Queen Elizabeth II Dies: Charles III Expresses ‘Profound Sorrow’ Over Queen’s Death in First Speech as King (Published 2022) (2024)

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Mark Landler

Charles, in his first speech as king, pledges a reign of service to Britain.

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Queen Elizabeth II Dies: Charles III Expresses ‘Profound Sorrow’ Over Queen’s Death in First Speech as King (Published 2022) (2)

LONDON — Swiftly taking on the mantle of Britain’s monarch, King Charles III returned to London from Scotland on Friday, a day after the death of Queen Elizabeth II, to pledge that he would serve the British people “with loyalty, respect and love, as I have throughout my life.”

The king’s speech capped a day of mourning across Britain, but it was also a vivid demonstration of continuity in this constitutional monarchy. He met with the new prime minister, Liz Truss, just four days after the queen anointed her at Balmoral Castle, in the last official act of her seven-decade reign.

“Queen Elizabeth was a life well lived, a promise with destiny kept,” Charles said in a televised address that was at once dignified and deeply emotional, a son’s grieving eulogy for his mother and a sovereign’s solemn oath of duty.

Recalling Elizabeth’s vow, on her 21st birthday, to serve her people for the remainder of her life, “whether it be long or short,” the 73-year-old king declared, “I, too, now solemnly pledge myself, throughout the remaining time God grants me, to uphold the constitutional principles at the heart of our nation.”

As king, Charles will no longer be able to throw himself into the charity work or the policy issues, like climate change, that occupied him during his long wait for the throne. Instead, he will shoulder his mother’s unique burden: imperial symbol of the United Kingdom, but a largely ceremonial figure, strictly removed from politics.

Charles’s ascent also marks a new chapter in the relationship between Britain’s head of state and its head of government — one that, under the queen, stretched back to Winston Churchill, her first prime minister. And it augured a new royal style, led by a king who has signaled he wants to reshape his family’s role in British life.

A glimmer of that new approach surfaced on Friday afternoon when Charles and his wife, Queen Camilla, arrived at Buckingham Palace. The king jumped out of his vintage Rolls-Royce to engage in some distinctly democratic glad-handing, more typical of a politician on the campaign trail than a member of royalty.

To cries of “God save the king,” Charles shook hands, clasped elbows, and even accepted a peck on the cheek from the iPhone wielding well-wishers lined up outside the palace. Then he and Camilla lingered to look at the flowers and cards laid at the wrought-iron fence, before turning to walk into their new home.

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Once inside, the king recorded his nine-and-a-half minute address in the blue drawing room, a photo of the queen on the desk beside him. He made some news, bestowing his old title, Prince of Wales, on his eldest son and heir, William.

The king’s words were piped into St. Paul’s Cathedral, echoing under its cavernous dome where Britain’s political establishment gathered for a service of thanksgiving for the queen, who died on Thursday at Balmoral, her summer retreat, at the age of 96.

The rituals were the start of 10 days of ceremony that will strike some as charming and others as hopelessly out of date. Next up is an Accession Council, convened on Saturday to formally designate Charles as the king, followed by a proclamation, to be read from the balcony of the Friary Court by the Garter King of Arms. The mourning rituals will culminate with a state funeral in Westminster Abbey, the first since Churchill’s in 1965.

In London and other parts of the realm, it was a day replete with tributes to the queen. Bells pealed at St. Paul’s, Westminster Abbey, and Windsor Castle. Artillery guns roared in Hyde Park, the Tower of London, on the island of Jersey, and in the shadow of the Rock of Gibraltar. In the House of Commons, the members stood in a minute’s silence, a rare stillness blanketing their often-raucous chamber.

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Opening the tributes in Parliament, Ms. Truss hailed the queen as “the nation’s greatest diplomat.” She recalled watching Elizabeth charm a meeting of global business executives last year. “She was always so proud of Britain and always embodied the spirit of our great country,” Ms. Truss said.

The prime minister heralded the dawn of a new Carolean age, a phrase previously used to refer to the reign of Charles II from 1660 to 1685. Praising Charles III’s commitment to issues like environmental protection, she said, “We owe him our loyalty and devotion.”

Her recently deposed predecessor, Boris Johnson, noted wryly that the queen “saw off her 14th prime minister,” after he submitted his resignation to her at Balmoral on Tuesday. “She was as radiant and knowledgeable and fascinated about politics as ever I remember,” Mr. Johnson said of their leave-taking.

Mr. Johnson, now speaking from the backbench, recalled that at the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics, the leader of a Middle Eastern country asked if the queen really had jumped out of a helicopter, wearing a pink dress, and parachuted into the stadium — a memorable live stunt that cemented her status as a pop-cultural phenomenon.

Later in the afternoon, Ms. Truss traveled to Buckingham Palace for her first face-to-face meeting with the king. Neither the palace nor Downing Street disclosed details of the session, though it was not hard to imagine they discussed the energy crisis and soaring inflation that is gripping the country — Ms. Truss’s most daunting challenges as she takes up the job.

If history is any guide, the relationship between the new king and Ms. Truss will remain opaque. The queen never discussed the advice she gave her prime ministers, and the prime ministers have been uniformly tight-lipped about what goes on during their weekly audiences at Buckingham Palace.

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Charles, however, has never been shy about voicing his views on climate change, organic farming, architecture, or other favorite issues. When candidates for the Conservative Party leadership began raising doubts in July about Britain’s ambitious target to reach “net zero” in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, Charles got involved in the debate, seizing on the record-setting temperatures set during a heat wave.

“Those commitments around net zero have never been more vitally important as we all swelter under today’s alarming record temperatures across Britain and Europe,” he said in a statement.

Given the obligation of the monarch to stay out of politics, Charles will now have to keep those opinions to himself. But that does not mean he cannot seek to influence policies in his private discussions with Ms. Truss, said Vernon Bogdanor, a professor of government at King’s College London.

“He’s got a lot more experience than this prime minister because he’s mixed with senior politicians for decades,” Professor Bogdanor said. “That’s the reverse of the position the young queen was in with Winston Churchill.”

Harold Hongju Koh, an American legal scholar who has taught at Oxford University, said the monarchy acts as a kind of “balance wheel” for the government, stabilizing the ship of state if its political leaders tip it too far in one direction.

“The Charles-Truss dynamic will inevitably unfold very differently from that of Elizabeth-Boris,” said Professor Koh, who teaches at Yale Law School. “The balance between the partners will inevitably get struck in a different place.”

For the king, the transition has also reinforced his partnership with his wife, Camilla, who made her public debut on Friday as the queen consort. It is a title her mother-in-law wished her to have. In marking her 70 years on the throne last February, the queen anticipated this moment of transition. She appealed in a personal statement for Britons to open their hearts to Camilla, as well as to Charles.

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“When, in the fullness of time, my son Charles becomes King, I know you will give him and his wife Camilla the same support that you have given me,” the queen wrote. “It is my sincere wish that, when that time comes, Camilla will be known as Queen Consort as she continues her own loyal service.”

That settled a longstanding, delicate question about how the former Camilla Parker-Bowles would be known when Charles acceded to the throne. The two were romantically involved before and during Charles’s marriage to Diana, Princess of Wales. He and Diana later divorced, and Charles married Camilla. He then pursued a subtle but persistent campaign to recognize her as queen consort once he was king.

In his speech, Charles said, “I count on the loving help of my darling wife, Camilla.” But he saved his final words for his mother. Quoting from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the king said, “May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.”

Sept. 9, 2022, 9:30 p.m. ET

Sept. 9, 2022, 9:30 p.m. ET

Jane Arraf

Through a lens of nostalgia, some Iraqis mourn Queen Elizabeth.

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BAGHDAD — Many Iraqis expressed sorrow on Friday at the death of Queen Elizabeth II, whose reign overlapped with the Iraqi monarchy early in their country’s history. Some could even say they lived through that history.

“Most Iraqis, especially true Iraqis, love the monarchy,” said Haj Mohammed al-Khashuly, who was born in 1932, the year Iraq achieved independence from the British.

Mr. Khashuly, 90, an owner of the century-old Shabandar Café, sat on a crowded bench near walls crowded with photos of Iraqi history, including King Faisal II, the last Iraqi king, who was killed in the 1958 revolution.

“We did not witness any harm from the British,” said Mr. Khashuly. In silent contrast, nearby hung photos of his three sons and a grandson, all killed in a 2007 car bombing on al-Mutanabbi Street in the eruption of violence after the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

Ruled for centuries by Ottoman Turkey, the provinces that became present-day Iraq were seized during World War I by Britain, which installed an Iraqi monarchy that was later toppled in a bloody coup.

“There is a nostalgia for the monarchy,” said Maysoon al-Demluji, a former Iraqi culture deputy minister. “Many people think Iraq lived its best times then.”

For most Iraqis, Queen Elizabeth was inextricably linked with the British legacy in Iraq.

“The world is a sadder place without her,” said Tamara Daghistani, 76, an Iraqi-British resident of Jordan who maintains photographic archives of Iraq under the monarchy.

On the internet, images abound of a young Queen Elizabeth with an even younger King Faisal II.

“The monarchy helped rebuild Iraq — the railways, the schools, the dams, the port. We can’t deny that,” said Ms. Daghistani.

Other Iraqis had a harsher view.

“She helped ally the war against Iraq,” said Hussein Ali, 30, a shop owner speaking of the U.S. invasion. “God will judge her.”

In a small one-room museum off al-Mutanabi street, Hadi Jawad al-Ta’ie showed photos and newspaper clippings from the 1950s, including the nationalist revolution.

Mr. al-Ta’ie, 84 and a historian, said that as a young student in 1958, he helped tear down a statue of Gen. Frederick Stanley Maude, the British general who conquered Baghdad in 1917.

“Queen Elizabeth performed her duty to her people and her nation,” he said. But “Iraq was a milk cow” to the British, taking Iraqi wealth, he said.

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Sept. 9, 2022, 8:30 p.m. ET

Sept. 9, 2022, 8:30 p.m. ET

Daniel Victor and Abdi Latif Dahir

What is the Commonwealth?

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In addition to her duties as the head of the British monarchy, Queen Elizabeth II also served as the head of the Commonwealth, a separate entity with member countries across the globe.

To some, it may not be familiar. Here are the basics.

What is the Commonwealth?

The Commonwealth is a voluntary collection of 56 member countries born out of the dissolution of the British Empire. Most are former British colonies, though any country can apply to be included. Rwanda and Mozambique, for instance, have no colonial link to Britain but joined the Commonwealth within the last few decades.

The countries are spread across five continents, representing about 2.5 billion people, according to the Commonwealth’s official website. The Commonwealth has no legal control over the participating countries, but is intended to promote values like democracy, peace and human rights. Many countries join the Commonwealth, experts say, not necessarily to gain financial aid but for leverage, to boost their standing in the world. This is especially true of countries like Rwanda and Togo, whose leaders have been criticized for clamping down on dissent and press freedom.

What is its purpose?

It gathers leaders from the countries in a summit every two years, filling their schedules with closed-door meetings, panel discussions and formal dinners. In June, King Charles III — known then, before the queen’s death, as Prince Charles — spoke at its opening in Kigali, Rwanda. The next meeting will be held in Samoa in 2024.

But applying its principles in practice has proved elusive. That is partly because the various nations, linked by their past connections to the British monarchy, have different economies, politics and ruling philosophies, and may have conflicting perspectives on the legacy of British rule.

The Commonwealth has struggled to confront the British history of colonialism, with some countries pushing to sever relations with the monarchy or insisting on apologies or reparations. Internal conflicts among member countries do not allow for much cohesion.

“The Commonwealth meetings have either been letdowns or disasters,” Philip Murphy, the author of “The Empire’s New Clothes: The Myth of the Commonwealth,” said in June.

What happens now?

In 2018, the group’s leaders approved King Charles III to succeed Queen Elizabeth II as the head of the Commonwealth.

During his speech at the summit’s opening in June, he acknowledged what he said were the “painful” roots of the Commonwealth.

“If we are to forge a common future that benefits all our citizens, we too must find new ways to acknowledge our past,” he said. “Quite simply, this is a conversation whose time has come.”

Queen Elizabeth II Dies: Charles III Expresses ‘Profound Sorrow’ Over Queen’s Death in First Speech as King (Published 2022) (6)

Sept. 9, 2022, 7:30 p.m. ET

Sept. 9, 2022, 7:30 p.m. ET

The New York Times

In pictures: The queen’s overseas travels.

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Sept. 9, 2022, 6:27 p.m. ET

Sept. 9, 2022, 6:27 p.m. ET

Ben Shpigel

President Biden plans to attend the queen’s funeral.

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President Biden, who last year said that Queen Elizabeth II reminded him of his mother, said on Friday that he would be among the many global leaders attending her funeral.

“I don’t know what the details are yet,” Mr. Biden said after a speech in Ohio, “but I’ll be going.”

White House officials had not officially confirmed the president’s travel plans.

Across his decades in public service, both in the executive office and on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Mr. Biden has attended several funerals of world leaders. Among them: Pope John Paul II, in 2005; Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, in 2011; and Ariel Sharon, the former prime minister of Israel, in 2014, when he delivered a eulogy.

Mr. Biden said in a statement Thursday that he first met the queen in 1982, during a trip to Britain as a young senator. He last spent time with her in June 2021, when he visited Cornwall, England, for a meeting of the leaders of the Group of 7 industrialized nations.

After having tea with her at Windsor Castle, Mr. Biden said the queen’s appearance and generosity evoked memories of his mother, Catherine Finnegan, who died in 2010, adding that he didn’t think the queen “would be insulted” by the comparison.

The last time a British monarch died — King George VI, in 1952 — President Harry S. Truman did not attend his funeral. Instead, he sent his secretary of state, Dean Acheson.

Queen Elizabeth II Dies: Charles III Expresses ‘Profound Sorrow’ Over Queen’s Death in First Speech as King (Published 2022) (18)

Sept. 9, 2022, 6:10 p.m. ET

Sept. 9, 2022, 6:10 p.m. ET

Saskia Solomon

Reporting from London

Fortnum & Mason, the famous food department store in Piccadilly has covered its window display “until further notice” as “a mark of our respect. Next door, Hatchard’s, London’s oldest bookstore, is closed. “We are proud to have held our Royal Warrant throughout her glorious reign and look forward to serving HM King Charles III,” a sign outside reads.

Sept. 9, 2022, 5:06 p.m. ET

Sept. 9, 2022, 5:06 p.m. ET

Ben Shpigel

William and Catherine are now Prince and Princess of Wales.

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The titles King Charles III granted Friday upon his oldest son, William, and William’s wife, Catherine, bridged two distinct eras of the royal family.

Known as the Prince and Princess of Wales, William and Catherine will assume the same titles as King Charles III and his first wife, Diana, a formal acknowledgment of the legacy of the woman known as the “people’s princess.” Soon after they received their new titles, a palace official said the couple “are focused on deepening the trust and respect of the people of Wales over time.”

The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity in following royal protocol, added that the prince and princess will approach their roles “in the modest and humble way they’ve approached their work previously.” Catherine in particular “appreciates the history associated with this role but will understandably want to look to the future as she creates her own path.”

A global phenomenon in the tabloid era, Diana was described by Roslyn Sulcas in The Times in 2020 as “a protean figure, both accessible and an enigma.” Her death — in a car crash in Paris on Aug. 31, 1997, a year after her divorce from Prince Charles — sent Britain into spiraling grief but the royal family into a cold remove.

Queen Elizabeth II had a fraught relationship with Diana. She initially refused to permit the Union Jack to fly at half-staff over Buckingham Palace when Diana died, then reversed course. She insisted that her responsibility was to privately comfort Diana’s sons, William, then 15, and Harry, then 12.

Both Diana and Charles admitted to having extramarital affairs, and Charles went on to marry his longtime love, Camilla Parker Bowles, after Diana’s death.

“After Diana, the royal family came to accept that modern marriages must be based on compatibility, understanding and love,” wrote Jenni Russell, a columnist for The Times of London, in an editorial published by The Times in 2017, “Charles has his Camilla; they are evidently happy. The next generation has been set free.”

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Sept. 9, 2022, 4:10 p.m. ET

Sept. 9, 2022, 4:10 p.m. ET

Isabella Simonetti

Why King Charles’s profile may face left on British coins, and why it matters.

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There are 29 billion British coins in circulation with Queen Elizabeth II’s face on them. Since she first appeared on the coins, a year after her ascension in 1952, the Royal Mint has used five different portraits. And on all of them, she faces to the right.

Now it’s King Charles III’s turn to be on the coins, but he’ll most likely be facing the other direction.

Since the reign of Charles II in the 17th century, the monarch has typically faced the opposite position of their predecessor on coins, according to the Royal Family’s website. Because Queen Elizabeth faced to the right, the new king will presumably be shown facing left.

There was one exception: Edward VIII, who was king for less than one year in 1936, faced to the left because that is what he preferred, even though the monarch before him, George V, also looked left. The tradition was resumed with George VI, who faced left. He served until he died in 1952.

“It may have a practical use in the fact that it obviously marks a difference from the previous reign,” said Nigel Fletcher, a teaching fellow at King’s College London. Mr. Fletcher said that after new images of King Charles were created, molds and casts would be produced to make the currency.

Bills are a different matter. In 1960, Queen Elizabeth became the first monarch to appear on bank notes, meaning there is no convention for the direction the monarch faces on bills. There are more than 4.7 billion Bank of England currency notes in circulation.

With the nation in mourning, it’s not clear when any changes will be made.

The process of rolling out the new currency will not “happen overnight,” said Ethan Ilzetzki, an associate professor at the London School of Economics.

Andrew Bailey, the governor of the Bank of England, said in a statement Thursday that an announcement would not be made until the period of mourning was over.

The Royal Mint, the arm responsible for coin production in Britain, said in a statement that “further information will follow” but did not specify a timeline. “As we respect this period of respectful mourning, we continue to strike coins as usual,” the Royal Mint said.

The looming currency turnover in British money coincides with the ongoing replacement of paper notes with polymer, a cleaner material that offers enhanced protection against fraud. The change to polymer began in 2016, and after Sept. 30, people will not be able to use paper 20 and 50 pound notes to pay for things but will be able to exchange them at some banks or the Bank of England.

Queen Elizabeth II Dies: Charles III Expresses ‘Profound Sorrow’ Over Queen’s Death in First Speech as King (Published 2022) (21)

Sept. 9, 2022, 4:01 p.m. ET

Sept. 9, 2022, 4:01 p.m. ET

Saskia Solomon

Reporting from London

Perched on a railing in front of the palace was Callum Taylor, a 27-year-old actor who had traveled to London from the northwestern town of Preston. Mr Taylor said he chose to bring yellow roses because he’d heard that it was one of her favorite colors. “I don’t know how true that is, but I thought it was a nice gesture.”

Queen Elizabeth II Dies: Charles III Expresses ‘Profound Sorrow’ Over Queen’s Death in First Speech as King (Published 2022) (22)

Sept. 9, 2022, 2:46 p.m. ET

Sept. 9, 2022, 2:46 p.m. ET

The New York Times

Here is the transcript of King Charles III’s inaugural address.

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King Charles III delivered his first address as sovereign Friday, after the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II. The following is a transcript of his remarks, as released by the palace.

I speak to you today with feelings of profound sorrow.

Throughout her life, Her Majesty The Queen — my beloved Mother — was an inspiration and example to me and to all my family, and we owe her the most heartfelt debt any family can 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. 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 seventy years in which my mother, as queen, served the people of so many nations.

In 1947, on her 21st birthday, she pledged in a broadcast from Cape Town to the Commonwealth to devote her life, whether it be short or long, to the service of her peoples. That was more than a promise: it was a profound personal commitment which defined her whole life.

She made sacrifices for duty. Her dedication and devotion as Sovereign never wavered, through times of change and progress, through times of joy and celebration, and through times of sadness and loss. In her life of service we saw that abiding love of tradition, together with that fearless embrace of progress, which make us great as Nations. The affection, admiration and respect she inspired became the hallmark of her reign. And, as every member of my family can testify, she combined these qualities with warmth, humor and an unerring ability always to see the best in people.

I pay tribute to my Mother’s memory and I honor her life of service. I know that her death brings great sadness to so many of you, and I share that sense of loss, beyond measure, with you all.

When the queen came to the throne, Britain and the world were still coping with the privations and aftermath of the Second World War, and still living by the conventions of earlier times. In the course of the last seventy years we have seen our society become one of many cultures and many faiths. The institutions of the State have changed in turn. But, through all changes and challenges, our nation and the wider family of Realms — of whose talents, traditions and achievements I am so inexpressibly proud — have prospered and flourished. Our values have remained, and must remain, constant.

The role and the duties of Monarchy also remain, as does the Sovereign’s particular relationship and responsibility toward the Church of England — the Church in which my own faith is so deeply rooted. In that faith, and the values it inspires, I have been brought up to cherish a sense of duty to others, and to hold in the greatest respect the precious traditions, freedoms and responsibilities of our unique history and our system of parliamentary government.

As the queen herself did with such unswerving devotion, I too now solemnly pledge myself, throughout the remaining time God grants me, to uphold the Constitutional principles at the heart of our nation. And wherever you may live in the United Kingdom, or in the Realms and territories across the world, and whatever may be your background or beliefs, I shall endeavor to serve you with loyalty, respect and love, as I have throughout my life.

My life will, of course, change as I take up my new responsibilities. It will no longer be possible for me to give so much of my time and energies to the charities and issues for which I care so deeply. But I know this important work will go on in the trusted hands of others.

This is also a time of change for my family. I count on the loving help of my darling wife, Camilla. In recognition of her own loyal public service since our marriage seventeen years ago, she becomes my queen consort. I know she will bring to the demands of her new role the steadfast devotion to duty on which I have come to rely so much.

As my Heir, William now assumes the Scottish titles which have meant so much to me. He succeeds me as Duke of Cornwall and takes on the responsibilities for the Duchy of Cornwall which I have undertaken for more than five decades. Today, I am proud to create him Prince of Wales, Tywysog Cymru, the country whose title I have been so greatly privileged to bear during so much of my life and duty. With Catherine beside him, our new Prince and Princess of Wales will, I know, continue to inspire and lead our national conversations, helping to bring the marginal to the center ground where vital help can be given.

I want also to express my love for Harry and Meghan as they continue to build their lives overseas. In a little over a week’s time we will come together as a nation, as a Commonwealth and indeed a global community, to lay my beloved mother to rest. In our sorrow, let us remember and draw strength from the light of her example.

On behalf of all my family, I can only offer the most sincere and heartfelt thanks for your condolences and support. They mean more to me than I can ever possibly express.

And to my darling Mama, as you begin your last great journey to join my dear late Papa, I want simply to say this: Thank you. Thank you for your love and devotion to our family and to the family of nations you have served so diligently all these years.

May “flights of Angels sing thee to thy rest.”

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Queen Elizabeth II Dies: Charles III Expresses ‘Profound Sorrow’ Over Queen’s Death in First Speech as King (Published 2022) (23)

Sept. 9, 2022, 1:47 p.m. ET

Sept. 9, 2022, 1:47 p.m. ET

Megan Specia

Reporting from London

Shortly after William and his wife, Catherine, were given their new titles of prince and princess of Wales, a palace official said the couple “are focused on deepening the trust and respect of the people of Wales over time.”

Queen Elizabeth II Dies: Charles III Expresses ‘Profound Sorrow’ Over Queen’s Death in First Speech as King (Published 2022) (24)

Sept. 9, 2022, 1:38 p.m. ET

Sept. 9, 2022, 1:38 p.m. ET

Michael D. Shear

Reporting from Washington

President Biden said on Friday that he will be attending Queen Elizabeth’s funeral. Asked by reporters after a speech in Ohio, Mr. Biden said: “Yes. I don’t know what the details are yet but I’ll be going.” White House officials had not officially confirmed the president’s travel plans.

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Queen Elizabeth II Dies: Charles III Expresses ‘Profound Sorrow’ Over Queen’s Death in First Speech as King (Published 2022) (25)

Sept. 9, 2022, 1:14 p.m. ET

Sept. 9, 2022, 1:14 p.m. ET

Megan Specia

Reporting from London

While much of the speech focused on Queen Elizabeth’s formal role, Charles ended with a more personal message directed “to my darling mama.” He said: “I want simply to say this: Thank you. Thank you for your love, and devotion to our family and to the family of nations you have served so diligently all these years. May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.”

Queen Elizabeth II Dies: Charles III Expresses ‘Profound Sorrow’ Over Queen’s Death in First Speech as King (Published 2022) (26)

Sept. 9, 2022, 1:11 p.m. ET

Sept. 9, 2022, 1:11 p.m. ET

Megan Specia

Reporting from London

King Charles III bestowed the title of Prince of Wales on his son and heir, William, and William's wife, Kate, becomes the Princess of Wales. He also wished his son Harry and Harry's wife, Meghan, the best “as they continue to build their lives overseas.”

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Queen Elizabeth II Dies: Charles III Expresses ‘Profound Sorrow’ Over Queen’s Death in First Speech as King (Published 2022) (27)

Sept. 9, 2022, 1:10 p.m. ET

Sept. 9, 2022, 1:10 p.m. ET

Traci Carl

For part of the speech, the camera angle widened to show a portrait of the queen, sitting on the desk next to the new king, showing that even in death, she is still a presence.

Queen Elizabeth II Dies: Charles III Expresses ‘Profound Sorrow’ Over Queen’s Death in First Speech as King (Published 2022) (28)

Sept. 9, 2022, 1:04 p.m. ET

Sept. 9, 2022, 1:04 p.m. ET

Megan Specia

Reporting from London

Reflecting on the commitment of service to the nation that Queen Elizabeth II made when she ascended the throne, King Charles III said, “That promise of lifelong service, I renew to you all today.”

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Queen Elizabeth II Dies: Charles III Expresses ‘Profound Sorrow’ Over Queen’s Death in First Speech as King (Published 2022) (29)

Sept. 9, 2022, 1:08 p.m. ET

Sept. 9, 2022, 1:08 p.m. ET

Megan Specia

Reporting from London

Charles has echoed many of his mother's sentiments, speaking of her legacy but also of his own commitment to carry it on. “Our values have remained and must remain constant,” he said.

Queen Elizabeth II Dies: Charles III Expresses ‘Profound Sorrow’ Over Queen’s Death in First Speech as King (Published 2022) (30)

Sept. 9, 2022, 1:02 p.m. ET

Sept. 9, 2022, 1:02 p.m. ET

Megan Specia

Reporting from London

King Charles III in his first address to the nation in a pre-recorded speech after the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, said he addressed the nation “feeling profound sorrow.” Speaking of his mother, he said, “We owe her the most heartfelt debt any family could owe to her mother for her love affection, guidance, understanding and example.”

Sept. 9, 2022, 12:53 p.m. ET

Sept. 9, 2022, 12:53 p.m. ET

Stephen Castle

Balmoral, a cherished royal getaway in Scotland, becomes a place of pilgrimage.

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BALMORAL CASTLE, Scotland — By 7:30 on Wednesday morning, the flowers already lined the walls outside Balmoral Castle, the beautiful and remote Scottish country estate much loved by Queen Elizabeth II, and where her life and seven-decade reign ended on Thursday.

A candle flickered, too — fighting a losing battle against the relentless rain — as Erin Harkness added her bouquet. She reflected on the sense of loss that persuaded her to get into her car at 1 a.m. and drive from Dundee, 60 miles away, stopping for a few hours en route to doze while in a parking lot.

“It’s strange. It’s going to take a moment or two for the brain to cope, because it feels like any other day but there is that difference” said Ms. Harkness, 24, who cares for her disabled mother and volunteers for the National Trust for Scotland, which protects the country’s countryside and historic buildings. “You know that she’s gone now and that there is a hole in the nation, a Queen Elizabeth II shaped hole.”

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As the rain pelted down in the early morning, Ms. Harkness was one of many who defied the elements to pay their respects to the queen. They were joined by television crews from around the world, sheltered under umbrellas as they awaited the departure of members of the royal family who had rushed to Balmoral on Thursday as the queen’s health deteriorated. Prince Harry was one of the first to leave, around 8:30 a.m.

By late morning, in the nearby town of Ballater, more people had gathered to be taken by bus to Balmoral, which has long been a focal point of royal life.

In the 19th century, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert made Balmoral Castle their Scottish home. And since then, the castle has been a base for the royal family’s summer vacations, a place for walks and secluded picnics.

The Prince of Wales, now King Charles III, and Diana, the Princess of Wales, spent their honeymoon at Balmoral. By tradition, prime ministers are invited by the monarch for a brief stay at the castle each year, a visit enjoyed more by some than by others.

Balmoral featured prominently as a backdrop in television’s “The Crown” and the movie “The Queen,” which focuses on the aftermath of the death of Diana in 1997.

Even with gray clouds hovering there is no doubting the beauty of the spectacular countryside, which is bisected by the River Dee, in full, roaring flow. By several accounts, Queen Elizabeth, a lifelong lover of horses, dogs and country pursuits, was probably happier in Balmoral than anywhere else, occasionally even enjoying a little anonymity.

On one occasion, two American tourists, who knew the castle was close by, approached her and a protection officer, Richard Griffin, on a walk. They failed to recognize her, and asked if she had met the queen.

“‘I haven’t, but Dick here meets her regularly,’ ” the queen replied, according to an account by Mr. Griffin in interviews earlier this year.

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On Friday, Iris Stevenson, 70, a retired office manager from Belfast in Northern Ireland, also told of a chance encounter with the queen. She said she and her husband were walking close to nearby Loch Muick two years ago, and stood aside from a single track road when a Range Rover SUV approached.

“We stood to let it pass, and it was the queen driving and she just raised her hand to thank us,” said Ms. Stevenson, who vacations regularly in the area and had come to pay her respects on Friday.

“I think she was a wonderful person,” she said. “She held her family together for so long — and the whole nation — and to work up to your last at 96 years of age is amazing.”

“You can say she worked until the day she died,” she added, referring to the fact that only on Tuesday the queen had appointed a new prime minister, Liz Truss.

On Friday, Queen Elizabeth’s love of Scotland was reciprocated in some of the tributes left with bouquets of flowers, one of which quoted the words of the famous Scottish poet, Robert Burns:

“My heart’s in the Highlands, my heart is not here,

My heart’s in the Highlands, a-chasing the deer;

Chasing the wild-deer, and following the roe,

My heart’s in the Highlands, wherever I go.

Farewell to the Highlands, farewell to the North,

The birthplace of Valor, the country of Worth”

Shona Leonard, from Westhill, Aberdeenshire, also paying respect to the queen, pointed to her powers as a unifying force as well as one of stability and consistency.

“She had a Scottish mum and an English dad,” she said, referring to the fact that the queen’s mother was descended from the Royal House of Scotland. “She knew the locals and she really loved this place,” added Ms. Leonard who, failing to find any flowers in the local store, brought a potted plant instead. “It’s incredible what she’s done, how she’s held the country together.”

Some English visitors, too, agreed that Balmoral was an appropriate place for Queen Elizabeth’s long reign to conclude. They included David Blenkiron, a sales representative from Durham in northeast England, who was on a work assignment in Scotland when the queen died. On Friday, he grabbed the only flowers he could find at a local supermarket at 6 a.m., and drove more than an hour to Balmoral.

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“She’s always been there so it just felt the right thing to do,” said Mr. Blenkiron, 49. He said he remembered the street party he attended as a child during the 1977 Jubilee celebrations, and still had a ceremonial coin and beaker produced to mark the occasion.

“She’s been the queen all my life,” he said. “I’ve known nothing else,”

He acknowledged that the passing of the crown to King Charles will be an adjustment. “Every note in my pocket, every coin in my pocket, has her head on” he said referring to the national currency. As for the chorus of the national anthem, changed from “God save the Queen” to “God save the King,” Mr. Blenkiron predicted: “We will be singing the wrong words for quite a few years.”

Still, he added with a touch of emotion in his voice as he stood in the teeming rain: “If she had to go, this was the place. She loved it.”

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Sept. 9, 2022, 12:11 p.m. ET

Sept. 9, 2022, 12:11 p.m. ET

Megan Specia

Reporting from London

King Charles III is formally proclaimed to his new role.

Two days after the death of Queen Elizabeth II, her son Charles’s new role as British monarch was officially proclaimed on Saturday in a ceremony at St. James’s Palace in London.

The palace, a Tudor royal residence near Buckingham Palace, has been the site of such ceremonies for centuries, but Saturday’s event was the first time that it had been televised.

The ceremony is held in two parts, the first of which included a meeting of the king’s Privy Council, a group of advisers to the monarch who have typically reached high levels of public office. In attendance on Saturday were Charles’s eldest son, Prince William, the new heir to the throne; Britain’s new prime minister, Liz Truss; and several of her predecessors. The king was not present at that meeting.

Notably, not a single person present in the room for the accession council had been part of the ceremony the last time around, when Elizabeth was proclaimed sovereign 70 years ago.

During that ceremony, the council proclaimed Charles the sovereign and then formally approved various arrangements for the upcoming proclamation of his rule. In the second part of the ceremony, King Charles III meets with his Privy Council.

The new king then will make four traditional public statements that generations of monarchs have made before him. He will give personal and political inaugural declarations, both of which in the past would have happened in a closed ceremony with the text later published in the London Gazette, the official government record.

On this occasion, for the first time, it will be broadcast, as will the formalities that follow. Charles will also make an oath to uphold the Church of Scotland.

Then, at 11 a.m. local time (6 a.m. Eastern), a proclamation will be read out officially declaring the reign of King Charles III. The first will be made from the balcony at St. James’s Palace.

Heralds will arrive on horseback, wearing uniforms that have roots in clothing from the Middle Ages, and will begin passing the proclamation across the country, but the news will first be read in Trafalgar Square and then the Royal Exchange in London.

The pomp and ceremony can often feel like a holdover of an earlier time, and the procedures, enshrined in law, give a nod to the foundations of the modern British state.

Sept. 9, 2022, 12:10 p.m. ET

Sept. 9, 2022, 12:10 p.m. ET

Jenny Gross

What will happen to the queen’s royal pack of corgis?

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Among the many transitions that Queen Elizabeth II’s death has set in motion for Britain will be one that affects the smallest, and perhaps cutest, members of the royal family: the monarch’s pack of four royal dogs. These include two corgis, a corgi-dachshund cross (known as a dorgi) and a co*cker spaniel.

Buckingham Palace did not respond to a request for comment about who would be now caring for the dogs, named Candy, Lissy, Muick and Sandy. But wherever the royal canines end up, they may need to become accustomed to a home that is less luxurious than a castle. Charles, who will officially be proclaimed king on Saturday, reportedly prefers Jack Russell terriers over Pembroke Welsh corgis.

The queen had more than 30 dogs, many of them corgis, during her seven-decade reign. But corgis do not have a long royal history — Elizabeth and her sister, Margaret, became the first people in the royal family to have one when, while they were young princesses in 1933, King George VI, then the Duke of York, got them a puppy, named Dookie. Another corgi, Jane, joined the royal family soon after, until 1944, when she was hit by a car. For Elizabeth’s 18th birthday, she got another corgi, a two-month-old puppy named Sue, who became known as Susan.

“Susan is the one who was with her during her courtship with Prince Philip, who accompanied her on her honeymoon, who was there when her father died,” said Ciara Farrell, the library and collections manager of the Kennel Club, Britain’s largest organization devoted to dog welfare. “Susan was really a special dog for her.”

The queen bred corgis from Susan’s lineage for eight decades, and over the years the queen would bring her dogs with her on overseas visits. She was also photographed walking with them on the grounds of Windsor Castle.

The Pembroke Welsh corgi peaked in popularity in the 1960s in Britain, in the years after the queen ascended to the throne, with more than 8,000 corgi puppies registered in 1961. In the decades that followed, however, they became much less popular, hitting a low in 2014, when only 274 corgi puppies were registered, Ms. Farrell said.

The breed became so closely associated with the royal family that corgis have appeared in pop-culture depictions of the monarchy, particularly in the last decade. Willow, who was believed to be a 14th-generation direct descendant of Susan, was one of three corgis to star in the sketch that opened the 2012 London Olympics.

“That put the corgis back in the public consciousness,” Ms. Farrell said.

Corgis have become more popular in recent years, with more than 1,000 corgi puppies registered with the Kennel Club last year. Ms. Farrell said the high-profile performance of three corgis in the London Olympics sketch had helped, as did their roles in shows like “The Crown,” “Bridgerton” and an animated comedy called “The Queen’s Corgi.”

The queen also had gun dogs, Labradors and co*cker spaniels, which lived on the royal estate at Sandringham in the English county of Norfolk, Ms. Farrell said.

Early last year, the queen received two new puppies, one corgi and one dorgi — gifts from her son Prince Andrew, according to The Daily Mail — as Britain went into a monthslong lockdown because of the coronavirus. The local news media reported that the queen, who was 96 when she died, had taken her dogs for long walks well into her 90s.

Queen Elizabeth II Dies: Charles III Expresses ‘Profound Sorrow’ Over Queen’s Death in First Speech as King (Published 2022) (2024)
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