King Charles to address nation after death of Queen

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King Charles III will address the UK on Friday as tributes were paid from around the world following the death of his mother Queen Elizabeth II at the age of 96.

The new King has arrived in London from Balmoral, the royal estate in Scotland, and is expected to hold an audience with Liz Truss, who became prime minister just three days ago.

Parliament gathered at noon for a 10-hour session for MPs to pay their respects to the Queen while bells tolled at St Paul’s Cathedral, Windsor Castle and Westminster Abbey.

Truss told MPs the Queen was “one of the greatest leaders the world has ever known” and she bequeathed “a modern, dynamic nation that has grown and flourished under her reign”.

With the UK beginning 10 days of national mourning, sports events this weekend were cancelled, including Premier League matches and Test cricket.

The next meeting of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee, which was due to take place next Thursday, was postponed and will now be held the following week.

Truss and other senior politicians will attend a remembrance service at St Paul’s at 6pm, the start of a 10-day period of national mourning that reflects the Queen’s central role in British life for seven decades, since the death of her father George VI in 1952.

The King’s formal accession to the throne and proclamation as monarch will take place on Saturday, when parliament will sit for senior MPs to swear an oath of allegiance.

The death of Elizabeth II — announced by Buckingham Palace on Thursday afternoon — has left her people in mourning but reflecting on a life of duty in which she bound the country together through momentous change.

Sir Keir Starmer, Britain’s leader of the opposition, said loss of the Queen “robs our country of its stillest point, its greatest comfort, at precisely a time when we need those things most”.

Crowds have gathered outside the Queen’s residences including Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, leaving flowers and tributes.

The new King said that his mother’s death was a moment of “the greatest sadness for me and all members of my family”. He said the family would be “comforted and sustained” by the respect and affection felt in Britain and across the Commonwealth towards the Queen, who celebrated the 70th anniversary of her reign this year.

The Queen’s death prompted tributes from the public and expressions of gratitude and condolences from leaders in Britain, around Europe and the Commonwealth, as well as corporate leaders and US presidents.

The Queen’s reign encompassed the decolonisation of much of the British empire in Africa and Asia, as well as the consolidation of the Commonwealth. It also saw the emergence of the modern monarchy, which became the subject of intense media scrutiny. The Queen’s personal popularity was an important factor in maintaining support for the monarchy in the UK in recent years.

She was known chiefly to her subjects by her presence at public events and televised Christmas messages, which often emphasised the values of duty and dialogue. She became the longest-serving monarch in British history in 2015, surpassing her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria.

Boris Johnson said the late Queen was “as radiant, knowledgeable and fascinated by politics” as he could remember during their final meeting on Tuesday, when she “saw off her 14th prime minister and welcomed her 15th”.

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