“Death gun salutes” have been fired out across Great Britain as the nation enters a prolonged period of mourning following the passing of Queen Elizabeth II.
The long-reigning monarch died Thursday at Balmoral Castle, Scotland, at the age of 96.
On Friday afternoon, regiments gathered at significant sites across the UK firing 96-round salutes, with each round symbolizing a year of the queen’s life.
The salutes began simultaneously at 1 p.m., and took place at Hyde Park and the Tower of London, as well as at Cardiff Castle in Wales and Edinburgh Castle in Scotland.
Death gun salutes were also performed in York and Portsmouth in England; Gibraltar, off Spain’s coast; and Belfast, Northern Ireland.
One round was fired every 10 seconds, meaning the salutes lasted for more than 15 minutes in total.
Gun salutes are typically fired as a sign of respect or welcome but are also fired on special UK holidays, including the monarch’s birthday.
Death gun salutes, however, are quite rare. They have previously been performed following the passing of Queen Victoria in 1901 and the passing of Prime Minister Winston Churchill in 1965.
In Hyde Park, London, the salute was fired by the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery, with the sounds of the cannon fire heard at nearby Buckingham Palace.
Thousands of mourners stood in silence outside the gates of the royal residence as the salute unfolded.
Meanwhile, the salute under the Tower of London was carried out by the Honourable Artillery Company, which originated in 1537, making it the oldest regiment in the British Army.
Just hours after the salutes were performed, the queen’s oldest son and heir — the new King Charles III — arrived outside Buckingham Palace to greet mourners.
The 73-year-old is set to give a televised address to the nation at 6 p.m., but his official coronation will not take place for several weeks.
On Thursday evening, following the death of Queen Elizabeth, Charles released a statement mourning his late mother.
“The death of my beloved mother, Her Majesty, the queen, is a moment of the greatest sadness for me and all members of my family,” King Charles III said.
“We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished sovereign and a much-loved mother. I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world.”