Kisses for the King: Charles greets hundreds of well-wishers outside Buckingham Palace

·3-min read
Kisses for the King: Charles greets hundreds of well-wishers outside Buckingham Palace

The King and His Queen Consort met their new subjects for the first time during an impromptu walkabout at Buckingham Place on Friday afternoon.

After flying down from Balmoral, they arrived in the State Rolls Royce shortly after 2.15pm, stopping at the gates, and immediately headed towards the crowds outside their new royal residence.

The prince, in a black suit and tie, was the picture of composure despite his grief, shaking hundreds of hands the length of the palace forecourt.

His arrival was signalled by cheers and cries of “God Bless The King!” as it approached.

Bodyguards and Clarence House staff awaited his arrival including his equerry and the Earl of Rosslyn, his Master of the Household. He was accompanied by his private secretary, Sir Clive Alderton.

As she shook hands people openly wept and cried “we’re so sorry”, “we’re so sorry for your loss”.

Victoria Binkey, 51, from Rutland, grabbed his hands and kissed them.

“You are so kind,” Charles said.

King Charles III greets members of the public waiting in the crowd upon arrival Buckingham Palace (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
King Charles III greets members of the public waiting in the crowd upon arrival Buckingham Palace (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

She explained afterwards that she hadn’t planned to do it but suddenly felt the need.

Other shouts of “we wish you success” and “thank you Charles, God Bless You” followed his progress.

Another woman grabbed his arm and said: “Good luck my darling, you are a good man.”

Another woman wept as she spoke to the Prince. “God Bless The Queen and God Bless You.”

The king didn’t stop, determined to meet as many people as possible.

Another told him: “We loved you Prince Charles and we loved your mum” and claps and cheers rang out.

The new Queen Consort also made her way slowly down the line to cries of “God Bless You Camilla.”

Charles and Camilla made the poignant journey from Balmoral, where the Queen died peacefully on Thursday (REUTERS)
Charles and Camilla made the poignant journey from Balmoral, where the Queen died peacefully on Thursday (REUTERS)

Dressed in a black Fiona Clare dress and coat, she, unlike her husband, couldn’t hide her distress. Red-eyed and hollow cheeked, she openly wept as she greeted well-wishers, clearly bereft at the loss of her mother-in-law and emotion of the occasion.

While very few people could be heard referring to her as Her Majesty - that will clearly take some getting used to - the reception couldn’t have been warmer.

“We love you Camilla” and “we are so sorry for your loss” rang out.

As Charles reached the end of the line the shout of “three cheers for the King, hip hip hooray” echoed across the street.

The King turned and looked for his wife, who soon caught up with him, still weeping, and they walked together the length of the front of the palace to view the floral tributes and gifts that had been left. They stopped at a flag bearing a picture of his late mother, speaking quietly to each other, before finally - the historic sense of the occasion sending shivers down the spine - walking through the wrought iron black gates and iconic arch into the palace quadrangle.

Members of the public gather at the Queen Victoria memorial outside of Buckingham Palace (Getty Images)
Members of the public gather at the Queen Victoria memorial outside of Buckingham Palace (Getty Images)

As they did they were saluted by Acting Chief Inspector Victoria Kneale, of London Palaces, who was in charge of the police operation.

The 7th Company of the Coldstream Guards were also present with a bugle salute.

Desley Jones, 52, and her husband Steven, 53, from North Wales, had been there for three hours.

“We told the King that we were so sorry for his loss and he thanked us,” she said,

Sarah Styles, 57, from Northern Ireland, said: “I said ‘Bless You and we love you’. I just felt I really needed to come down and pay my respects to the Queen and tell him that he is loved and supported.”