LONDON – While Prince Charles automatically becomes Britain’s new king on the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth IIon Thursday, his role was officially announced Saturday morning in a flashy and formal ceremony at St. James, a Tudor royal residence near Buckingham Palace.
Charles will spend most of the first 10 days of his reign leading his country in mourning for the queen, whose state funeral will be held on 19 September at Westminster Abbey, Palace Buckingham announced on Saturday.
On Sunday, six custodians from Balmoral Castle, the Scottish summer retreat where the queen died, are expected to load her oak coffin into a hearse, which will transport it in a six-hour journey to Edinburgh. On Monday, the king will travel to Scotland, where his mother will lie in state at St. Giles’.
First, however, Charles underwent a more than 300-year-old ritual whereby the kings and queens of England were declared sovereign. It was the first time that the public was allowed to watch the procedure in action, as King Charles III’s proclamation was televised live, interweaving a bit of modernity with tradition.
In a solemn, emotional ceremony, carried out according to etiquette and echoes of a bygone era, the Accession Council certified Charles as king, among other proceedings. A remarkable moment came when a room filled with former prime ministers and other members of the great and good country declared in unison: “God save the king”.
King Charles then solved the roomand country, emphasizing his mother’s legacy and his commitment to continuing it.
The king said: “My mother set an example of lifelong love and selfless service. “Even as we grieve, we thank this most faithful life. I am deeply aware of this great inheritance and the heavy duties and responsibilities of sovereignty that have now been entrusted to me.”
The ceremony had two parts, the first of which included a meeting of the King’s Privy Council, a group of senior advisers. Six living former prime ministers – Boris Johnson, Theresa May, David Cameron, Gordon Brown, Tony Blair and John Major – were present as members, as was Keir Starmer, leader of the opposition Labor Party. Also present was the Commonwealth’s secretary general, Patricia Scotland, underscoring Charles’ importance to his role as head of the bloc.
“I will strive to follow the inspiring example I have been given in upholding constitutional government,” said Charles, “and to seek peace, harmony and prosperity among the peoples of the islands. this island as well as of territories and commonwealths around the world.”
The Privy Council also includes Prince William, who, as the new heir to the throne, was given the title Prince of Wales by his father on Friday. Its other members – Charles’s wife, Camilla, queen consort; Prime Minister Liz Truss; and high-ranking religious figures – all signed the manifesto during the ceremony.
Notably, not a single person was present at the ceremony when Elizabeth was declared sovereign 70 years ago.
The queen’s state funeral will be the first in Britain since Winston Churchill in 1965. The palace made the arrangements during a briefing on Saturday, highlighting the years, if not is decades, the plan has gone into it. The initial focus will be on Scotland, where the queen’s body will be kept for the next three days.
On Monday, her coffin will be moved in a procession on the Royal Mile, a major thoroughfare in Edinburgh’s Old Town, to the church, where there will be ceremonies and prayers. Charles and Camilla will be part of that procession, with some members of the royal family following behind the coffin and others in cars.
The Queen will lie in state until Tuesday afternoon, when her coffin will be loaded onto a Royal Air Force jet, which will transport it to Northolt Air Force Base in west London. It will be loaded into a state hearse and driven to Buckingham Palace, arriving at 8pm, when it will be placed on a truss in the ballroom.
At exactly 2:22 p.m. Wednesday, the coffin, now adorned with a crown of state and a wreath, will be delivered by gun carriage in a quiet procession from Buckingham Palace, past the Mall. shopping and through the Guards Parade, making the way to Westminster Hall in the Palace of Westminster.
How the world reacted to the Queen’s death
Queen Elizabeth II’s death sparked a global flurry of reactions, from heartfelt tributes to anti-monarchy sentiment.
Following the blessing of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, the queen will lie down at Westminster Hall for four days until the morning of the funeral, when her coffin will again be moved to nearby Westminster Abbey.
Buckingham Palace declined to estimate how many people might have passed through her coffin in those days, although based on funerals of other royals it could be in the tens, even hundreds of thousands. .
In London on Saturday, Charles met his Privy Council and made public statements following the script that generations of monarchs before him had made. He issued a personal and political inaugural statement, as well as taking an oath to defend the Church of Scotland.
The meeting also included a formal proclamation for King Charles III to sign, including one that made the queen’s funeral a national holiday.
While the ceremony often feels like a relic of earlier times, the formalities give a nod to the foundations of the modern British state. After the meeting, a manifesto was read out as the trumpet blew from the balcony at St. James, and the King of Arms Garter – the king’s chief advisor on matters of ceremony and crest – officially proclaimed King Charles III’s reign.
The old and the new are completely opposite. Members of the public gathered to hear the statement holding cell phones overhead to capture the scene as they sang “Christ the King,” the newly adapted national anthem.
Equestrian messengers from the palace passed the manifesto across the country, but it was first read at noon at the Royal Exchange in London. It will be heard again on Sunday in the capitals of other UK countries. Historically, relaying these royal announcements was the fastest way to spread news of a new king’s ascension to the throne.
However, Charles’ day doesn’t end with ceremony. Late Saturday, he met Ms. Truss and members of her cabinet. He also had audiences with senior members of the Labor Party, the archbishop of Canterbury and the chancellor of Westminster.