Britain’s new monarch King Charles III has begun his journey from Balmoral to London, following the death of his mother the Queen.
The grief-stricken King was glimpsed for the first time since his accession to the throne as he departed Birkhall, his private home on the Balmoral estate, by car at around 11.15am on Friday.
With Camilla, his new Queen Consort, in the front passenger seat, Charles sat in the back, dressed in his mourning clothes of a black suit and tie, looking sombre as he headed to Aberdeen Airport.
The King is flying to London where he is expected to address the nation on television on Friday evening, and hold his first audience with new Prime Minister Liz Truss.
Charles and Camilla, the Queen Consort, had rushed to be at the Queen’s bedside when she fell gravely ill.
The couple stayed overnight at Balmoral, where the Queen died peacefully aged 96 on Thursday afternoon.
Charles has already turned his hand to his duties as monarch despite his grief.
He gave the order that a period of “Royal Mourning” for the Queen will be observed from now until seven days after her funeral, likely be held on September 19.
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.
Royal salutes will be fired in London on Friday at 1pm in Hyde Park by the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery, and at the Tower of London by the Honourable Artillery Company, with one round being fired for each year of the Queen’s life.
Flags at royal residences were at half-mast on Thursday and will remain half-masted until 8am on the morning after the final day of royal mourning.
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.