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King Charles in Belfast, queen’s coffin to return to London

BELFAST, Northern Eire — King Charles III flew to Northern Eire on Tuesday on the most recent leg of his tour of the 4 components of the UK, the place a cheering crowd gathered to greet him in a area with a contested British and Irish identification that’s deeply divided over the British monarchy.

Within the newest outpouring of affection since Queen Elizabeth II’s dying final Thursday, a whole lot of individuals lined the road resulting in Hillsborough Citadel, the royal household’s official residence in Northern Eire, simply outdoors Belfast. The world in entrance of the gates to the fort was carpeted with a whole lot of floral tributes.

Charles and his spouse Camilla, the Queen Consort, bought out of their automotive to greet villagers — waving to the cheering crowd and typically utilizing each arms without delay to shake the mass of outstretched arms from folks together with schoolchildren in shiny blue uniforms.

Charles even petted a corgi — famously his late mom’s favourite breed of canine — held up by one individual, and a few within the crowd chanted “God save the king!”

“At the moment means a lot to me and my household, simply to be current in my residence village with my youngsters to witness the arrival of the brand new king is a very historic second for us all,” mentioned Hillsborough resident Robin Campbell, as he waited for the brand new monarch.

“Though it’s also a day tinged with nice unhappiness as we witness a loving son coming to our village whereas we’re all in mourning for the lack of a very magnificent queen and his loving mom,” he added.

Whereas there was a heat welcome in Hillsborough, the British monarchy attracts blended feelings in Northern Eire, the place there are two predominant communities: principally Protestant unionists who take into account themselves British and largely Roman Catholic nationalists who see themselves as Irish.

That break up fueled three a long time of violence often known as “the Troubles” involving paramilitary teams on each side and U.Ok. safety forces, by which 3,600 folks died. The royal household was touched personally by the violence: Lord Louis Mountbatten, a cousin of the queen and a much-loved mentor to Charles, was killed by an Irish Republican Military bomb in 1979.

A deep sectarian divide stays, 1 / 4 century after Northern Eire’s 1998 peace settlement.

For some Irish nationalists, the British monarch represents an oppressive overseas energy. However others acknowledge the queen’s function in forging peace. On a go to to Northern Eire in 2012, she shook arms with Sinn Fein deputy chief Martin McGuinness, a former IRA commander – a once-unthinkable second of reconciliation.

On Falls Highway in Belfast, a stronghold of nationalists, a number of partitions are adorned with murals of Bobby Sands, an iconic IRA member who died whereas on a starvation strike in jail in 1981, and others killed within the Troubles.

“No, he’s not our king. Bobby Sands was our king right here,” mentioned 52-year-old Bobby Jones. “Queen by no means executed nothing for us. By no means did. Not one of the royals do.”

However in an indication of how far Northern Eire has come on the highway to peace, representatives of Sinn Fein — the primary Irish nationalist celebration, linked through the Troubles to the IRA — are attending commemorative occasions for the queen and assembly the king on Tuesday.

Sinn Fein’s president, Mary Lou McDonald, paid tribute to the 96-year-old monarch following her dying final Thursday, calling her “a robust advocate and ally of those that consider in peace and reconciliation.”

The president and prime minister of the neighboring Republic of Eire are additionally attributable to attend a memorial service in Belfast, regardless of tense relations between Dublin and London over Brexit. Since Britain left the European Union in 2020, the U.Ok. and the EU have been wrangling over commerce guidelines for Northern Eire, the one a part of the U.Ok. that shares a border with a member of the bloc.

On Monday night time, Charles and his siblings, Anne, Andrew and Edward, their heads bowed, briefly stood vigil round their mom’s flag-draped coffin in St. Giles’ Cathedral as members of the general public filed previous.

The next morning, a person carrying a go well with adorned with medals stood silently, bowed his head and moved on. A girl dabbed away tears with a handkerchief. One other girl with two younger youngsters of their college uniforms walked slowly previous the coffin.

Within the line of mourners outdoors St. Giles’ Cathedral within the historic coronary heart of Edinburgh, Sheila McLeay referred to as the queen “an exquisite ambassador for our nation.”

“She was such an instance for each single one in all us. She was dignified. She was simply, she was stunning inside and outside. And I’ve identified her all of my life. And I miss her very a lot,” she added.

The queen’s coffin was leaving Scotland later Tuesday to be flown again to London and pushed to her official London residence, Buckingham Palace.

The Royal Air Power C-17 Globemaster airplane that can carry the coffin has up to now been used to evacuate folks from Afghanistan and to take humanitarian help and weapons to Ukraine following Russia’s invasion, U.Ok. Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston mentioned.

Within the early hours of Tuesday, scores of employees had been seen cleansing litter and weeds from the highway between the air power base the place the airplane carrying the queen’s coffin will land and central London.

Jill Lawless and Mike Corder reported from London.

Observe AP tales on the dying of Queen Elizabeth II and Britain’s royal household at



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