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A NATION MOURNS ITS QUEEN AND WELCOMES A NEW KING

Front Pages 13 Sep, 2022 Follow News

Queen Elizabeth II

King Charles III proclamation

Floral tribute

By Staff Writer

Elaborate formalities steeped in tradition and pageantry are marking an unforgettable period in British with the death of one monarch, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and the accession to the throne of her successor, King Charles III.

It’s not only British history being recorded but a period that is being etched into world history that’s being witnessed and shared by millions all over the world, within and outside the realm of the British monarchy.

The collective grief from the shock of the death of HM Queen Elizabeth has not only enveloped the United Kingdom but has extended to the Commonwealth, Overseas Territories - including the Cayman Islands - and the world at large.

Within 48 hours of presiding over the formalities of a change of political leadership of the United Kingdom on Tuesday 6th September when she accepted the resignation of Boris Johnson and installed Liz Truss as Prime Minister, Queen Elizabeth II had died.

The outpouring of grief and shock throughout the United Kingdom and in other nations is palpable, with extensive media coverage and rolling news live-streamed by major international networks and also carried by local outlets.

Many people in the UK and abroad are still coming to terms with the fact that the 96-year-old monarch who just this year marked her 70th anniversary on the throne, and was feted with elaborate celebrations throughout the country and the Commonwealth, had indeed passed away.

Huge crowds have been gathering outside the Queen’s residences to pay their last respects and the mountains of floral tributes increase daily.

Her death set in motion a series of pre-planned protocols; from funeral arrangements to the installation of her successor, her son then Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, now His Majesty King Charles III.

From the time it was announced that her doctors had become very concerned about the Queen’s health, muted speculation had started creeping through over what for many was still the unthinkable, although it was expected.

A clearly frail but still smiling Queen Elizabeth II was photographed just last Tuesday with the new British Prime Minister, Liz Truss, whom she had just installed as the 15th UK leader during her reign.

Just hours before she had accepted the resignation of Boris Johnson.

In what many regard as her remarkable reign, Queen Elizabeth II has not only hosted 15 British Prime Ministers from Winston Churchill to Liz Truss, but 13 of the 14 US presidents from Harry Truman to the incumbent Joe Biden, except for President Lyndon Johnson.

President Biden said the Queen was a “stateswoman of unmatched dignity and constancy who deepened the bedrock alliance between the United Kingdom and the United States.”

Notably among world leaders, the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he will mourn the “irreparable loss” left by Queen Elizabeth’s death.

 “It is with deep sadness that we learned of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. On behalf of the [Ukrainian] people, we extend sincere condolences to the RoyalFamily, the entire United Kingdom and the Commonwealth over this irreparable loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you,” he wrote.

Perhaps the tribute that stands out for its poignancy came from Russian leader Vladimir Putin who has been waging what the United Kingdom and other western countries have condemned as an unjust war on Ukraine.

In a telegram to King Charles III, he wrote: “For many decades, Elizabeth II rightfully enjoyed the love and respect of her subjects, as well as authority on the world stage. I wish you courage and perseverance in the face of this heavy, irreparable loss.”

But in the flood of glowing tributes from across the world, one which stands out and reflects the esteem that Queen Elizabeth was held in beyond the UK and the Commonwealth, came from French President Emmanuel Macron who said to the British people: “She was your Queen. To us, she was The Queen.”

Many countries have ordered that flags be flown at half-mast as a mark of respect for the passing of the longest-serving and much-loved British monarch.

In the UK, public outpouring of sorrow can be seen in the masses of floral tributes carpeting locations from the Queen’s palaces, public squares, even businesses and private residences, along with billboards on the roadsides adorned with her image.

A NEW MONARCH: KING CHARLES III

The depth of grief is matched only by the start of another era in British and world history; the accession of King Charles III who was proclaimed king on Saturday September 10th.

Royal experts have pointed out that the actual coronation of King Charles III will not take place immediately, noting that the Queen was not crowned for more than a year after her father’s death.

Deep into mourning the unexpected passing of his mother, King Charles has now taken up the mantle, in a role that the now 73-year-old had been prepared for since birth.

When she acceded to the throne on the sudden death of her father in 1952 while she was away on vacation, the then 25- year-old Queen Elizabeth had committed to dedicating the rest of her life to the service of the nation. It was a pledge she had first made in an address to the Commonwealth upon reaching her 21st birthday.

In his accession speech on Saturday September 10th, in a ceremony broadcast live for the first time in British history and watched live by millions in the UK and around the world despite the time difference, King Charles made a similar pledge.

“I am deeply aware of this great inheritance and of the duties and heavy responsibilities of sovereignty which have now passed to me,” he said.

“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.”

King Charles also addressed the wider realm and Commonwealth: “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 endeavour to serve you with loyalty, respect and love, as I have throughout my life.

In taking up these responsibilities, I will strive to follow the inspiring example I have been set in upholding constitutional government and to seek the peace, harmony, and prosperity of the peoples of these islands and of the Commonwealth realms and territories throughout the world.”

In a tribute on behalf of the Commonwealth, Dominica-born Secretary-General Baroness Patricia Scotland wrote:

“Her Majesty loved the Commonwealth, and the Commonwealth loved her. During her reign she travelled more than any monarch in history, visiting every part of our family of nations. Between 1971 and 2018, she missed only one Heads of Government Meeting. Her devotion to duty was only matched by her skill as Head of the Commonwealth of Nations, always a generous host and consummate diplomat.”

A NATION IN MOURNING

A period of mourning has been declared in the United Kingdom and a series of formal events are taking place leading up to the state funeral of the late Queen Elizabeth II.

According to the schedule, the Queen’s lying in state is expected to begin on Wednesday September 14th, codenamed Operation Marquee, following a ceremonial procession through London.

The Queen will lie in state in Westminster Hall for about four days before her funeral, allowing members of the public to file past and pay their respects.

The funeral will be held in Westminster Abbey on Monday September 19th.

The very detailed sequence of events upon the death of a monarch follows specific codes and formalities.

Contingency plans for the death of the Queen in Scotland were codenamed Operation Unicorn. She passed away on Thursday September 8th at Balmoral Castle in Scotland.

The protocol for the formalities in the capital London is code-named Operation London Bridge with government departments, agencies, security services, the clergy and others charged with the orderly and respectful funeral and final burial of the monarch.

In one of his first formal decisions, King Charles III decreed that the day of the Queen’s funeral will be a bank holiday for every part of the UK.

Guidance from the British government on the period of mourning notes: “Mourning is very personal and we anticipate individuals, families, communities and organisations may want to mark Her Majesty’s demise in their own way. There is no expectation on the public or organisations to observe specific behaviours during the mourning period.”

“As well as the UK government, the devolved administrations, Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories will be observing National Mourning and will issue separate guidance,” it explained.


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