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King Charles III addresses Parliament, leads queen's procession in Scotland

Britain's King Charles III speaks during the presentation of Addresses by both Houses of Parliament in Westminster Hall, following the death of Queen Elizabeth II. Photo by UK House Of Lords/ Roger Harris/ UPI.
1 of 10 | Britain's King Charles III speaks during the presentation of Addresses by both Houses of Parliament in Westminster Hall, following the death of Queen Elizabeth II. Photo by UK House Of Lords/ Roger Harris/ UPI. | License Photo

Sept. 12 (UPI) -- Britain's King Charles III made his first speech as monarch to the British parliament on Monday before traveling to Scotland to lead the procession of his mother's coffin.

Charles gave the speech from Westminster Hall in London in a traditional ceremony in which lawmakers expressed their condolences upon the death of Queen Elizabeth II. She died Thursday at age 96.

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In his remarks, Charles praised the queen and said he's "deeply grateful" for lawmakers' condolences. He also said that he intends to continue his mother's "selfless duty" to Britain over her 70-year reign.

The new king called British Parliament "the living and breathing instrument of our democracy" and said the queen sought to uphold the country's deeply rooted history and traditions.

"As I stand before you today, I cannot help but feel the weight of history which surrounds us, and which reminds us of the vital parliamentary traditions to which members of both houses dedicate yourselves with such personal commitment to the betterment of us all," Charles III said.

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"My lords and members of the House of Commons, we gather today in remembrance of the remarkable span of the queen's dedicated service to her nations and peoples. She pledged herself to serve her country and her people and to maintain the precious principles of constitutional government which lie at the heart of our nation."

Hundreds of lawmakers crowded into the hall to hear Charles speak. The king gave his remarks in Westminster Hall because British monarchs are actually not allowed in the House of Commons -- a tradition that goes back to the 1600s and King Charles I, who at one point attempted to enter the chamber to arrest certain members of parliament.

Lawmakers didn't allow it and the confrontation resulted in a nine-year civil war and the eventual beheading of King Charles I, the temporary elimination of the British monarchy and 11 years of exile for King Charles II. No monarch has been allowed in the House of Commons since.

"Deep as our grief is, we know yours is deeper," Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle said to the king and Queen Consort Camilla. "There is nothing we can say in the praise of our late queen, your mother, that you do not already know."

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On Monday afternoon, Charles traveled to Edinburgh, where he led the procession of the queen's coffin from the Palace of Holyroodhouse to St. Giles' Cathedral.

The procession in front of a large crowd, 10 deep in some locations, covered what is known as Edinburgh's Royal Mile. Charles walked behind the coffin, joined by his siblings, Princess Anne and Princes Andrew and Edward, along with Anne's husband, Vice Adm. Sir Tim Laurence.

Charles' wife, Queen Consort Camilla, and Edward's wife, Sophie, the countess of Wessex, followed in a car. The family entered the cathedral for a short service.

St. Giles' Cathedral opened to the public to view the queen's coffin and will remain open for about 24 hours through Tuesday afternoon when the coffin will be transported to Edinburgh Airport and flown to London.

The British government warned members of the public not to camp out in advance of the processional day.

"If you camp before this time you may be asked to move on," the government said.

Charles, Camilla, Anne, Andrew and Edward watched over the coffin as they took part in a vigil.

It was part of a series of ceremonial events that will include: a procession to Westminster Hall and a service of prayer and reflection, a vigil at Westminster Hall, a state funeral service at Westminster Abbey on Sept. 19 and a committal service at St. George's Chapel in Windsor.

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The queen's coffin was flanked by the King's Body Guard for Scotland, the Royal Company of Archers, a ceremonial military unit.

Meanwhile on Monday, the English Football League said its postponement of games will last until Tuesday.

When play resumes, the contests will hold a moment of silence before each match and black armbands will be worn by players to honor the late queen. Flags will be flown at half-mast while the country's national anthem is played.

The postal service said it will suspend mail delivery next Monday for the queen's funeral. The day has also been declared a national bank holiday.

United Kingdom mourns Queen Elizabeth II

Members of the public watch the funeral procession of Queen Elizabeth II after her state Funeral at Westminster Abbey in London on September 19, 2022. Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI | License Photo

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