The Daily Telegraph
‘The death of my beloved mother is a moment of the greatest sadness for me’
The King releases poignant statement following the death of his mother, having been asked to go to her bedside at Balmoral
THE King last night described the death of his “beloved mother” as “a moment of the greatest sadness” for him and the Royal family.
He released a statement shortly after 7pm, half an hour after Buckingham Palace announced the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
He said: “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 muchloved mother. I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world.”
He added: “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.”
The King had travelled to Balmoral from Dumfries House yesterday morning after the call came to travel to his mother’s bedside.
The Queen’s Helicopter Flight, with its distinctive burgundy livery, was made available. Photographs showed a serious-looking Prince of Wales, as he was then, wearing a light-grey suit and clutching a large briefcase as he walked from his official car to the helicopter.
Throughout the summer, amid reports of the Queen’s ongoing health issues, he had made regular visits to her bedside.
The King and his wife Camilla, the Queen Consort, remained at Balmoral last night and were due to return to London this morning.
Though he will be grieving for his mother, his public duties will begin immediately.
His first audience as monarch with Liz Truss, the Prime Minister, is expected to happen as soon as practically possible. A photographer will record the moment they first shake hands before the meeting continues in private.
The King and the Prime Minister spoke shortly after Ms Truss delivered a statement to the nation about the Queen’s death.
The King is likely to receive the Earl Marshal, the Duke of Norfolk, who is in charge of the accession and the Queen’s funeral, today to approve the carefully choreographed schedule for the week.
He will also decide on the length of court mourning for members of the Royal family and royal households. It is expected to last a month.
A televised address to the nation will be broadcast at around 6pm.
The King’s message, recorded hours earlier, will include a tribute to the Queen and a pledge to dedicate his reign to public service.
Tomorrow, the Accession Council will meet at St James’s Palace in London to formally proclaim King Charles the nation’s new monarch.
The council is usually held within 24 hours of the death of a sovereign, before Parliament meets, and is the first official event the King will attend.
While its solemn duties have historically been undertaken behind closed doors, this time it will be televised for the first time.
The council, held in the red-carpeted Entrée Room, will be presided over by Penny Mordaunt MP, the newly appointed Lord President of the Council, and divided into two parts.
First, the Privy Council gathers without the King to proclaim the new monarch and arrange business relating to the proclamation.
Then Charles holds his first Privy Council, accompanied by the Queen Consort and Prince William, now Duke of Cornwall and Cambridge, who are both Privy Counsellors.
He will make his personal declaration and oath.
He will also hold an audience with the Prime Minister and the Cabinet and meet leaders of the opposition parties, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Dean of Westminster.
‘My family and I will be comforted by our knowledge of the respect and affection in which the Queen was so widely held’
In the following days, the King will embark on a whistlestop tour of the UK, visiting locations in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, a minitour known as Operation Spring Tide.
He will hear motions of condolence as he meets the public and shares in their mourning for his mother.
In Edinburgh, he is likely to inspect the guard at the Palace of Holyrood and may drive to St Giles Cathedral for a service of remembrance and prayers.
He will also meet First Minister Nicola Sturgeon at Holyrood House.
In Northern Ireland, he will travel to Hillsborough Castle and meet community leaders. In Wales, there is likely to be a service at Llandaff Cathedral and an audience with First Minister Mark Drakeford at Cardiff Castle.
Later in the week, he will meet senior defence staff, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, governors-general and prime ministers of the Commonwealth realms.
The Queen’s lying in state is expected to begin in Westminster Hall on Wednesday following a ceremonial procession through London. It will last four full days and be open for almost 24 hours a day.
The King and his three siblings, the Princess Royal, the Duke of York and the Earl of Wessex are all expected to take their turn for a moving evening vigil.
The day before the Queen’s funeral, which is likely to be Monday, September 19, the King will host a reception for heads of state.
On the day of the funeral, the Queen’s coffin will be taken from Westminster Hall to Westminster Abbey, and the King will lead members of the Royal family walking behind it.
The King’s title, King Charles III, was a personal choice.
He opted to use his Christian name, just like his late beloved mother Queen Elizabeth II.
For a major Commons debate to be interrupted, clearly suggested to MPS that something was seriously wrong
been photographed shaking Ms Truss’s hand. She looked frail but she was standing and there was a broad grin on her face.
For such a major Commons debate to be interrupted, clearly suggested to MPS in the Chamber that something was seriously wrong. At that moment they will not have known what the issue was. They were soon to find out.
Within five minutes, Jacob Reesmogg, the Business Secretary, whose remit includes energy, unexpectedly stood up from the front bench and dashed out of the chamber.
At the same time and while Sir Keir was still speaking, parliamentary television showed Angela Rayner, the deputy leader of the Labour Party, also receiving a note, the same neatly folded square containing the same upsetting news. Ms Rayner began typing into her phone.
By then, in the comings and goings of a debate – where clearly now MPS and journalists were aware of a major event unfolding – Mr Zahawi rose again this time to brief Sir Lindsay Hoyle, the Commons Speaker.
A minute later and Ms Rayner crept behind Sir Keir – who was still on his feet – to the Speaker’s chair for a further discussion before finally a note was passed to him, too.
Then at 12.30pm, Buckingham Palace released a statement, circulated to the Royal press pack and simultaneously published on its website. It was a rare – and all too worrying – update on the Queen’s health.
Normally a private matter, Buckingham Palace almost never gives details of the monarch’s state of health. Yesterday was different and its meaning would become increasingly clear.
The announcement – headlined “A statement from Buckingham Palace” – was short and simple, contained in just two paragraphs. “Following further evaluation this morning, the Queen’s doctors are concerned for Her Majesty’s health and have recommended she remain under medical supervision.
“The Queen remains comfortable and at Balmoral.”
By now the rumour mill was going into overdrive. The statement had said little to suggest just how seriously ill the Queen may, or may not, be but in political circles the gravest of worries were being expressed in and around Downing Street. MPS’ aides were sent out to purchase or acquire black ties.
On BBC One viewers were nine minutes into Bargain Hunt, the daytime TV staple, when the programme was abruptly halted and the public broadcaster switched to the BBC newsroom.
“We have had news from Buckingham Palace that the Queen is under medical supervision at Balmoral,” said the newsreader, adding that “immediate family members” had been informed.
Channel 4 also cut its programming for a special news programme. The BBC suspended all regular programming and Huw Edwards, its chief presenter, was summoned to the studio, ominously dressed in dark suit, white shirt and black tie, in line with the BBC’S dress code for when a member of the Royal family dies.
Back in the Commons, the Speaker made an official statement, interrupting the SNP’S leader there to do so.
“I wish to say something about the announcement which has just been made about Her Majesty,” said Sir Lindsay, “I know I speak on behalf of the entire House when I say that we send our best wishes to Her Majesty the Queen and that she and the Royal Family are in our thoughts and prayers at this moment. If there is anything else we will update the House accordingly.”
Ms Truss was informed at 4.30pm that the Queen had died, the Prime Minister’s spokesman said. The news had come through a little over four hours after that initial, fateful note had been passed to her. The public would not be told for a further two hours, the announcement made by Buckingham Palace on its website and on a notice placed on the palace gates. Ms Truss was informed personally by Simon Case, the Cabinet Secretary.
Having delivered her statement in Downing Street, she telephoned the new King to offer her condolences. The Prime Minister was due to chair a meeting of her ministers at 9pm last night.
In her address to the nation, Ms Truss spoke of the “difficult days ahead”, adding: “She has been a personal inspiration to me and to many Britons. Her devotion to duty is an example to us all.”
She made reference to their meeting at Balmoral only two days before, saying that “at 96, she remained determined to carry out her duties as she appointed me as her 15th prime minister”. It was Winston Churchill who was the first Prime Minister of the reign of Elizabeth II.