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Live updates: Charles back in London as king; queen mourned

Associated Press Friday, 9 September 2022, 12:42 Last update: about 16 days ago

Flags were flying at half-staff on landmarks in Australia on Friday as people expressed sadness at the passing of Queen Elizabeth II.

Australian Governor-General David Hurley and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese signed condolence books in Canberra.

“There is comfort to be found in Her Majesty’s own words: ‘Grief is the price we pay for love.’” said the Australian prime minister.

New Zealanders also mourned the passing of Queen Elizabeth II with tributes around the country on Friday. At the Auckland War Memorial, a group of young people performed the Haka, a ceremonial dance in Māori culture. Flags flew at half-staff around the country.

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Under New Zealand’s constitutional arrangements, the queen was also New Zealand’s monarch and head of state.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said New Zealand had moved into a period of official mourning, and would hold a state memorial service after the official funeral in Britain.

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ABUJA, Nigeria — The death of the British monarch Queen Elizabeth II was frontpage news in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, biggest economy and former British colony.

Nigeria’s President Mohammodu Buhari offered his condolences and expressed sadness on hearing of the queen’s passing, according to his spokesman.

That sentiment was echoed by one man, Musa Adamu, at a news stand in the capital Abuja. The civil servant urged the British people to “exercise patience and endure the pain,” noting that “God will bless you all of you now.”

The flag flew at half-staff outside the British High Commission.

On a daily morning TV talk show, presenter Mohammed Jinadu and pundit Linda Claudia discussed the role Queen Elizabeth II played in holding the United Kingdom together.

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GIBRALTAR — Gibraltarians were mourning the death of Queen Elizabeth II with several dozen queueing from the early hours of Friday to sign a book of condolences and lay flowers.

Gibraltar has lowered the flags of official buildings, entered a period of national mourning and cancelled celebrations on Saturday of its National Day.

On Friday morning the governor and Chief Minister also signed the condolences book that the residents had been writing in.

Fabian Picardo, the Chief Minister of Gibraltar, a British overseas territory bordering southern Spain, said “May Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Second rest in eternal peace. Long live the King.”

In a statement sent to media and posted online, Picardo also added: “The People of Gibraltar will mourn Her Majesty as a monarch who has reigned wisely and with incomparable dedication throughout the period of our post-war emergence as a part of the British family of nations.”

A series of special gun salutes across the United Kingdom fired 96 shots on Friday, one for each year Queen Elizabeth II lived, a near century-long life.

Bells also tolled across the nation in honor of Queen Elizabeth II as the nation started 10 days of mourning for its longest-serving monarch.

King Charles III, who spent much of his 73 years preparing for the role, planned to meet with the prime minister and address a nation grieving the only British monarch most of the world had known.

He takes the throne in an era of uncertainty for both his country and the monarchy itself.

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ABERDEENSHIRE, Scotland — People paid tribute to Queen Elizabeth II at the gates of her Balmoral residence where she died.

Despite the rain on Friday, mourners from all walks of life came to lay down flowers or simply say goodbye to the British monarch they loved and respected.

“I just wanted to say thank you to the Queen,” said Christy Asalor.

“She has been a symbol of strength and stability, she has been so selfless and she’s given herself, literally sacrificed her whole life serving us until two days before she passed and the least we could do is just say thank you.”

Other people said they were feeling a lot of sadness at the passing of the only queen they ever knew.

Queen Elizabeth II was the longest reigning British monarch, at 70 years of service.

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LONDON — U.S. climate envoy and former U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, has paid tribute to Queen Elizabeth, describing her as the “calm in the storm” and a “great stateswoman.”

In brief comments to The Associated Press in London, Kerry said his thoughts were with the royal family and noted the sense of loss that people were feeling around the world.

Kerry also praised what he described as the queen’s “great sense of direction.”

“Never any any vitriol, never any political commentary, always on values, always on the bigger picture,” he said.

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LONDON -- “The Crown,” Netflix’s acclaimed series about Queen Elizabeth II and her family, has paused production due to the monarch’s death.

A spokesperson for the series said production was paused on Friday “as a mark of respect” and will also be suspended on the day of the queen’s funeral.

The show is in production on its sixth season. Its first two seasons starred Claire Foy as the young Princess Elizabeth ascending to the throne and gradually growing into her role as monarch, and seasons three and four featured Olivia Colman as a more mature queen.

The show, which has won 22 Emmy Awards so far, has gradually moved closer to current events. Netflix recently revealed casting of the actors who are playing Prince William and his wife Kate in the sixth season.

Its fifth season, with Imelda Staunton playing the queen, will premiere in November.

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NICOSIA, Cyprus - In ethnically divided Cyprus, President Nicos Anastasiades offered condolences for the Queen’s passing, posting on his official Twitter account, “our thoughts are with the Royal Family and the people of the United Kingdom.”

But for many Greek Cypriots, those thoughts hark back to a bloody, four-year guerrilla campaign that was waged in the late 1950s against British colonial rule and a perceived indifference the Queen demonstrated over the plight of nine individuals whom British authorities executed by hanging, despite appeals for their death sentences to be commuted.

Yiannis Spanos, president of Association of National Organization of Cypriot Fighters (EOKA) told the Associated Press that “we respect the dead even if in life they proved to be our enemies.”

Spanos said the Queen was “held by many as bearing responsibility” for the “island’s tragedies,” particularly for not granting pardons, even for some of the condemned for whom there was no definitive evidence to merit a death sentence even under colonial law.

King Charles III has arrived at Buckingham Palace for the first time as Britain’s monarch.

The king flew to London from Scotland on Friday and was driven to the royal residence in an official Bentley. A large crowd cheered as the car arrived at the palace gates.

He got out of the car to greet well-wishers and look at some of the huge pile of floral tributes left to honor his mother Queen Elizabeth II. Some called “Thank you Charles” and “Well done, Charlie!” as he shook hands with the crowd. Several shouted “God save the King!”

A few broke into a rendition of Britain’s national anthem, which is now titled “God Save the King.”

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BUCHAREST, Romania — The office of Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis said he sent a condolence message to King Charles III on Friday following the “painful loss” of Queen Elizabeth II.

“On behalf of the Romanian people and myself, I wish to convey to Your Majesty, the entire Royal Family and the British people my condolences and sympathy for the painful loss suffered,” he said.

Iohannis called the late Queen an “exceptional leader who served her country with utmost devotion and responsibility, representing a symbol of stability and a true moral benchmark for the whole world.”

He added that her decades of service will “remain in the history of humanity as a landmark and inspiration” for future generations.

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TOKYO — Japan’s horse racing association says it will fly its flag at half-staff at all its 10 race tracks and other facilities across the country to pay tribute to the death of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II.

Japan Racing Association President and CEO Masayuki Goto praised the queen’s “passion and contribution to horse racing” in a statement Friday.

He noted that Japan also has the “Queen Elizabeth II Cup,” which was established in commemoration of her visit to Japan in 1975, as a symbol of bonding between British and Japanese horse racing.

The association said this year’s Queen Elizabeth II Cup, which is in November, unfortunately will have to do without its planned subtitle celebrating her 70 years of reign.

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LONDON — British prime ministers who served during the reign of Queen Elizabeth II are sharing personal tributes to the late monarch.

There were 15 prime ministers during the queen’s reign, from Winston Churchill to Liz Truss, who was appointed just this week. The leaders held weekly private meetings with the monarch.

Truss’s predecessor, Boris Johnson, said in the House of Commons that when he saw the queen on Tuesday to offer his resignation, “she was as radiant and as knowledgeable and as fascinated by politics as ever I can remember, and as wise in her advice as anyone I know, if not wiser.”

Johnson called the queen “the keystone in the vast arch of the British state” and said “we are coming to understand in her death the full magnitude of what she did for us all.”

Former Prime Minister Theresa May said the queen was “the most remarkable person I have ever met” as well as the most impressive.

“I doubt we will ever see her like again,” May said. “May she rest in peace and rise in glory.”

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ISTANBUL- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he would like to attend the funeral of Queen Elizabeth providing his schedule permits it.

Erdogan told reporters Friday that he knew the queen and had met her at Buckingham Palace twice.

“If we find the opportunity we would like to be present at this ceremony,” he said.

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BRUSSELS — NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, speaking at a joint news conference in Brussels with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, noted that all 30 NATO member flags are flying at half-staff to honor Queen Elizabeth.

“She was a strong supporter of the transatlantic alliance, of our armed forces and our values,” Stoltenberg said, adding that she knew and worked with every one of his predecessors since NATO was founded. “I will always remember her wisdom, her warmth, and her strong personal interest in transatlantic unity.”

Blinken, meanwhile, paid homage to the “truly extraordinary life of Her Majesty Elizabeth II.”

He said she had personified “a sense of stability and continuity during turbulent times” and among “unprecedented challenges” faced by both Britain and the world. “She was a source of comfort and resilience to people from all walks of life.”

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PARIS — French President Emmanuel Macron expressed “deep sadness” and a sense of “emptiness” after the passing of the monarch and praised her “great affection for France.”

Macron said in a video message that the queen mastered “our language, loved our culture and touched our hearts.”

Macron described her as a “great head of state,” and said that with her, Britain and France share “a warm, sincere and loyal partnership.”

Speaking in English, the French president said: “To you, she was your Queen. To us, she was THE Queen.”

KYIV, Ukraine — In Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, people laid flowers outside the British Embassy in honor of Queen Elizabeth.

Anatolii Zakletskyi, a 75-year-old Kyiv resident, said he wanted to express his admiration for the monarch.

“First, as a symbol of devotion to the motherland. Secondly, an absolute sense of duty before, as she herself said, God and the people. And thirdly, to all of Britain for being true friends of Ukraine,” Zakletskyi said. “My deep condolences to the entire British nation.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy started his nightly address to the nation late Thursday with condolences “to the royal family, the entire United Kingdom and the Commonwealth.”

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LONDON — Prime Minister Liz Truss says the death of Queen Elizabeth II has caused a “heartfelt outpouring of grief” in Britain and around the world.

Truss spoke at the start of a special session of Parliament paying tribute to the queen.

Truss called the monarch “the nation’s greatest diplomat” and said her devotion to duty was an example to everyone.

The prime minister was officially appointed by the queen on Tuesday, just two days before her death. Truss said at the meeting, “she generously shared with me her deep experience of government, even in those last days.”

Normal business in Parliament has been suspended and lawmakers will spend two days offering their memories and reflections on the queen, who died Thursday after seven decades on the throne.

Senior lawmakers will also take an oath to King Charles III, the new monarch.

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LONDON — Bells tolled across Britain on Friday in honor of Queen Elizabeth II as the nation started 10 days of mourning for its longest-serving monarch.

In imposing city cathedrals and small-town chapels, the bells began ringing at noon (1100 GMT) as part of a long-planned, carefully organized series of events to mark the queen’s passing.

At the same time, the British Parliament opened a special session to pay tribute to the queen.

An hour later, a special gun salute is planned with 96 shots, one for each year of Elizabeth’s nearly-century-long life.

Her son, now King Charles III, was en route from Balmoral Castle in Scotland where Elizabeth died Thursday for London, where he will meet the prime minister and give an address to the nation.

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LONDON — King Charles III on his first full day of duties has left Balmoral in Scotland to head to London. He is expected to meet Prime Minister Liz Truss, who was appointed just days earlier, and deliver a speech to the nation.

The king spent much of his 73 years preparing for the role. He takes the throne at a time when many Britons are preoccupied with an energy crisis, the soaring cost of living, the war in Ukraine and the fallout from Brexit.

Britain has begun a 10-day mourning period, with bells tolling around the country and 96-gun salutes planned in London — one for each year of the queen’s long life.

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TOKYO — Hong Kong and its residents are also mourning Queen Elizabeth II. May Lam, who is studying in Japan, said she heard the news in Friday’s early hours and was too shocked to go back to sleep.

Lam was born before Hong Kong’s handover to China in 1997 and grew up seeing the queen in everyday life, including on stamps and coins. “In my mind or in my memories, Queen Elizabeth was so special,” said Lam, who made a two-hour trip to the British Embassy in Tokyo.

Hong Kong was ruled by Britain for 156 years. During her reign, Queen Elizabeth visited Hong Kong twice — in 1975 and in 1986 following a visit to China.

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LONDON — The death of Queen Elizabeth II has left many wondering what will happen to British money that bears her image, and whether it would be replaced by portraits of the new King Charles III.

Financial authorities sought to reassure people that there would be no big changes right away, but said little else.

“Current banknotes featuring the image of Her Majesty The Queen will continue to be legal tender,” the Bank of England said on its website. “A further announcement regarding existing Bank of England banknotes will be made once the period of mourning has been observed.”

The Queen was the first monarch to feature on British bank notes after the Treasury gave the central bank permission to use her image for a new 1 pound note issued in 1960.

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BERLIN -- Germany’s president has highlighted Queen Elizabeth II’s contribution to healing the wounds left by World War II during her long reign.

President Frank-Walter Steinmeier says that “Britain held out the hand of reconciliation to Germany, and the hand of reconciliation was also the queen’s hand.”

He says a state visit by the queen to West Germany in 1965 was “one of the most important and powerful symbols” of post-war friendship. “For the young Federal Republic of Germany, this trip was a pricelessly important signal of reconciliation after two disastrous world wars, after the great guilt that my country had heaped upon itself.”

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LONDON – The head of the Anglican church says the death of Queen Elizabeth II is a moment of enormous change for Britain and the world.

The queen – who was monarch and supreme governor of the Church of England -- died Thursday at 96 after 70 years on the throne.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby says that for many people, “a part of our lives we’ve taken for granted as being permanent is no longer there.”

He says that with her death “there is an enormous shift in the world around us, in how we see it and how we understand ourselves.”

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NEW DELHI — The Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, on Friday expressed his deep sadness over the death of Queen Elizabeth II and offered his condolences to her family and the British people.

In a letter to King Charles III, the Dalai Lama said “I remember seeing photographs of her coronation in magazines when I was young in Tibet.”

He added that “your mother lived a meaningful life with dignity, grace, a strong sense of service and a warm heart, qualities we all should treasure.”

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COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, whose 50-year reign is now Europe’s longest, called Britain’s late Queen Elizabeth II “a towering figure among European monarchs and a great inspiration to us all.”

“We shall miss her terribly,” Margrethe said in a statement released by the Danish royal household. Elizabeth died Thursday at 96 after 70 years on the British throne.

In neighboring Sweden, King Carl XVI Gustaf said the British monarch had “an outstanding devotion and sense of duty” and Norway’s King Harald said Elizabeth devotedly “accompanied the British people through joys and sorrows, in good times and bad times.”

Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto said Elizabeth “witnessed and shaped history like few others. Her sense of duty and devotion to service are an example to us all.”

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BEIJING — Chinese President Xi Jinping expressed condolences to the British royal family over the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

He noted in the statement Friday that Elizabeth was the first British monarch to visit China, which she did in 1986. “Her death is a great loss to the British people.”

The statement added that China was willing to work with King Charles III as an opportunity to promote bilateral relations and benefit the two countries and their people.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang also sent a message of condolence to British Prime Minister Liz Truss.

The queen’s death Thursday comes amid tensions between Britain and China over human rights, trade and China’s relentless crackdown on free speech and the political opposition in the former British colony of Hong Kong.

The Queen’s death was a top trending topic on Chinese social media, with many people saying her death marks the end of an era.

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MANILA, Philippines — Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. expressed his profound sadness Friday over the queen’s death saying she “exemplified to the world a true monarch’s great dignity, commitment to duty, and devotion to all those in her realm.”

“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,” Marcos Jr. said in a statement posted on Facebook. “The world has lost a true figure of majesty in what she demonstrated throughout her life and throughout her reign as Queen.”

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CANBERRA, Australia — Malcolm Turnbull, the leader of a failed campaign to have an Australian president replace the British monarch as Australia’s head of state and who later became prime minister, came close to tears on Friday in paying tribute to Queen Elizabeth II.

Turnbull was chair of the Australian Republican Movement in 1999 when Australians voted at a referendum against the nation becoming a republic, severing its constitutional ties to the queen. He was prime minister between 2015 and 2018, during which time the queen gave him a photograph of herself with her husband Prince Philip.

Turnbull’s voice trembled as he recalled looking at the photo on Thursday night before he and his wife Lucy Turnbull went to bed with a sense of dread because of news from Buckingham Palace of the queen’s failing health.

“I took the portrait of the queen out and set it up and we just thought, ‘What an amazing life. What amazing leadership,’” Turnbull told Australian Broadcasting Corp.

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