King Charles addresses parliament and travels to Scotland for the Queen’s Vigil

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EDINBURGH — King Charles called Britain’s parliament a « living, breathing instrument of our democracy » and pledged to follow the example of his late mother Queen Elizabeth in maintaining its independence in an address to both houses on Monday.

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Charles arrived at London’s Westminster Hall with a fanfare of trumpets with his wife Camilla, Queen Consort, for the address – part of a series of pageant-filled ceremonies following the Queen’s death on Thursday at her home in vacation in Balmoral, Scotland, after 70 years. years on the throne.

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After the speech, the new monarch set off for Edinburgh to join his siblings for a solemn procession when Queen Elizabeth’s coffin is taken to the city’s historic cathedral.

They will then take part in a vigil at St. Giles Cathedral on the Scottish capital’s centuries-old Royal Mile, where the coffin will lie in repose before being flown to London on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Liz Truss – still in her first week in office – and parliamentarians from the House of Commons and House of Lords – attended the speech at Westminster Hall.

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The Lord Speaker described the late Queen as « both a leader and servant to her people ».

Charles and Camilla sat in ceremonial chairs, with troopers in red tunics and plumed helmets standing to attention behind.

In his address, Charles said: “From a very young age, Her late Majesty pledged herself to serve her country and her people and to uphold the treasured principles of constitutional government which are at the heart of our nation. She kept this vow with unparalleled devotion.

« She set an example of selfless duty which, with God’s help and your guidance, I am resolved to follow faithfully. »

The congregation sang « God Save the King ».

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Charles, 73, who automatically became king of the UK and 14 other kingdoms including Australia, Canada, Jamaica, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea upon the death of his mother, is known to express opinions on issues ranging from the environment to youth issues.

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He suggested that as king he might have to moderate his style, in keeping with the tradition that the monarch steer clear of political matters.


On Sunday, the Queen’s oak coffin, draped in the Royal Standard of Scotland, was transported by hearse on a six-hour journey from Balmoral through the scenic Scottish countryside, villages, small towns and cities to in Edinburgh.

Tens of thousands of well-wishers lined the roads to pay their respects, while huge crowds, some in tears, gathered in Edinburgh to greet the motorcade.

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« I think when the Queen’s coffin emerged from Balmoral Castle yesterday, I think it was a moment of enormous significance, » John Swinney, Scottish Deputy First Minister, told BBC radio.

« I think people caught their breath, because what we’ve all been going through for the last few days suddenly became real, it became visible. »

When the coffin arrives at St. Giles Cathedral, the Duke of Hamilton and Brandon, the first Scottish peer, will place the Crown of Scotland there.

After a service, the casket will rest there for 24 hours to allow people to pay their respects. A vigil will be mounted by soldiers from the Royal Company of Archers – the Sovereign’s ‘bodyguard in Scotland’.

Charles, who will also visit the Scottish Parliament and meet Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, will later hold a vigil at 7.20pm with other members of the Royal Family.

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On Tuesday the coffin will be flown to London where on Wednesday it will begin a period of rest until early September 19 – the day of Elizabeth’s state funeral – on a catafalque in Westminster Hall.

It will be guarded by soldiers or Yeoman Warders – known as beefeaters – from the Tower of London.


Members of the public will be allowed to walk past the coffin, which will be covered by the royal standard with the sovereign’s orb and scepter placed on top, 24 hours a day until 6.30am on September 19.

“Those wishing to attend will have to queue for many hours, if not overnight,” the government said in a statement. « Large crowds are expected. »

Meanwhile, thousands of people continued to gather at royal palaces across Britain, bringing flowers. In Green Park, near Buckingham Palace, where some of the tributes are being paid, long lines of bouquets now wind through the park, allowing mourners to read the tributes.

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« It really touched me to lose the Queen, » Amy Gibbs, 43, said outside Buckingham Palace. « I think she was an amazing woman who did her best and gave us everything. »

Britain last saw such a display of public mourning in 1997 after Charles’ first wife, Princess Diana, died in a car crash in Paris.

In his first public comment since the Queen’s death, Prince Harry – Diana’s son – paid a moving tribute to his ‘grandmother’ on Monday, saying she would be sorely missed not just by the family, but by the world entire.

« Grandma, as this latest parting brings us great sadness, I am eternally grateful for all of our first encounters – from my earliest childhood memories with you, to meeting you for the first time as Commander-in-Chief, to the first moment you met my darling wife and hugged your beloved great-grandchildren.

« We too smile knowing that you and grandfather are reunited now, and both at peace, » said Harry, a reference to Elizabeth’s husband of 73 years, Prince Philip, who died last year. .

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