New Era After Queen’s Death
King Charles III will address his people on his first full day as monarch.
LONDON — King Charles III, newly acceded to the British throne, is returning to London on Friday from Balmoral Castle in Scotland, a day after the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, to deliver an inaugural address to the nation.
The televised speech, expected in the late afternoon, will be the centerpiece of a solemn day of remembrance for the queen. But it will also emphasize the continuity of governance in Britain’s constitutional monarchy, as the new king will hold an audience with the prime minister, Liz Truss, who took office earlier this week.
Before the king arrives in the capital, the sound of gun salutes will reverberate through the city from Hyde Park and other sites — 96 rounds, one for each year of the queen’s life. Bells tolled at midday at Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral and Windsor Castle, outside London, where the queen spent much of the end of her life.
Charles is accompanied by Camilla, now the queen consort, a title her mother-in-law fervently wished her to have. Marking her 70 years on the throne in February, the queen anticipated this moment of transition, appealing in a personal statement for Britons to open their hearts to Charles and Camilla.
“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 delicate question about how the former Camilla Parker-Bowles would be known when Charles acceded to the throne. The two were romantically involved when Charles was married to Diana, Princess of Wales. He and Diana later divorced, and he married Camilla. Charles had long pushed for Camilla to be recognized as queen consort once he was king.
In a week of dizzying change in Britain, Charles is the second senior British figure to deliver a maiden address. Ms. Truss spoke on Tuesday in front of Downing Street, on the day the queen anointed her as prime minister. Two days later, she walked out to the same lectern to swear fealty to the new king.
The king’s speech is the first of a choreographed sequence of events marking the transition from Elizabeth to Charles. On Saturday, Charles will be formally proclaimed after a meeting of the Accession Council, a conclave of senior officials who meet, by custom, at St. James’s Palace in the wake of a monarch’s death.