The nation’s new monarch King Charles III was given a rapturous welcome as he greeted well-wishers gathered outside Buckingham Palace after returning to London following the death of his mother the Queen.
It was the new King’s first walkabout and encounter with the public since his historic accession and crowds lined up behind a barrier clamouring to greet him, smiling and taking photos of him on their phones.
One woman leaned over to kiss Charles’s right hand and another kissed him on the cheek as he thanked people for their good wishes, shaking countless hands after stepping from his state Bentley.
The Queen, as Camilla is now known, followed at a distance behind him, before joining his side to view the large collection of brightly coloured floral bouquets left in tribute to his mother.
Shouts of God Save the King went up, along with three cheers, for the new head of state, dressed in mourning black suit and tie, who smiled and waved at the mass of people.
The King must turn to his duties as monarch despite his grief, as he prepares to hold his first audience with Prime Minister Liz Truss ahead of delivering a televised address to a nation in mourning at 6pm on Friday.
Details of the King’s historic Accession Council, which will be held on Saturday at 10am in St James’s Palace, were announced by Buckingham Palace.
It will be televised for the first time in its history, showing the King being formally proclaimed monarch and Charles making his declaration and oath.
A Principal Proclamation will be read in public for the first time by the Garter King of Arms in the open air from the balcony overlooking Friary Court at St James’s an hour later at 11am.
It will be followed by a flurry of proclamations around the country, with the second one in the City of London at the Royal Exchange at midday on Saturday, and further proclamations in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales at midday on Sunday.
The Duke of Cornwall and Cambridge is also travelling back to Windsor to be with his family ahead of the Accession Council, which William will attend.
Charles and Camilla made the poignant journey from Balmoral, where the Queen died peacefully on Thursday at the age of 96, arriving at RAF Northolt in west London at around 1.35pm.
Tributes continue to be paid to the woman described by the Prime Minister as the “rock on which modern Britain was built”, with the Dalai Lama expressing his “deep sadness” over the death of the Queen in a letter to the King.
He told Charles: “Your mother lived a meaningful life with dignity, grace, a strong sense of service and a warm heart, qualities we all should treasure.”
Thousands of people have flocked the Queen’s former homes of Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and Balmoral to pay their respects, leaving hundreds of bouquets, personal notes and candles in her honour.
Charles has already turned his hand to his duties.
He gave the order that a period of “Royal Mourning” for the Queen will be observed from now until seven days after her funeral.
Royal Mourning will be observed by members of the royal family, royal household staff and representatives of the royal household on official duties, together with troops committed to ceremonial duties.
Royal salutes were fired with one round for every year of the Queen’s life on Friday at 1pm in Hyde Park by the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery.
Thousands of people stood in solemn silence for 16 minutes as the cannons boomed once every 10 seconds, sending smoke across the grounds with each round, applauding as the spectacle came to an end.
The PM and senior ministers will attend a public service of remembrance at St Paul’s Cathedral in central London this evening.