After the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, Charles will address the nation on Friday afternoon. The country now enters a mourning period that continues until after her funeral.
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LONDON — King Charles III, newly acceded to the British throne, returned 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 in the week.
LONDON — When Chris Levine, a Canadian artist, was commissioned to make a holographic portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, who died in Scotland on Thursday, he took an unusual approach to getting her to relax.
Levine burned incense in the Yellow Drawing Room in Buckingham Palace where the shoot was taking place, and installed a light sculpture to gently pulse soothing colors around the space. Later, he encouraged the queen to shut her eyes between shots and focus on her breathing as if she were in a meditation class.
“Looking back, it was quite surreal,” Levine said in an interview in February. “I was trying to get beyond the persona of the queen, through to the essence of her being,” he recalled of his meetings with the monarch. “That’s where the real beauty is.”
Levine’s methods may be unorthodox, but they produced several celebrated images of the queen, particularly “Lightness of Being,” which depicts her with her eyes closed, as if caught in a moment of spiritual reflection.
God save the Queen, long live the King. The second Elizabethan age has come to an end and the royal family will now regroup around a new monarch for the next era in British history.
What will change for each of the royals?
The moment Elizabeth II died, her eldest child, Charles, automatically became monarch. As sovereign, he has chosen to take the name King Charles III.
All rights and responsibilities of the Crown now rest with King Charles III.
He becomes head of state not just in the UK but in 14 other Commonwealth realms including Australia and Canada. He will become head of the 56-member Commonwealth, although that is not a hereditary position, after his succession to the role was agreed by Commonwealth leaders at a meeting in London in 2018.
He has become head of the British Armed Forces, the judiciary and the civil service, and he is the Supreme Governor of the Church of England. He is the Fount of Honour, which means all honors, such as knighthoods, will now be given in his name.
The United Kingdom does not have a codified constitution, so the role of monarchy is defined by convention rather than law. He has a duty to remain politically impartial, which means he will come under greater scrutiny if he continues to express the views he is known for.
He has championed alternative medicines and organic farming techniques. In 1984, he hit out at the “glass stumps and concrete towers” of modern architecture. He has spent decades warning of the dangers of climate change. In the so-called “black spider” memos, he raised the issues he was concerned about directly with ministers.
In a BBC documentary to mark his 70th birthday, Charles acknowledged having ruffled feathers with his past interventions. But he promised not to meddle in controversial affairs once sovereign, saying he would operate within “the constitutional parameters.”
Elizabeth stayed “above politics” and never expressed herself in any way on any issue and as a result she rarely divided opinion. She managed to retain popular support and cross-party support in parliament, which was the one body with the power to dethrone her.
We will never know what she discussed in her regular audiences with her prime ministers, beginning with Churchill, but Charles is a more outspoken character. Will he go quiet on policy matters in public but continue to lobby in private? Will the prime minister act on it?
The prime ministerial audiences are one of several constitutional duties to which King Charles III will be expected to step up and they will bring him in regular contact with policymakers. He appoints the prime minister, opens parliamentary sessions, approves legislation and official appointments, receives the credentials of foreign ambassadors and hosts world leaders on state visits.
Charles has also adopted the symbolic position as Head of Nation, meaning he becomes the symbol of national identity, unity, and pride. He represents continuity and celebrates excellence on behalf of the country. That’s why we see the monarch opening national events and leading commemorations.
People would look to Elizabeth in times of crisis, but will they rally around King Charles III in the same way? He is more divisive not just because of his honest views but also because of the bad taste still left from his acrimonious divorce from his immensely popular first wife, Diana.
All the official royal residences including Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle will now be under his control. There are also other residences such as Balmoral in Scotland and Sandringham in Norfolk which the Queen owned privately – and the nation will have to see to whom she leaves them in her will.
Either way, Charles’ wealth has ballooned. He will now receive the Sovereign Grant, which covers the cost of his official duties and amounted to £86.3 million ($99.2 million) for the 2021/2022 financial year. He will take charge of the Royal Collection, which includes one of the most valuable art collections in the world. He also picks up the Duchy of Lancaster, a vast estate of more than 10,000 hectares of land, prime London real estate and a portfolio of investments.
King Charles III has become one of the richest men in England overnight.