King Charles III has continue his tour to his Kingdom as he arrived in Northern Ireland in preparation to greet well-wishers and heads to a church service honouring his late mother on the latest leg of his tour of the United Kingdom.
His Majesty is due to land in Belfast shortly before midday for his 40th visit to the province – but it is his first as King, and his saddest.
The new King spent last night n the Scottish capital where he and his three siblings held a silent vigil for their mother the Queen by forming a guard of honour around her coffin.
Swathes of people young and old were pictured waiting outside Hillsborough Castle on Tuesday morning, some waving flags baring the Union Jack and others holding colourful homemade signs aloft as they prepared for the arrival of the King.
Former boxing world champion Carl Frampton was among those waiting for the new monarch’s arrival at the official royal residence as he joined huge crowds who had gathered to revel in the historic moment.
The former featherweight champion said: ‘I am delighted to be here today, it is a momentous occasion.
‘Boris Johnson said it felt like the Queen would always be there and now, we are getting ready to meet and see a new king. You can see how momentous it is by the number of people who have turned up here today.’
Wellwishers lined the streets outside Hillsborough Castle, standing five-deep behind large metal barriers as they prepare for the new King’s first address in Northern Ireland.
Tourists from New Jersey in America were also among the enormous crowds which were swelling along the roads of the royal village.
Students Blaze Grabowski, Alina Stalker and Chloe Alce, who are all studying at Queen’s University in Belfast, said they were waiting to catch a glimpse of the new monarch and said it was ‘wonderful to see all the tradition’.
Other locals were up at first light erecting posters commemorating the visit of the King to the royal village. Robin Campbell, of County Down, was among them as he admitted the historic event was a bittersweet moment for him.
‘Today means so much to me and my family, just to be present in my home village with my children to witness the arrival of the new King is a truly historic moment for us all.
‘Although it is also a day tinged with great sadness as we witness a loving son coming to our village while we are all in mourning for the loss of a truly magnificent Queen and his loving mother.
‘The enormity of today hasn’t really sunk in yet. Just to see the royal village of Hillsborough thronged with well-wishers is truly magnificent.
‘The royal family has a special place in the hearts of all within our communities.’