King Charles III received the heartfelt condolences and kisses from the public when he arrived at Buckingham Palace for the first time as the nation’s new monarch.
Charles and the Queen travelled to the head of state’s official residence from Balmoral to view floral tributes left in memory of his mother, and to thank the crowds for offering their sympathy.
In a touching moment Charles put his hand around his wife who appeared close to tears after the couple shook every outstretched hand and acknowledged words of sympathy from the crowds during a 15-minute walkabout at the place gates.
There was an outpouring of support for the new monarch and his wife from well-wishers, with one calling out “God save the King” when the couple first arrived, another shouting out “We love you King Charles and we loved your mum”, and spontaneous cheering.
Charles was given a peck on the cheek by one female well-wisher and another clutched his hand and with both of hers and kissed it.
There was also an impromptu rendition of the national anthem from parts of the crowed, with the words changed to reflect the country now has a King, while another section shouted “hip, hip hooray”.
Emma Spreckley, 43, had travelled to Buckingham Palace with her friend Jacqueline Southwick, 55, from their homes in Mitcham, south London.
She was sympathetic to the grieving King: “He looked a bit shocked, I suppose he is as it’s your mum at the end of the day, and now he’s here shaking people’s hands and trying to, I suppose, get through it as best he can.”
In reference to the thousands who were at the palace to pay their respects to the late Queen, Ms Southwick added “Seeing all this – he’s got the support of the nation.”
When the King’s state Rolls Royce was first spotted by the crowds as it neared the palace a cheer when up from well-wishers who had gathered in their thousands outside the gates of the royal residence.
One of the first to offer words of support to the new King was Laura Ohmona. After shaking hands with Charles, she said: “I said to him ‘sorry for your loss’ and he said ‘thank you’.”
Charles smiled at the words of praise he received form the public and at several moments threw up his hands as if to say “thank you” when condolences were shouted out.
Josephine Bennett, 53, from London said a few words to the grieving King and said afterwards: “I said ‘we love you Charles’ and he said ‘thank you very much’.
“This is all very surreal, but I’m so happy he’s here, I wanted to see him.”
The King and his wife also looked at the letters, cards, bouquets and candles left in memory of the Queen, walking past the tributes placed against the gates of the palace.
Among them were some poignant mementos like a model Corgi – a breed loved by the Queen – and a Paddington Bear soft toy in reference to the Queen’s recent appearance with the famous fictional character during her Platinum Jubilee celebrations.
In a symbolic moment, the couple walked into the palace through its central gates which were opened to allow them pass into the forecourt where soldiers from 7 Company, the Coldstream Guards, were on guard, as a bugler played a plaintive tune.