King Charles leaves Balmoral as he prepares to speak to nation after Queen Elizabeth II's death

King Charles III has left Balmoral Castle as the new monarch is set to speak to the nation later on Friday

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The King has left the royal residence in the Scottish Highlands as he makes his way to London on arguably the biggest day of his life.

He was pictured in the back of a car, with the Queen Consort in the front passenger seat, as they were driven in convoy over the River Dee towards Ballater.

The couple will fly to RAF Northolt from Aberdeen International Airport before they are expected to make their way to Buckingham Palace this afternoon.

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.

And His Majesty is set to address the nation in a televised speech later on Friday.

King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla
King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla
King Charles III
King Charles III

He will be formally proclaimed monarch at a historic Accession Council this weekend.

The King 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 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.”

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