Mourning begins for late Queen

President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. on Friday joined other world leaders in paying tribute to Queen Elizabeth II, who passed away on Thursday at the age of 96.

Ballater, United Kingdom (AFP) — King Charles III was on Friday due to address his new subjects, as Britain was plunged into mourning by the death of Queen Elizabeth II, ending a history making 70-year reign.

Charles, 73, became monarch immediately after the death of his mother at her Scottish Highland retreat on Thursday, sparking tributes at home and abroad.

He is due to return to London from Balmoral, where the 96-year-old queen died “peacefully” after a year-long period of ill health and decline.

Details of his inaugural address, set to be pre-recorded, were not immediately released by the palace, but are part of 10 days of detailed pre-prepared plans honed over decades.

Also on Friday, the new king is expected to hold his first audience with Prime Minister Liz Truss, who was only appointed on Tuesday in one of the queen’s last ceremonial acts before her death.

He was also due to meet officials in charge of his accession and the elaborate arrangements for his mother’s set-piece funeral.

He will decide on the length of the royal household’s period of mourning, which is expected to last a month, while the UK government will observe 10 days of official remembrance when limited business is conducted.

Gun salutes — one round for every year of the queen’s life — will be fired across Hyde Park in central London and from the Tower of London, the ancient royal fortress on the River Thames.

Muffled church bells will toll at Westminster Abbey, St Paul’s Cathedral and Windsor Castle, among other places, and Union flags will fly at half-mast.

Truss and other senior ministers are set to attend a public remembrance service at St Paul’s, while the UK parliament will start two days of special tributes.

The queen’s death and its ceremonial aftermath come as the government strives to rush through emergency legislation to tackle the kind of war-fuelled economic privation that marked the start of Elizabeth’s reign in 1952.

The Union Jack is displayed at the presidential Elysee Palace in Paris on Friday a day after Queen Elizabeth II died at the age of 96. Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-serving monarch in British history and an icon instantly recognisable to billions of people around the world, died at her Scottish Highland retreat on 8 September. | CHRISTIAN HARTMANN / POOL //AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE


British newspapers were inevitably dominated by the queen’s passing, printing special editions to mark the occasion.

“Our hearts are broken,” headlined popular tabloid the Daily Mail. “We loved you Ma’am,” said The Sun. The Mirror wrote simply: “Thank you.”

Elizabeth, whose public appearances had become rarer, died following months of ill-health that first came to light after she spent an unscheduled night in a hospital in October 2021 for undisclosed health tests.

In one of her last official acts, on Tuesday she appointed Truss as the 15th prime minister of her reign, which started with Winston Churchill in Downing Street

She was seen smiling in photographs but looked frail and leaned on a walking stick. Her hand was also bruised dark blue-purple, sparking concern.

Her coffin will initially remain at Balmoral, a private residence set among thousands of acres (hectares) of rolling grouse moors and forests.

Her closest family members had rushed to be at her bedside at Balmoral, where her body will now lie before being taken to the Scottish capital Edinburgh.

From there, it is expected to travel by train to London for a lying in state and funeral.

Speaking on the steps of Downing Street shortly after her death was announced, Truss acclaimed the “second Elizabethan age,” five centuries after the celebrated first.

“We offer him (Charles) our loyalty and devotion just as his mother devoted so much to so many for so long,” she said in the televised address. “God save the king.”

Braving steady rain, crowds gathered late into Thursday night outside Buckingham Palace in London, and Windsor Castle west of the capital, with the number of well-wishers set to swell in the days ahead.

US President Joe Biden paid tribute Thursday to the late Queen Elizabeth II as a “stateswoman of unmatched dignity,” and said he looked forward to working with her son King Charles, noting their already “close friendship.”

Biden ordered flags at the White House and other federal buildings to be lowered to half-staff, and also visited the British embassy in Washington to sign a condolence book for the queen.

“Queen Elizabeth II was a stateswoman of unmatched dignity and constancy who deepened the bedrock alliance between the United Kingdom and the United States,” Biden and First Lady Jill Biden said in a statement. “She helped make our relationship special.”

The five former living US presidents — Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump — together with their wives all issued statements Thursday, paying tribute to the late monarch.

Setting aside their political divisions, now as deep as ever in America, the former US leaders were unanimous in their respect for the queen, praising her historic legacy as well as her personal traits.

BBM: True monarch

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Friday joined other world leaders in paying tribute to Queen Elizabeth II, who passed away on Thursday at the age of 96.

“It is with profound sadness that we receive the news of the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in Balmoral Castle yesterday evening,” Marcos said in a statement.

Marcos described the Queen as the epitome of a true monarch.

“She exemplified to the world a true monarch’s great dignity, commitment to duty, and devotion to all those in her realm,” he said.

“We, together with many Filipinos living and working in England, though not subjects of the Queen, have found ourselves having developed a great sense of affection for her as a Queen, as mother, and as a grandmother.”

The Philippine chief executive said the “world had lost a true figure of majesty in what the Queen demonstrated throughout her life and reign.”

On Friday, he signed the condolence book for Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s longest serving monarch, who passed away on 8 September.

The President was accompanied by First Lady Liza Araneta Marcos, sons Ilocos Norte Rep. Sandro Marcos and Simon Marcos, and cousin House Speaker Martin Romualdez.

“Today, my family and I went to the British Ambassador’s residence to send our formal letter of condolences to The Royal Family over the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II,” Marcos said.

“We join the Royal Family, the British people and the Commonwealth, and millions around the world in mourning the death of the longest-reigning monarch in British history,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines on Friday extends its condolences to the family of the late Queen.

Her even-decade reign was significant, according to Borongan Bishop Crispin Varquez, chairman of the CBCP-Episcopal Office on Women, because of her faith and concern for the welfare of the majority.

“Queen Elizabeth II was a woman of faith. She made Jesus the center of her life. She valued humanity,” Bishop Varquez said in an interview.

The late Queen, according to the Bishop, had high regard for the people’s beliefs and faith.

‘Cherished sovereign’

Queen Elizabeth II came to the throne aged just 25 in the exhausted aftermath of World War II, joining a world stage dominated by political figures from Winston Churchill to Mao Zedong and Joseph Stalin.

Her record-breaking reign straddled two centuries of seismic social, political and technological upheaval.

The last vestiges of Britain’s vast empire crumbled. At home, Brexit shook the foundations of her kingdom, and her family endured a series of scandals.

But throughout, she remained consistently popular and was head of state not just of the United Kingdom but 14 former British colonies, including Australia and Canada.

New Zealand proclaimed Charles its new king. But Australia’s new government looks set to revive a push to ditch the monarchy, casting doubt on his inheritance even as it mourns the queen.

Britain’s mourning will culminate in a final public farewell at Westminster Abbey in London. The funeral day will be a public holiday in the form of a Day of National Mourning.

With Michelle Guillang and Gab Villegas
@tribunephl_mish @tribunephl_gab

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