By Jack Phillips

Queen Elizabeth II’s son and the new king of the United Kingdom, Charles, released a statement mourning his mother’s death on Thursday.

Charles was immediately referred to as king by Buckingham Palace, which announced Elizabeth’s death on Thursday evening local time. Camila, his wife, was referred to as queen consort.

A spokesman for his office told The Telegraph and Sky News on Thursday that he will be called King Charles III. He had a choice of taking on another name.

In a statement, Charles called his mother’s death “a moment of the greatest sadness for me and all members of my family.”

“We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished Sovereign and a much-loved Mother. I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world,” he added.

“During this period of mourning and change, my family and I will be comforted and sustained by our knowledge of the respect and deep affection in which The Queen was so widely held,” King Charles said.

The palace said the queen “died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon,” adding the “King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow.”

Charles will be officially proclaimed king in the near future. The event takes place at St James’s Palace in London in front of a ceremonial body called the Accession Council.

In recent months, Charles stood in for his mother as she faced mobility issues and other health problems. For example, he represented the queen at various appearances during the Platinum Jubilee celebrations, marking her 70 years on the throne, and at other events.

Reactions

New UK Prime Minister Liz Truss called on Britons to “come together” to support the new monarch.

(L-R) Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Queen Elizabeth II, Prince George, and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge pose during a Royal Mail photoshoot for a stamp sheet to mark the 90th birthday of Queen Elizabeth II in the White Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace in London, England, in the summer of 2015. (Ranald Mackechnie/Royal Mail/Getty Images)

“In the difficult days ahead, we will come together with our friends across the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth and the world, to celebrate her extraordinary lifetime of service,” Truss said in a statement. “It is a day of great loss, but Queen Elizabeth II leaves a great legacy.”

After Elizabeth’s death, a number of world leaders offered their condolences.

“We mourn the death of Queen Elizabeth II. She was a role model and inspiration for millions, also here in Germany. Her commitment to German-British reconciliation after the horrors of World War II will remain unforgotten. She will be missed, not least her wonderful humor,” said German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

Added French President Emmanuel Macron, “I remember her as a friend of France, a kind-hearted queen who has left a lasting impression on her country and her century.”

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