.Prince Charles

•Vows to serve with loyalty, respect, love

•As Buhari, Atiku, Tinubu, Obi, others pay tributes

As Britain yesterday commenced period of mourning for Queen Elizabeth II who died on Thursday, the sombre mood of grief among crowds of mourners paying tribute to the Queen as “the grandmother of the nation” outside Buckingham Palace lifted as the King Charles III, Britain’s new monarch,  was welcomed with cheers. 

This is just as President Muhammadu Buhari, former President Goodluck Jonathan and other Nigerian leaders joined other leaders around the globe to pay tributes to the late Queen.

In his first address as King, the new monarch pledged to serve his people and the Commonwealth nations with loyalty, respect and love throughout his reign. He stated that he would uphold the constitutional principles at the heart of his nation. He said, “as the queen herself did with such unswerving devotion, I too now solemnly pledge myself, throughout the remaining time God grants me, to uphold the constitutional principles at the heart of our nation.

“And wherever you may live in the United Kingdom, or in the Realms and territories across the world, and whatever may be your background or beliefs, I shall endeavour to serve you with loyalty, respect and love, as I have throughout my life. My life will of course change as I take up my new responsibilities. In a little over a week’s time, we will come together as a nation, as a Commonwealth and indeed a global community, to lay my beloved mother to rest. In our sorrow, let us remember and draw strength from the light of her example”.

News of the Queen’s death broke at 6.30 p.m. on Thursday, throwing thousands of people from across the country and the globe into mourning.

Meanwhile, many have visited the royal residence in central London to feel part of a moment in history. Many were crying, praying and laying colorful flowers at the wrought iron gates on Friday.

However, nearby florists had sold out due to rocketing demand, and charity staff were selling white flowers in Green Park for those streaming down the pathways that lead to the Palace.

Buhari, Atiku, Tinubu, Obi mourn pay tributres

Meanwhile, Nigerian leaders have paid tributes to the late Queen Elizabeth, describing her as an outstanding leader.

In a statement issued by Garba Shehu, presidential spokesman, President Muhammadu Buhari praised the late monarch for her contribution towards modernising Nigeria.

“My family and I, and the more than 200 million Nigerians have learned with immense sadness of the passing of the Queen and the end of her unique and wonderful 70-year reign. Her late Majesty was the only British Sovereign known to 90 percent of our population. Our thoughts and sincere condolences are with the Royal Family and the people of the United Kingdom and the entire Commonwealth as we join the entire world in mourning her loss.

“The story of modern Nigeria will never be complete without a chapter on Queen Elizabeth ll, a towering global personality and an outstanding leader. She dedicated her life to making her nation, the Commonwealth and the entire world a better place,” Buhari said.

Buhari also congratulated King Charles III on his ascension to the throne and prayed that his reign “will witness the continuing robust and sisterly relations between our two nations”.

On his part, former President Goodluck Jonathan described the queen as a role model who promoted unity among countries.

Jonathan said, “My deepest condolences to King Charles, the United Kingdom and the entire Commonwealth over the passing of HM Queen Elizabeth II, the longest reigning monarch in British history. She was a well-loved sovereign with a strong sense of duty and service, a champion of social change and a protagonist of modern Britain.

“Her Majesty was a remarkable matriarch who exemplified dignity, selflessness, and compassion and, for a long time, stood as a symbol of unity in the Commonwealth. Her death will be deeply felt across the world. May God comfort her family and grant her soul eternal repose.”

Atiku Abubakar, former vice-president and the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in a statement, described the monarch’s passing as the end of an era.

“The passing of Queen Elizabeth II comes to everyone around the globe with a rude shock. Her passing is an end of a golden era. Her reign was epochal, not just in the United Kingdom but the entire Commonwealth. The world has known only one Queen, and the passing of Queen Elizabeth II will be the end of an impactful reign, and for the rest of our humanity, it shall be the beginning of history. My thoughts and prayers are with the people and government of the United Kingdom and, importantly, the royal family,” he said.

Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), on his part, described the late queen as one of the country’s “greatest ever monarchs”, adding that “the world has lost a much cherished, revered and admired icon”.

“Her energy, dedication, deep sense of duty and firm belief in the glory of the United Kingdom, particularly in the most troubling and troubled times of her long and distinguished reign, are the lasting legacies for which she shall always be remembered. As the first British monarch to reach seven decades on the throne, her patriotic role birthed and sustained warm and enduring friendship between the United Kingdom and Nigeria”, Tinubu said.

Mr Peter Obi, Labour Party (LP) presidential candidate, expressed sadness over the passing of the queen, and said his thoughts and prayers are with the royal family.

According to him, “Hers was an impactful reign and beautiful and explored life devoted to democratic ideals, charity, selflessness and empathy. She will always be remembered by the lives, organisations, institutions and countries she positively touched during her reign.May she rest in eternal peace,”Obi tweeted.

Late Queen Elizabeth was a sincere leader – Bishop Kukah

The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah, in his tribute described the late Queen Elizabeth 11 of England as a committed royal leader, well-loved for her sincerity and sense of purpose.

Kukah told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in a telephone from Minna that “as a leader, Queen Elizabeth was well respected because of the enormous goodwill she brought into governance.

“She was a compassionate and determined administrator, a peacemaker and bridge builder who stepped in to lead the Commonwealth of Nations effectively. The beautiful and genteel face of Queen Elizabeth had long become etched in public memory across generations.

“She ascended the throne the year I was born and died on a significant date Sept. 8 which is the birthday of the Blessed Virginia Mary, Mother of Jesus Christ. It also marked my 11th episcopal ordination anniversary”. He explained that Queen Elizabeth impact went beyond the UK and Commonwealth but the entire world.

“She will be remembered as a moral force in world that has become severely fractured by hatred and other forms of extremism. Queen Elizabeth’s  reign covered a period of massive social, economic, technological and political change. It saw the transformation of the once global British Empire into a Commonwealth of 52 independent nations headed by the queen and the country’s entrance into and exit from the European Union.

“Fifteen prime ministers served under Elizabeth, from Winston Churchill on her accession to the throne in 1952 to Liz Truss,”  Kukah said.

British High Commission opens condolence register Sept 12

Meanwhile, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing has said that a condolence book will be opened at the High Commission from Sept. 12. Laing made this known on her official twitter handle @catrionalaing on Friday while dropping an online link for those who wish to express their condolences online.

“We will open a condolence book at our High Commission Office in the CBD Area of Abuja. From 12th to 16 September, and on 19th September, from 11a.m to 3p.m each day. Those wishing to express their condolences can do so in person here at royal.uk/send-message. A condolence book in Lagos will be available on invitation only,” Laing stated.

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