Queen Elizabeth II has died at age 96. The royal family gathered at her bedside in Balmoral Castle in Scotland.
Britain’s longest-reigning monarch has been planning for her succession for some time. Members of the royal family, including Charles, the longest-serving heir in British history, have increased their responsibilities as the queen’s health has declined.
Charles, as the queen’s eldest son, inherits the sovereign title and job as head of the Commonwealth, along with other assets such as land and property.
Prince Charles is the new King and head of state of the United Kingdom and 15 commonwealth nations following the death of his mother.
The former Prince of Wales automatically became the new monarch the moment Queen Elizabeth II died – but his coronation will likely not take place for many months.
Charles, 73, has been heir to the throne since 1952, four years after his birth at Buckingham Palace.
His former title, the Prince of Wales, will now likely be passed to his son, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, along with several other titles.
There have already been two King Charles’ in British history – with one of them ending up executed – and there were some question marks about what title the modern-day Charles would take.
The new monarch ascends to the throne as tributes pour in for his mother and her remarkable reign of more than 70 years.
As praise for the late Queen echoes around the globe, Charles will join the UK in a period of mourning for her.
In the past, the queen expressed desire for Charles to take over the Commonwealth. “It is my sincere wish that the Commonwealth will continue to offer stability and continuity for future generations, and will decide that one day the Prince of Wales should carry on the important work started by my father in 1949,” she said in 2018 after he was unanimously voted to be the next head.
Charles, 73, has waited decades to become king and is the longest-serving heir in British history. He is the eldest of four children born to the queen and her late husband, Prince Philip. When his mother assumed the throne at age 25, he became Britain’s heir apparent at age 3. Charles’s titles include Prince of Wales, Duke of Cornwall, Duke of Rothesay and Earl of Carrick.