Parliament Paused For Tributes To Queen Elizabeth II And Period Of Mourning
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip at the State Opening of Parliament in 2003 (Alamy)
The Houses of Commons and Lords have suspended usual business to hear tributes from MPs and peers for the Queen, who died on Thursday aged 96.
Prime Minister Liz Truss is expected to open proceedings in the House of Commons at midday on Friday, with tributes set to last until approximately 10pm.
The Commons will also hold a rare Saturday sitting, which will open at 1pm with senior MPs taking an oath of allegiance to the King. All MPs will have the option to take the oath, but it is not compulsory.
Tributes from MPs will follow until 10pm. The House is not expected to sit on Sunday.
The final business of the day on Saturday will be the consideration “of a formal humble address to His Majesty The King expressing the deep sympathy of the House on the death of Her late Majesty The Queen”, the Commons said in a statement.
A similar pattern will be followed in the Lords, which will also sit on Saturday and end proceedings by agreeing an address of condolence to King Charles III.
Members have been advised to wear “sombre clothing” when attending the parliamentary estate.
In a statement, Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle said the Queen had been “a constant presence in our lives” who had “exercised a calm and steadying influence over our country”.
“Most of us have never known a time when she was not there. Her death is not only a tragedy for the Royal family, but a terrible loss for us all,” he continued.
Lord McFall, Speaker in the Lords, also praised the late Queen’s “loyal and steadfast presence in the national life of the United Kingdom”.
“Her integrity, unique record of public service, deep sense of faith and commitment to her role have ensured that she will be regarded as a supreme example of a constitutional Monarch,” he said.
“Her vital relationship with our Chamber, where the three elements of Parliament come together during the State Opening, ensures that she will be forever remembered and cherished by the House of Lords.”
Cabinet met this morning to offer tributes to the Queen, and held a moment of silence at the end.
Nadhim Zahawi, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, also chaired a meeting with relevant ministers, police officials and representatives from the Royal Household this morning to discuss plans going forward.
The Prime Minister met with King Charles III this afternoon, before attending a service dedicated to the Queen at St Paul's Cathedral, London.
On Saturday the PM and Cabinet will attend the Accession Council, where Charles will be formally proclaimed monarch in the State Apartments of St James's Palace.
Leader of the House of Commons, Penny Mordaunt, will officiate as Lord President of the Privy Council.
At midday Nadhim Zahawi, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, will chair the daily Ministerial Coordination Meeting, before Truss heads to the Commons for the start of the second day of tributes by MPs to the Queen, and senior politicians will re-take the oath of allegiance to the new King.
The PM and Cabinet will also have an audience with the King later on Saturday afternoon.
Tributes have poured in for the Queen from former prime ministers, world leaders, and civic figures.
Prime Minister Truss led the tributes, describing the Queen as “the rock on which our country was built” and said her death was "a huge shock to the nation and to the world".
News of Her Majesty’s death has triggered a highly detailed plan known by the codename Operation London Bridge. It includes important steps from the British political establishment.
Because the Queen has died while at her Balmoral residence in Scotland, an additional plan, Operation Unicorn will be undertaken to bring her back to London.
A separate process, Operation Spring Tide, which sees Charles become King, will also take place.
All government business will now be paused during an official period of mourning that will end with her funeral.
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