King Charles addresses Britons today

Following the passing of his mother Queen Elizabeth, who had been the longest-reigning monarch in British history, the country will be in mourning on Friday when Britain’s new King Charles delivers a speech.

Charles, who raced to be by the side of the queen at her Scottish home on Thursday, was due to travel back to London with his wife Camilla, now Queen Consort, before meeting the prime minister and making a televised statement.

Condolences have been expressed from all over the world in response to the queen’s passing after dominating the international stage for seven decades.

As the nation awoke to its first day without a woman once referred to by her grandson Harry as “the nation’s grandmother,” people started congregating once more outside Buckingham Palace to bury flowers and take pictures of the memorial’s growing size.

Billboards across the city displayed messages of condolence and newspapers ran front-page photo tributes to the queen.

At the remote Balmoral Castle in Scotland where she died on Thursday and where her family are gathered, people also arrived to pay their respects.

“She was more than just a British icon, she was a global icon,” said Toni Guffrey, a 55-year-old government employee from Tennessee, who was on holiday nearby. She and her daughters brought flowers to the castle gates.

“All Americans loved the queen. She will be remembered for a life of selfless public service and her dedication to this country.”

Elizabeth was head of state of the United Kingdom and 14 other realms including Australia, Canada, Jamaica, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.

Charles, who automatically succeeded her, said the death was a moment of great sadness for himself and his 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,” the 73-year-old said in a statement.

He is expected to meet Prime Minister Liz Truss on Friday before later addressing the country. There will also be gun salutes.

Regular business in parliament was scrapped and replaced with a special session for lawmakers to pay tribute to the queen, due to start at 1100 GMT.

Parliament will also convene on Saturday, something it rarely does, and will approve a formal message of condolence to the king.

News that the queen’s health was deteriorating emerged shortly after midday on Thursday when her doctors said in a statement that she was under medical supervision, prompting her family to rush to Scotland.

The queen had been suffering from what Buckingham Palace had called “episodic mobility problems” since the end of last year, forcing her to withdraw from nearly all her public engagements. Her husband of 73 years, Prince Philip, died in 2021.

Her last public duty came only on Tuesday, when she appointed Truss prime minister – the 15th of her reign.

“The death of Her Majesty the Queen is a huge shock to the nation and to the world,” Truss said outside her Downing Street office where the flag, like those at royal palaces and government buildings across Britain, were lowered.

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