, the world’s newest monarch, was officially proclaimed sovereign of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland on Saturday morning in a constitutional ceremony that dates back hundreds of years. Nearly 700 members of the current Membership Council, the oldest functioning part of the British government, were called to meet on Saturday at St James’s Palace in London, the official residence of UK kings and queens for centuries .
The council is made up of privy councillors, a select group of high-profile politicians including new Prime Minister Liz Truss, Church of England religious figures, the Lord Mayor of London and a host of others senior officials throughout British society and the 14 other “kingdoms” or nations, for which the monarch is the official head of state.
While King Charles III immediately became king on the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, who died on Thursday after a record 70 years on the throne, it was the council’s role to officially recognize a monarch’s passing. and then to proclaim the new one in the name of the British government. It is part of the British constitutional process.
About 200 of the current privy councilors attended the debates in London on Saturday, including many former prime ministers and other senior politicians. The Privy Council is the oldest functional part of the British government, dating back nearly 1,000 years. For the first time in the long history of the Membership Council, the two-part ceremony was broadcast live on television on Saturday.
In the first part of the ceremony, British lawmaker Penny Mordaunt, Lord President of the Council, announced the death of Queen Elizabeth II, then Council Clerk Richard Tilbrook read aloud a proclamation of accession.
The proclamation was then signed by the council members.
For the second part of the council, King Charles joined the gathering at St James’s. Privy councilors watched as the new monarch read statements relating to his mother’s death, then took an oath swearing to serve his kingdom.
Pledging to follow his mother’s “inspirational example”, Charles said he was “deeply aware of this great heritage and of the heavy duties and responsibilities of sovereignty which have now been entrusted to me”.
“I know how much you and the whole nation, and I think I can say the whole world, sympathize with me in this irreparable loss that we have all suffered,” he said of the Queen’s passing. .
The new king then loudly endorsed a number of ordinances, including declaring the as-yet-unconfirmed date of his mother’s funeral as a national holiday. It is expected to take place on or around September 19.
As required by the British constitution, Charles also declared loyal service to the Church of Scotland, of which he is also the official head. He was then the first to sign two copies of this declaration, followed by his son and heir, William, Prince of Wales, and other witnesses.
Following debates in the Accession Council, the proclamation of King Charles as monarch was read aloud from the Proclamation Gallery, a balcony in St. James’s Palace, by the King of Arms of the Garter, accompanied by other officials – all wearing traditional clothing.
The trumpets sounded as the Garter King of Arms prepared to read the proclamation.
The proclamation, as read to the world by the Garter King of Arms, saw the assembled Privy Councilors and other members of the Membership Council formally declare that they “do now hereby, with one voice and with the consent of tongue and heart, publish and proclaim that Prince Charles Philip Arthur George has now, by the death of our late Sovereign of happy memory, become our sole and rightful overlord, Charles III, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and all His other Kingdoms and Territories, King, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith, to whom we acknowledge all Faith and Obedience with humble Affection, imploring God by who Kings and Queens reign, to bless his majesty with long and long Happy years to reign over us.”
Then another trumpet salute followed a shout of “God save the king!” by those gathered in the courtyard under the Proclamation Gallery. The assembly then sang the British national anthem,
The ceremony was to be followed later in the day by gun salutes and public rehearsals of the proclamation at other locations in London and then in the capitals of the UK’s other home nations, Edinburgh , in Scotland ; Belfast, Northern Ireland, and Cardiff, Wales, among other places in the 14 countries where Charles is the official head of state.
The remainder of King Charles’ third day on the job will involve a series of formal meetings – or “audiences”, as Buckingham Palace calls them – with officials including the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Prime Minister and other members of the cabinet, then the leaders of the British opposition political parties.