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Thursday December 8th, 2022 3:24PM

Live updates: Crowds cheer new king on first Belfast visit

By The Associated Press
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BELFAST, Northern Ireland — A crowd cheered King Charles III and Camilla, the Queen Consort, as they arrived at St. Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast as part of the new monarch’s first visit to Northern Ireland.

The sovereign received a similarly warm welcome earlier in the day at Hillsborough Castle, the royal residence in Northern Ireland.

A service of reflection at St. Anne’s Cathedral for the king’s late mother, Queen Elizabeth II, began with a trumpet fanfare by the band of the Royal Irish Regiment.

The leaders of Britain and Ireland joined politicians from Northern Ireland in the congregation. They included British Prime Minister Liz Truss, her Irish counterpart Micheal Martin and Irish President Michael D. Higgins.

Clergy praised the queen’s role in helping bring peace to Northern Ireland. Archbishop of Armagh John McDowell said the queen “walked the hard road of reconciliation.”

Services are being held in the capitals of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales ahead of the queen’s funeral at Westminster Abbey in London on Monday.

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KEY DEVELOPMENTS:

— A piece of the queen: New souvenirs mark monarch’s death

— Anger over past, indifference meets queen’s death in India

— After the death of a renowned queen, life in London goes on

— Queen hailed in Scotland “as a constant in our lives”

— Loss of unifying queen could fray the bonds of fractious UK

— People wanting to pay final respects to queen face long wait, strict rules

— For Queen Elizabeth II, Balmoral estate was place to ‘be normal’

— Former British colonies are conflicted over Queen Elizabeth II's legacy

— What’s next for the UK as Queen Elizabeth II laid to rest

— Find more AP coverage here: https://apnews.com/hub/queen-elizabeth-ii

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OTHER DEVELOPMENTS:

BELFAST, Northern Ireland — The speaker of Northern Ireland’s Assembly has delivered a message of condolence to King Charles III, paying tribute to his late mother Queen Elizabeth II’s efforts to build peace in Ireland.

Alex Maskey said Tuesday the queen had not been “a distant observer” in Northern Ireland’s peace process. He said she showed “how individual acts of positive leadership can help break down barriers and encourage reconciliation.”

“She showed that a small and insignificant gesture – a visit, a handshake, crossing the street or speaking a few words of Irish – can make a huge difference in changing attitudes and building relationships,” he said.

Charles and his wife, Camilla, listened to Maskey’s speech before meeting with Northern Ireland’s party leaders, including Michelle O’Neill, vice president of the Irish republican party Sinn Féin.

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BELFAST, Northern Ireland — King Charles III has pledged to follow in the footsteps of his late mother, Queen Elizabeth II, and work for peace in Northern Ireland.

Speaking Tuesday to Northern Ireland’s political leaders, including those from nationalist parties who want Northern Ireland to leave the United Kingdom and become part of the Republic of Ireland, the new monarch said he would draw on his mother’s “shining example” and seek the welfare of everyone in Northern Ireland.

The British monarchy draws mixed emotions in Northern Ireland, where Protestant unionists consider themselves British and Roman Catholic nationalists see themselves as Irish.

The political and religious divisions fueled three decades of violence known as “the Troubles,” involving paramilitary groups on both sides and U.K. security forces, in which 3,600 people died.

Irish nationalist Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly praised Queen Elizabeth II’s role in the peace process, in a message of condolence to King Charles III.

Alex Maskey, a member of Sinn Fein, said at the Belfast ceremony that the example of the queen had helped “break down barriers and encourage reconciliation” in Northern Ireland.

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NEW YORK — U.S. First Lady Jill Biden has shared her memories of Queen Elizabeth II, recalling when she and President Joe Biden met the British monarch at Windsor Castle in June 2021.

The visit came shortly after the queen’s husband, Prince Philip, had died after 73 years of marriage. Even though the Bidens had been instructed not to raise the subject of family, the queen began talking about just that.

“I think she just wanted to talk about her husband,” Jill Biden said in a taped interview broadcast Tuesday on NBC’s “Today.”

The queen poured tea for her visitors, showed her independence and also her curiosity, Jill Biden said.

“You know, she wanted to know all about American politics, what was happening, so she put us at ease,” she said.

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BELFAST, Northern Ireland — King Charles III has received a rapturous welcome at Hillsborough Castle, the royal residence in Northern Ireland, on his first visit as monarch.

The sovereign and Camilla, the Queen Consort, flew to Belfast from Edinburgh on Tuesday, the same day the queen’s coffin will be flown to London from Scotland.

Cheers and applause greeted the royal couple as they arrived at Hillsborough, with some in the crowd shouting “God save the king!” The royal couple stopped to chat with some of the well-wishers.

The royal standard was raised on the castle’s flagpole as the monarch came in, and a 21-gun salute rang out on the castle grounds.

King Charles is to visit an exhibition about his late mother’s long association with Northern Ireland.

He is also due to meet political leaders from Northern Ireland and hold a meeting with the British government’s secretary of state for Northern Ireland.

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LONDON — British officials say some 500 foreign dignitaries will attend Queen Elizabeth II’s state funeral, but invitations have not been sent to the leaders of Russia, Belarus or Myanmar.

Officials said the funeral next Monday, to be held at London’s Westminster Abbey, will be the biggest international event Britain has hosted in decades.

U.S. President Joe Biden was among the first to announce that he would be flying in with his wife, Jill Biden. The leaders of most Commonwealth countries, including Australia, New Zealand and Canada, are also expected to attend.

France’s Emmanuel Macron, Germany’s Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Italy’s Sergio Mattarella, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro are among the presidents attending.

Japan’s Emperor Naruhito and Spain’s King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia, as well as former Spanish monarch Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofia, are also due to travel to London for the occasion.

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EDINBURGH, Scotland — King Charles and Camilla, the Queen Consort, have left Edinburgh on their way to Belfast.

In Northern Ireland on Tuesday, they will visit 18th-century Hillsborough Castle, which is the official royal residence.

The royal couple are to meet with Northern Ireland Secretary of State Chris Heaton-Harris and leaders of local political parties.

They will then meet with leaders of Northern Ireland’s major faiths.

Afterward, a commemorative service will be held at St Anne’s cathedral in Belfast, where an 18th-century parish church once stood.

The royal couple fly to London later in the day.

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LONDON — Britain’s Poet Laureate, Simon Armitage, has penned a poem in tribute to Queen Elizabeth II.

The poem published Tuesday, “Floral Tribute,” is in the form of a double acrostic, which means that the first letter of each line spells out Elizabeth when taken together. It describes the coming of a September evening and references one of the queen’s favorite flowers, the lily of the valley.

“The country loaded its whole self into your slender hands / Hands that can rest, now, relieved of a century’s weight,” he wrote.

Armitage told the BBC Tuesday that he featured the queen’s first name because he wanted to take a personal approach.

He said the queen’s name was something “she probably rarely got to hear very much because everybody had to preface that with ceremonial nominals.”

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BELFAST, Northern Ireland — King Charles’ visit to Northern Ireland is a politically delicate trip for the new sovereign.

There are mixed feelings about the British monarchy in Northern Ireland, where there are two main communities: mostly Protestant unionists who consider themselves British and largely Roman Catholic nationalists who see themselves as Irish.

That divide fueled three decades of violence known as “the Troubles” involving paramilitary groups on both sides and U.K. security forces, in which 3,600 people died.

The royal family 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 Army bomb in 1979.

A deep sectarian divide remains, a quarter century after Northern Ireland’s 1998 peace agreement.

But in a sign of how far Northern Ireland has come on the road to peace, representatives of Sinn Fein — the main Irish nationalist party, linked during the Troubles to the IRA — are attending commemorative events for the queen and meeting the king on Tuesday.

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EDINBURGH, Scotland — While King Charles and Camilla, the Queen Consort, travel to Northern Ireland on Tuesday, the queen’s coffin will be flown to London.

St. Giles’s Cathedral in Edinburgh, where members of the public are paying their respects as the coffin lies at rest, is to close at 3 p.m. (1400 GMT).

Two hours later, a hearse will take the coffin by road to Edinburgh airport. Princess Anne will accompany the coffin on its flight to London.

From RAF Northolt, west of London, the coffin will be driven to Buckingham Palace where it will be met by members of the royal family.

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EDINBURGH, Scotland — King Charles is due to fly to Northern Ireland on Tuesday on the latest leg of his tour of the nations that make up the United Kingdom.

Thousands of people lined up through the night in Edinburgh to pay their last respects to his mother’s coffin at St. Giles’ Cathedral in the Scottish capital. Some people even walked past the coffin and then rejoined the end of the line to get a second view.

On Monday night, Charles and his siblings, Anne, Andrew and Edward, their heads bowed, briefly stood vigil around their mother’s flag-draped coffin as members of the public filed past.

Early Tuesday, a man wearing a suit adorned with medals stood silently, bowed his head and moved on. A woman dabbed away tears with a handkerchief. Another woman with two young children in their school uniforms walked slowly past the coffin.

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EDINBURGH, Scotland — King Charles III and his siblings have stood in silent vigil around their mother Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin in St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh.

Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward lowered their heads as they stood at four sides of the oak coffin on Monday evening. They stood for about 10 minutes alongside four members of the Royal Company of Archers, who stood guard armed with arrows and quivers.

As they performed the traditional vigil, a procession of members of the public lined up to view the queen’s coffin and filed past. Some bowed as they passed the king, while others walked solemnly by with their heads lowered.

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LONDON — Officials in charge of the park outside Buckingham Palace have told people to stop leaving marmalade sandwiches as a tribute to Queen Elizabeth II because of the “negative impact on the park’s wildlife.”

Some mourners have left the snacks alongside floral tributes at Buckingham Palace and neighboring Green Park. The sandwiches are a reference to a comedy sketch featuring the queen and an animated Paddington Bear filmed for the late monarch’s Platinum Jubilee earlier this year.

In the video, the queen said that like Paddington Bear she also favors marmalade sandwiches and hides them in her purse “for later.”

The Royal Parks organization said Monday people should not leave the snacks but could leave teddy bears and other items if they wished.

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