Queen Elizabeth II: NI Assembly to pay tribute to monarchon September 12, 2022 at 6:21 am

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The day before King Charles III visits NI, members will gather in the chamber to express condolences.

Northern Ireland, Belfast, Stormont assembly buildingsImage source, Getty/Eye Ubiquitous

Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) in Northern Ireland will gather at Stormont later to pay tribute to Queen Elizabeth II.

Assembly Speaker Sinn Féin’s Alex Maskey said he would gather members in the chamber at 12:30 BST.

Mr Maskey said it was important the assembly came together at the earliest opportunity “in recognition of a long life given to public service”.

A book of condolence will also be opened later in the Great Hall.

Her coffin will lie under vigil in St Giles’ Cathedral on Monday, before heading to London ahead of her funeral on 19 September.

The Assembly Commission has followed the other legislatures in closing Parliament Buildings to the public during the period of mourning.

A link to the official online books of condolences will be posted on the assembly website.

Alex Maskey

Image source, NI Assembly

As with other legislatures, it has been agreed that written questions will not be tabled during the period of official mourning.

Mr Maskey said he would be meeting party whips at 17:00 for the arrangements for the expression of condolences to be agreed and then issue a notice to members.

Charles III was proclaimed King at an elaborate ceremony on Saturday, with further proclamations taking place in UK nations on Monday.

King Charles is due to make his first visit to Belfast as monarch on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Liz Truss is expected to accompany the King, along with Camilla, the Queen Consort.

A girl leaves flowers at Hillsborough Castle, south of Belfast in Northern Ireland on September 11, 2022, following the death of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II

Image source, PAUL FAITH/AFP via Getty Images

Charles became King following the death of his mother, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, on Thursday and an historic meeting at St James’s Palace formally confirmed his role on Saturday.

As part of a UK tour, the King and Camilla will arrive in Belfast on Tuesday before travelling to Hillsborough Castle.

The Queen first visited Northern Ireland just after the end of World War Two in 1945, when she was Princess Elizabeth.

During Tuesday’s visit, King Charles will meet the new Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Chris Heaton-Harris, as well as local party leaders.

He is to receive a message of condolence led by the Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly.

GRAVESEND, UNITED KINGDOM - SEPTEMBER 10: King Charles III greets members of the crowd along the Mall during an impromptu walkabout following the death of Queen Elizabeth II

Image source, Dan Kitwood/ Getty Images

The King and Queen Consort will then meet leaders from all the major faiths in Northern Ireland before a service of prayer and reflection at St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast.

On Saturday, a gun salute at Hillsborough Castle marked the Principal Proclamation of King Charles.

At Hillsborough Castle on Sunday, the Accession Proclamation was read by the Norroy and Ulster King of Arms Robert Noel in front of an audience of dignitaries and members of the public.

Norroy and Ulster King of Arms is one of the three senior officers of arms at the College of Arms in London, the heraldic authority for England, Wales, Northern Ireland and parts of the Commonwealth.

The proclamation event featured military in full ceremonial dress, a bugler and a 21-gun salute.

Sinn Féin said it would not be represented at the reading of the Accession Proclamation at Hillsborough Castle.

However, the party said it acknowledged “the positive role the Queen played in advancing peace and reconciliation” and said that in recognition of this it would attend a number of events during the period of national mourning.

The Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP)’s councillor Simon Lee was in attendance.

The party said it had “not been prescriptive or prohibitive with its public representatives about attending events related to the death of Queen Elizabeth II”.

“It is for each representative to decide which events they attend, taking into account their personal circumstances and conscience.

“The SDLP Leader will attend a number of events in London this week and it is the intention of senior SDLP representatives to attend the motion of condolence and service of thanksgiving in Belfast on Tuesday.”

Following the formal regional proclamation at Hillsborough Castle, the document was read in several council areas by lord lieutenants or sheriffs.

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