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Charles III pledges 'lifelong service' as king

September 9, 2022

King Charles III has addressed the nation for the first time since the death of his mother Queen Elizabeth II.

King Charles on his new throne
In line with the Latin maxim "Rex nunquam moritur" — or "the king never dies" — Charles' accession was immediateImage: Alastair Grant/AP Pool/picture alliance
  • Passing of Queen Elizabeth II stuns UK
  • King Charles III arrives back at Buckingham Palace, greets the public
  • German Chancellor Olaf Scholz says queen's death 'moves and touches every one of us'
  • New Prime Minister Liz Truss visits Buckingham Palace for audience with Charles III
  • King addressed the nation in his first speech after taking reign, promising 'lifelong service'

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Rail and postal strike halted following queen's death

British railway and postal workers have decided to halt upcoming strikes after the death of Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday. 

The Communication Workers Union had announced the continuation of a two-day strike for Friday but canceled it "out of respect" for the queen, as their general secretary Dave Ward said in a statement. 

"The UK's trade union movement sends our condolences to the Royal Family on the death of the Queen, and recognises her many years of dedicated service to the country," the Trade Union Congress said after postponing their annual conference which would have begun on Sunday. 

Other unions have joined in by suspending planned walkouts for the duration of a week to the whole month of September. 

British railway and postal workers weren't the only ones to put a halt to scheduled events. 

The British Premier League called off all of its games until Monday following the death of the queen, while the Bank of England delayed a scheduled meeting to discuss interest rates by one week.

Joe Biden to attend Queen's funeral, orders flags on half-mast 

US President Joe Biden announced on Friday that he would attend Queen Elizabeth's funeral in London. 

The funeral normally takes place ten or eleven days after the death of the monarch, but there's no fixed appointment yet. According to Buckingham Palace, the funeral will take place at Westminster Abbey. 

Biden ordered flags at the White House and other government buildings to be lowered to half-mast in honor of the queen earlier on Friday until the funeral will be held. 

"Queen Elizabeth II was a stateswoman of unmatched dignity and constancy who deepened the bedrock alliance between the United Kingdom and the United States. She helped make our relationship special," he said.

US presidents travel notoriously rarely by the standards of most world leaders.

King Charles III — 'that promise of lifelong service I renew to you all today'

King Charles III has addressed the public at a service at St Paul's Cathedral, his first speech since becoming king. 

He called Elizabeth "an inspiration, an example to me and to all my family. And we owe her the most heartfelt debt any family could owe to their mother, for her love, affection, guidance, understanding and example."

"Queen Elizabeth's was a life well lived. A promise with destiny kept. And she is mourned most deeply in her passing. That promise of lifelong service I renew to you all today," he said, referring to one of his mother's most famous speeches. 

"Alongside the personal grief that all my family are feeling, we also share with so many of you, in the United Kingdom, in all the countries where the queen was head of state, in the Commonwealth, and across the world, a deep sense of gratitude for the more than 70 years in which my mother, as queen, served the people of so many nations," Charles said. 

The king also highlighted his mother's "fearless embrace of progress" while abiding by tradition. "When she came to the throne, Britain and the world were still coping with the privations and aftermath of WWII and led by conventions of earlier times," Charles went on to say. Yet, in her lifetime, Britain had become a country of "many cultures and many faiths", with institutions changing in turn. 

About the new Queen Consort, Camilla, he said: "She will bring steadfast devotion to duty on which I have come to rely so much." 

His eldest son William, who is now heir to the throne, will inherit Charles's former Scottish titles and be pronounced as Prince of Wales. Charles went on to say that the new princess and prince of wales "will continue to inspire and lead national conversations, helping to bring the marginalized to the center grounds." The king also expressed love for Harry and Meghan. 

"The most sincere and heartfelt thanks for your condolences and support. They mean more to me than I can ever possibly express," the new sovereign said. 

By the end of the speech, the king addressed his mother directly, thanking her for her "love and devotion to our family and our family of nations you have served so diligently all these years. Charles ended his speech with a moving quote from the last scene of Shakespeare's Hamlet: "May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest."

King Charles III holds audience with Prime Minister Liz Truss

Charles III has welcomed the new British Prime Minister Liz Truss — who was appointed by his mother Queen Elizabeth II three days ago before her tragic death in Balmoral on Thursday —  to a private audience at Buckingham Palace. 

The audience signifies an important constitutional meeting between the UK's head of state and its political leader. The private meetings will be held once a week, with some exceptions, from now on and have been a tradition between the head of state and PM. 

It is expected that the new PM will express her condolences to the king as well as discussing any matters of state. 

Both the king and the new prime minister took their respective offices at a time of heightened concern about the energy crisis, the soaring cost of living, the consequences of Brexit as well as Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

King and queen consort arrive at Buckingham Palace

Onlookers and mourners gathered outside Buckingham Palace crowded at the gates to greet King Charles III and his wife, Queen Consort Camilla.

Thousands greeted their arrival with cheers, as the royal convoy arrived, accompanied by cheers of "God save the king."

Charles exited the car to shake hands with members of the public who came to greet him and share their condolences. Some offered the the king flowers, and offered their sympathies.

The king then quietly walked in front of the gates of Buckingham Palace, accompanied by Camilla. The two inspected flowers and notes laid by well-wishers.

The 73-year-old monarch is expected to meet with Prime Minister Liz Truss and deliver a speech to the nation later in the evening.

King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla
King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla took in the sea of flowers and tributes laid outside Buckingham PalaceImage: Daniel Lea/AFP

King Charles III returns to London

King Charles III and his wife Camilla, now known as Queen Consort, have landed at an airbase near London.

The two left Balmoral Castle in Scotland, where members of the royal family gathered following the death of the queen.

Footage showed Charles and Camilla wearing black and getting in an official royal car. They are now headed to Buckingham Palace.

The king is taking the throne at a time of upheaval — when many in the UK are worried about the energy crisis, dealing with the soaring cost of living and the consequences of Brexit, as well as Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Gun salute echoes across UK and commonwealth countries

A special gun salute took place in honor of Queen Elizabeth II. Troops fired cannons 96 times — one shot for every year of the queen's life.

Earlier on Friday, bells tolled across Britain as the nation started its 10-days of mourning.

The gun salute was set up in several areas of the UK — including at the Tower of London, Edinburgh, York, Stonehenge, Cardiff, and on board Royal Navy ships — as well as in British commonwealth countries. 

British PM Liz Truss leads memorial session in Parliament

Prime Minister Liz Truss, who was appointed to the role just days ago, is heading a special session in Parliament to honor Queen Elizabeth II.

"Her devotion to duty remains an example to us all," Truss told lawmakers. The queen's death has caused a "heartfelt outpouring of grief" around the world.

The prime minister said the UK's new monarch, King Charles III, has a clear sense of duty and service. Truss urged lawmakers to support the monarch, ending her remarks with the words: "God save the King."

Kier Starmer, the head of the opposition Labour Party, said that the queen's loss is being felt profoundly not just due to her 70 years on the throne, but "because in spirit, she stood among us."

Queen was 'the greatest ambassador for her country' — European Parliament VP

Katharina Barley, Vice President of the European Parliament and a German-British citizen, said Queen Elizabeth II absence is being felt across Europe.

"I always felt that she was a dedicated diplomat, but someone with a strong link to Europe, to the continent, but to the European Union also," Barley said in an interview with DW.

The European lawmaker said the late queen "was always the greatest ambassador for her country." She noted Elizabeth's role in helping repair British and German relations after World War II, and noted that "it was always a moment of joy and honor for us" when the queen traveled to Germany on state visits.

"She was such an example in so many ways — in discipline, in how she carried out her duties. She was a guarantee for stability. And stability is something we desperately need especially in these days," Barley told DW.

Looking ahead to Elizabeth's eldest son and successor, King Charles III, Barley said it will be important for him to bring people together across the UK's divided society.

It is important for him to " be the bridge between all these different people in his home country. That will be the big question, because that is the function of monarchy in modern days," the European Parliament vice president said.

Germany's Scholz: World lost a 'figure of a century'

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz made a short televised statement on the death of Queen Elizabeth II, offering Berlin's condolences.

"Great Britain lost its queen — the world lost the figure of a century," Scholz said in the German capital, saying that she "devoted her life to the service" of her country.

Her death "moves and touches every one of us," the chancellor said. The flower tributes piled up outside Buckingham Palace and outside the British Embassy in Berlin also show "the place Queen Elizabeth had in everyone's hearts, here in Germany as well."

"The queen embodied the best of our common European legacy, democracy and the rule of law," Scholz said.

He said the German government wishes her successor, King Charles III, all the best in his new role and "strength" in the time to come.

'Royal mourning' to last until 7 days after queen's funeral

In a statement issued by Buckingham Palace, King Charles III expressed his "wish" for a period of mourning to be observed from Friday until seven days after Queen Elizabeth II's funeral.

"The date of the funeral will be confirmed in due course," the statement read.

Flags at royal residences were lowered to half-mast following the queen's death and will remain that way until the end of the mourning period, while royal residences will remain closed.

The statement also issued guidance to members of the public seeking to leave flower tributes at royal properties, including Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and Balmoral Castle.

What is taking place today?

One day after the death of Queen Elizabeth II, who died on Thursday at the age of 96, a state of mourning has officially begun across the United Kingdom.

Several official, and impromptu, memorial events are being held in honor of the late queen on Friday.

King Charles III and his wife Camilla, now known as the Queen Consort, will return to London — traveling from back from Balmoral Castle in Scotland, where the queen passed away.

Charles will meet with Prime Minister Liz Truss at Buckingham Palace, as well as hold several meetings organizing the queen's funeral.

Lawmakers will gather for a special session at the Houses of Parliament at noon, which is set to last for 10 hours. Truss will lead the session, as well as attend a service in memory of the queen at St. Paul's Cathedral.

Bells will ring-out at in the afternoon, followed by a gun salute in London's Hyde Park and other locations. There are 96 gun salutes planned, one for each year of the queen's life.

In the evening, Charles will deliver his first televised address as king, speaking to the grieving nation.

What is set to change after queen's death?

Many aspects of life in Britain are set to change with the accession of Charles to the throne, starting with changes to the names of institutions across Britain and the Commonwealth.

The new king will replace the queen's effigy on currency and cypher on insignia. He will appear on coins and banknotes in Britain and around the world, including the obverse of coins of the East Caribbean dollar, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Britain's national anthem will also now change, shifting to the male-version lyrics of "God Save the King", which is also a national anthem in New Zealand and the royal anthem in Australia and Canada.

British passports will have to be updated with a change in the wording on the inside cover, similar text used in Australian, Canadian and New Zealand passports will also have to change.

The Queen's English is set to become the King's English, while the iconic Queen's Guard also changes its name and the police no longer preserves the queen's peace.

A large number of other changes, including senior lawyers changing from being a QC (Queen's Counsel) to a KC, the Queen's Bench Division of the High Court becoming the king's bench, Her Majesty's Theatre in London's West End becoming His Majesty's, will also be implemented.

UK and world mourn passing of Queen Elizabeth II

The death of Queen Elizabeth II sparked a wave of condolences from all over the world. Elizabeth passed away peacefully on Thursday at the age of 96 at her Balmoral residence in Scotland, Buckingham Palace announced.

Following the queen's death, her eldest son replaced her as monarch, taking the title King Charles III.

Serving on the throne for 70 years, she was the country's longest-ruling monarch and was remembered fondly by current and former world leaders who met with the late queen.

US President Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden went to the British Embassy to pay their respects, describing Elizabeth as a "stateswoman of unmatched dignity."

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz praised the queen's role in helping repair ties between the UK and Germany following World War II, saying she was "an example and inspiration to millions."

los, rs, see/msh (Reuters, AP, AFP)