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Queen Elizabeth II passes away 10 days of national mourning period kicks off in UK

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Queen Elizabeth IIpasses away: 10 days of national mourning period kicks off in UK

LONDON —With the death of Queen Elizabeth II, who ruled for more than 70 years, the United Kingdom hasbeen plunged into mourning and at least 10 days of solemn ceremony.

Fewalive anywhere in the world will have witnessed anything like the carefullyorchestrated and detailed plan, including gun salutes, bells pealing across theland and millions gathering to pay tribute. Britain is in a period of officialnational mourning that lasts until the queen’s funeral.

Code-namedLondon Bridge, the plan for the queen’s death, which has been years in themaking, will stage-manage an otherwise uncertain few weeks for the nation, fromthe succession to a new king to a period of national mourning, the queen’sfuneral and the eventual coronation of her eldest son, King Charles III, 73,according to advance briefings with Buckingham Palace officials.

Thequeen's coffin will be moved to the ballroom at Balmoral Castle in Scotland,covered in the royal standard of Scotland and a wreath of flowers that ischanged daily. The many staff members at Balmoral and its vast estate will beable to pay their respects.

From themoment of Elizabeth’s death in Balmoral Castle, Charles officially became themonarch of the United Kingdom of Britain and Northern Ireland, as well as thehead of state of Commonwealth countries such as Australia and Canada. Thenew king will be known as Charles III, a royal spokesperson said Thursday.

Such is theexpected outpouring of grief that space is being allocated outside BuckinghamPalace, the British monarch’s administrative headquarters, and at the queen'sother residences, for flowers and other tributes from the public, before theyare then gathered and taken to a designated floral tribute area in the adjacentGreen Park. Thousands of people are expected to leave messages in booksof condolences at Buckingham and St. James’s palaces, also in London, and atWindsor Castle, the family home of Britain’s kings and queens for 1,000 years.

WestminsterAbbey’s tenor bell and Great Tom, the state bell at St. Paul’s Cathedral, willpeal over London from noon for one hour. A royal gun salute will be fired atHyde Park in London and the Tower of London at 1 p.m. (8 a.m. ET), one every 10seconds for each year of Elizabeth’s life.

The coffinwill be carried from the Balmoral ballroom by a party of bearers consisting ofthe Balmoral estate head keep and six other keepers. The queen's officialbagpipe player, the Piper to the Sovereign, will walk ahead of the coffin as itleaves by hearse.

The queen’sbody will then be moved to Holyrood, her residence in Scotland’s capital,Edinburgh, where a military guard of honor will meet it.

InLondon, members of the Privy Council, a committee of senior current and formerpoliticians and judges who advise the monarch, will hear the new king say anoath and give a speech. For the first time, the meeting — a constitutionalformality known as the Accession Council — will be televised.

In one ofmany flourishes of pageantry, a ceremonial tune, or fanfare, will sound, and aGarter King of Arms, a heraldic position that has been in the royal householdsince 1484, will proclaim Charles the new king from a balcony of St. James’sPalace.The royal band will then play the first verse of the national anthem —which now has a new title: “God Save the King.”At that point, flags on publicbuildings can be raised to full staff.

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