Queen Elizabeth death: Prince Harry leaves Balmoral, King Charles to address nation

A heartbroken Prince Harry has left Balmoral, a day after his grandmother the Queen passed away peacefully at her Scottish estate.

The Duke of Sussex, who was on a tour of the UK with wife Meghan Markle and rushed to Balmoral when the Queen’s health worsened, was pictured leaving the castle in a black Range Rover just after 8am local time (5pm AEST).

It is understood the rest of the royal family – including Prince William and Prince Andrew – remain at Balmoral Castle, The Telegraph has reported.

King Charles III and Camilla, Queen Consort, are travelling back to London from Aberdeen International Airport as the UK enters a period of mourning.

The King will hold an audience with British Prime Minister Liz Truss in the coming hours and prerecord a televised address to the nation, which will be broadcast at 6pm local time (3am AEST).

Buckingham Palace released a statement, saying that the date of the Queen’s funeral would “be confirmed in due course”.

“Following the death of Her Majesty The Queen, it is His Majesty The King’s wish that a period of Royal Mourning be observed from now until seven days after The Queen’s Funeral,” the statement said.

“Royal Mourning will be observed by Members of the Royal Family, Royal Household staff and Representatives of the Royal Household on official duties, together with troops committed to Ceremonial Duties.”

As dawn broke in the UK on Friday, the number of floral tributes outside Buckingham Palace, her home at Windsor Castle and at the gates of Balmoral grew, along with the number of people wanting to remember a woman who had always been there for them.

On Thursday, as news of her death first broke, many wearing suits or business attire went straight from the office to Buckingham Palace to pay their respects.

Unlike the hysteria surrounding Princess Diana’s death, most bore a look of grim stoicism. A few wiped away tears or hugged each other.

Some reflected in silence, others took photos to remember a momentous moment in history and even children paid their respects with drawings of Her Majesty and thank you notes.

Emotions were kept to a minimum. The Queen, 96, would have approved. She hated a fuss.

Her death sparked a flood of tributes, led by her son King Charles, who spoke of his “greatest sadness”.

“The death of my beloved Mother, Her Majesty The Queen, is a moment of the greatest sadness for me and all members of my family,” the 73-year-old said in a statement.

“I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world.”

Ms Truss, who was the Queen’s 15th British leader during her time on the throne, met the 96-year-old monarch on Tuesday, just two days before her death, after winning the Conservative Party’s leadership bid.

She said “through thick and thin, Queen Elizabeth II provided us with the stability and the strength that we needed” and that she was “the rock on which modern Britain was built”.

Meanwhile, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese addressed the nation as it woke to the news at 6.30am on Friday.

He said the Queen was a “rare and reassuring constant amid rapid change” during her reign.

He said she “embodied and exhibited a timeless decency and an enduring calm”.

“Australian hearts go out to the people of the United Kingdom who mourn today, knowing they will feel they have lost part of what makes their nation whole,” he said in a statement.

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

New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, said she was woken to the news by a police officer shining a torch into her bedroom at 4.50am (2.50am Friday AEST) to wake her.

“She was extraordinary … The last days of the Queen’s life captures who she was in so many ways, working to the very end on behalf of the people she loved,” Ms Ardern said.

Further afield, US President Joe Biden described the Queen as “more than a monarch – she defined an era” and spoke of her wit, kindness and wisdom.

While German Chancellor Olaf Scholz recalled the Queen’s “wonderful humour”.

In a statement, he said “her commitment to German-British reconciliation after the horrors of World War Two will remain unforgotten”.

Leading up to her death, members of the Royal Family made a last minute dash to Scotland to say their goodbyes.

King Charles, his wife Camilla, Queen Consort and Princess Anne were at the Queen’s bedside when she died, just hours after her personal doctors issued a public statement of concern for her health.

Her grandson Prince Harry was pictured in the back of a car speeding towards Balmoral with his head in his hands, having not made it in time.

It’s still not known whether Prince William, Andrew, Edward and his wife Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, got to Balmoral before Her Majesty passed away, after arriving at Aberdeen by plane at 4pm and then driving 115kms.

Both William’s wife Catherine and Harry’s wife Meghan Markle stayed behind in London.

The Queen’s death sparked the launch of Operation Unicorn, the code name for how to deal with events if the monarch died at Balmoral.

The plan was developed because the Queen spends her summer break at Balmoral Castle and it provided for additional ceremonial steps to be observed in Scotland before the Queen’s coffin is transported to London ahead of her funeral.

Once his mother’s body is back in London, King Charles III will begin a four-day tour of his realm, taking in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

The Queen will lie in state for three days at Westminster Hall, allowing the public for 23 hours a day to view her.

The official period of mourning will culminate with the state funeral at Westminster Abbey on Day 10 after her death.

While Charles became King as soon as his mother died, his coronation could still be months away.

At home Mr Albanese revealed the sails of the Opera House would be lit up over two nights from 7.30pm Friday to midnight and from 6.30pm Saturday to midnight.

Flags across Australia have been lowered to half-mast but will be at full mast on Sunday when the Governor-General David Hurley officially proclaims King Charles as King of Australia.

Flags across Australia will then be lowered to half-mast again at dusk on Sunday and remain in that state for the remaining 14 days of mourning.

The Australian Mint will begin issuing coins from next year with His Majesty’s head in place of the Queen’s.

Our currency is not the only thing that is going to change. Other aspects of Australian life are set for an overhaul, with all references to Her Majesty replaced to His Majesty. Lawyers who still use QC in their titles will have it changed to KC – King’s Counsel.

Originally published as Prince Harry leaves Balmoral, King Charles III to address nation

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