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King Charles will remain in Scotland tonight and return to London tomorrow. Chris Radburn/PA
king charles

What happens now? Britain's queen has died and Charles is the UK’s new monarch

Charles has inherited the sovereign title along with hundreds of millions of pounds worth of assets, such as land and property.

AFTER SPENDING VIRTUALLY his whole life as heir apparent 73-year-old Charles Windsor has finally become the UK’s king.

Born on November 14, 1948, Charles became heir to the throne at the young age of three years and three months.

In keeping with the Latin maxim “Rex nunquam moritur” – the king never dies – there is no interregnum, so Charles’ accession to the British throne was immediate following the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, at her residence in Balmoral, Scotland, this afternoon.

As the queen’s eldest son, Charles inherited the sovereign title and job as head of the Commonwealth, along with hundreds of millions of pounds worth of assets, such as land and property.

An Accession Council – a ceremonial body which meets on the death of a monarch – will meet tomorrow morning to proclaim him king. The ceremony will take place at St James’s Palace in central London.

The king will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow, when he’s expected to have an audience with UK Prime Minister Liz Truss.

There had been years of speculation about what name the new king would choose as he had four to pick from – Charles Philip Arthur George.

However, shortly after the queen’s death was announced it was confirmed that Charles will be known as King Charles III, making him the first king of that name to sit on the British throne since 1685.

The coronation should take place in the weeks to come, once the immediate shock at the queen’s death has passed.

The queen herself was crowned in June 1953, some 16 months after she was proclaimed queen on the death of her father, king George VI.

Charles’ eldest son, William, who held the Duke of Cambridge title, is elevated to the Prince of Wales position and is now first in line to the throne.

William will also take on the responsibility, and multi million-pound income, of the Duchy of Cornwall estates.

One of Charles’ first jobs is to decide on the length of court mourning for members of the royal family and royal households. It is expected to last a month, according to the Press Association.

The UK Government will confirm the length of national mourning, which is likely to be around 12 to 13 days, from now up to the day after the queen’s funeral.

They will also announce that the funeral day will be a public holiday in the form of a Day of National Mourning.

The new king is also expected to make a televised address to Britain tomorrow, which he is due to pre-record.

In contrast to the neutrality his mother observed, Charles has at times courted controversy with strongly held views  that have made him a more outspoken, divisive figure.

As recently as June, amid reports Charles had expressed views opposing the UK government’s policy on deporting asylum seekers to Rwanda, his official residence Clarence House issued a statement saying he would remain “politically neutral” as monarch.

While Elizabeth became queen aged 25 to huge popular support in a Britain recovering from World War II, the public has had decades to form its opinion – good or bad – of Charles.

The world knows him best not just for his fairy tale wedding to Diana Spencer in 1981 but also their very public estrangement and divorce in the 1990s.

But while that has cemented public opinion against him for some, Charles has been largely rehabilitated since his marriage to Camilla Parker Bowles.

An advocate for sustainability, alternative medicine and gardening, since 2007 Charles has published his own carbon footprint.

But in recent months his former senior aides have been embroiled in scandals about donations, prompting a police investigation.

According to one YouGov poll in May 2022, he had a 56% approval rating – well behind the queen (81%), his eldest son William (77%), and William’s wife, Catherine (76%).

Contains reporting from AFP and Press Association

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