Steadying words from Downing St as 10 days of remembrance for queen begin

LONDON-Britain’s Cabinet under new Prime Minister Liz Truss stands fully behind King Charles III, Downing Street said on Friday following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, the country’s longest-reigning monarch, whose death marked the end of an era.

“Cabinet was united in their support for His Majesty the King, as he and the United Kingdom continue to mourn the passing of his mother,” a spokesman told reporters, adding the ministers held a moment of silence for Elizabeth, who died on Thursday.

King Charles III, 73, prepared to meet with the prime minister later on Friday and address a nation mourning his mother. He will be formally proclaimed new monarch on Saturday morning.

The country began a 10-day mourning period on Friday, with bells tolling around Britain and 96 gun salutes planned in London-one for each year of the queen’s long life. People around the globe gathered at British embassies to pay homage to the queen following her death, with her family around her, in Balmoral Castle in Scotland.

King Charles III, who spent much of his 73 years preparing for the role, takes the throne in an era of uncertainty for both his country and the monarchy itself.

On his first full day of duties on Friday, he returned to London, and was expected to deliver a speech to the nation at a time when many Britons are preoccupied with an energy crisis, the soaring cost of living, the conflict in Ukraine and the fallout from Brexit.

Elizabeth was Britain’s longest-reigning monarch and a symbol of constancy in a turbulent era that saw the decline of the British empire and disarray in her own family.

Members of the royal family had rushed to her side at the family’s summer residence in Balmoral after her health took a turn for the worse.

After a vigil in the Scottish capital Edinburgh, the queen’s coffin was expected to be brought to London, and she will lie in state for several days before her funeral in Westminster Abbey.

The date of the funeral, which will be attended by heads of state and government, has yet to be announced but is expected to be on Sept 19.

Respects paid

Ordinary people in Britain and around the globe paid their own respects to a woman who had been the face of her nation for more than 70 years, as world leaders also paid tribute to the monarch.

On a rainy London night on Thursday, thousands gathered outside Buckingham Palace, in central London, some laying floral tributes outside the black iron gates.

Global tributes were led by the Commonwealth, the association of countries that were previously part of the British empire as well as its remaining overseas territories.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was “pained” by the death.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese paid tribute to her “timeless decency”.

On the other side of the world, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Elizabeth, who as queen was Canada’s head of state, was a “constant presence in our lives, and her service to Canadians will forever remain an important part of our country’s history”.

US President Joe Biden called the queen the first British monarch to make a personal connection with people around the world.

Russian President Vladimir Putin offered his condolences to King Charles III, wishing the new monarch “courage and resilience” after his mother’s passing.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said: “Her commitment to German-British reconciliation after the horrors of World War II will remain unforgotten”.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida echoed that sentiment.

At the United Nations, the Security Council held a minute of silence.