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Bells toll across the globe for Queen Elizabeth

Queen dies peacefully at Balmoral

The Queen will be commemorated by pomp and ceremony as Britain begins a period of mourning to mark the death of its former monarch.

Gun salutes will ring out in London and bells will toll across the country, with churches, chapels and cathedrals encouraged by the Church of England to open for prayers or a special service for mourners.

The Queen’s son and successor King Charles III spoke of his grief soon after Buckingham Palace announced the death of the 96-year-old monarch, who died “peacefully” on Thursday afternoon at Balmoral.

Charles will now turn his mind to matters of state as he begins his first full day as the nation’s new monarch having spent much of his 73 years in preparation for the role.

King Charles acceded to the throne immediately on the death of Elizabeth II, at the age of 96 in the sanctuary of Balmoral Castle.

One of the first acts of the new monarch – whose chosen title was confirmed by Prime Minister Liz Truss – was to speak of his grief and highlight the “respect and deep affection” in which the Queen was “so widely held”.

World leaders, celebrities and ordinary people – gathered at the gates of Buckingham Palace, Balmoral and Windsor Castle – all paid tribute, with US president Joe Biden describing her as “a stateswoman of unmatched dignity”.

In Washington, the US flag was lowered to half staff to mark the passing of a monarch whose legacy Mr Biden said “will loom large in the pages of British history, and in the story of our world”.

In Berlin, flowers and candles were laid outside the British embassy, while in Venice God Save the Queen, the British national anthem, was played outside the Italian city’s Festival Buildings.

In Paris, the Eiffel Tower went dark at the stroke of midnight in a tribute to the Queen.

In Brazil, the giant statue of Christ the Redeemer overlooking Rio de Janeiro was lit up in the red, blue and white of the United Kingdom’s flag, while Australia announced plans to illuminate the sails of the Sydney Opera House.

At the US Open in New York, tennis fans and players held a moment of silence before the start of the women’s semi-final between Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur and France’s Caroline Garcia.

Ms Truss – just a few days into her role – heralded the late monarch’s “great legacy” outside Downing Street on Thursday as news of the end of the New Elizabethan Era became a reality.

“Queen Elizabeth II was the rock on which modern Britain was built. Our country has grown and flourished under her reign,” she said.

Charles, whose wife Camilla is now Queen Consort, said in a written statement: “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.

“We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished Sovereign and a much-loved Mother.

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

The new King and Queen – Charles and Camilla – will return to London on Friday, and the new monarch is expected to address the nation on television on Friday night (local time).

Gun salutes – one round for every year of the Queen’s life – will be fired in central London on Friday and the new monarch will hold his first audience with the Prime Minister.

The PM and senior ministers will attend a public service of remembrance at St Paul’s in central London.

On Saturday morning, an Accession Council – the formal proclamation of Charles as King – will take place at St James’s Palace in London.

The first public proclamation of the new sovereign will then be read in the open air from the Friary Court balcony at St James’s Palace by the Garter King of Arms.

Charles will hold audiences, and the media will be briefed by the Earl Marshal, who is in charge of the accession and the Queen’s funeral, on the coming days.

Malcolm Turnbull's tears for the Queen

Behind the scenes, the long-held London Bridge plans for the Queen’s death are being rapidly put into action, setting out the next 11 days according to a strict timetable which will feature a lying in state and then the solemnity and grandeur of a state funeral.

The arrangements have a more complex factor due to the Queen’s death being in Scotland – and have triggered Operation Unicorn –- the contingency plans in case of such an event.

Members of the royal family will be expected in coming days to hold a vigil around the Queen’s coffin in St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh, and the Queen’s coffin will have to be transported by RAF plane back to London.

She is expected to lie in state in a few days’ time in London, with her funeral held in Westminster Abbey in central London, most likely on Monday September 19.

-with AAP

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