Queen Elizabeth II died on Thursday afternoon

The King said in a written statement: “The death of my beloved Mother, Her Majesty The Queen, is a moment of the greatest sadness for me and all members of my family.

“We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished Sovereign and a much-loved Mother.

“I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world.

“During this period of mourning and change, my family and I will be comforted and sustained by our knowledge of the respect and deep affection in which The Queen was so widely held.”

Buckingham Palace made the official announcement at 6.30pm on Thursday with a brief 26-word statement saying: “The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon.

“The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow.”

The new King and Queen Consort will return to London on Friday, and the new monarch is expected to address the nation on television on Friday evening.

Gun salutes – one round for every year of the Queen’s life – will be fired in central London on Friday and the new monarch will hold his first audience with the Prime Minister.

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

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.

The King 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.

A service of prayer and reflection on Queen Elizabeth II's death will be held in St Paul’s Cathedral at 6pm on Friday.