Britain’s King Charles gestures outside Buckingham Palace, following the death of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth, in London, Britain September 9, 2022.
Henry Nicholls | Reuters
King Charles was officially proclaimed Britain’s new monarch on Saturday in a ceremony at St. James’s Palace where former prime ministers, bishops and a host of politicians shouted “God Save The King”.
The death of Queen Elizabeth, 96 Thursday, after 70 years on the throne, set in motion long-established and highly choreographed plans for national days of mourning and a state funeral that will take place in just over a week.
Charles, 73, immediately succeeded his mother on Thursday, but a Membership Council met on Saturday to proclaim his succession, with his son and heir William, his wife Camilla and Britain’s new Prime Minister Liz Truss among those who signed the proclamation.
Giving his personal statement, Charles said: “In fulfilling the heavy task entrusted to me and to which I now dedicate what remains to me of my life, I pray for the direction and help of God All -Powerful.”
The proclamation was also to be read publicly in the other UK capitals – Edinburgh in Scotland, Belfast in Northern Ireland and Cardiff in Wales – and other places as well.
The death of Elizabeth, Britain’s longest-serving monarch, has prompted an outpouring of tributes from across the country and around the world. Monuments have been used to celebrate his life, with buildings in Europe, America and Africa lit up in the red, white and blue of the UK.
In Britain, people began gathering outside the royal palaces in the early hours of Saturday morning, with thousands heading to Buckingham Palace to pay their respects to the Queen and Charles – who was proclaimed king at the palace Neighboring St James.
“This is a poignant time in our country’s history,” said design director Ian Bilboe, 54. “(We are) here to be part of that and show respect to the late queen and also the new king.”
Charles is King and Head of State of the United Kingdom and 14 other kingdoms, including Australia, Canada, Jamaica, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.
Britain has declared a period of mourning until the state funeral of Elizabeth, once described by her grandson Harry as “the nation’s grandmother”. The date has not been announced but it is expected in just over a week.
World leaders are expected in London for the funeral, including US President Joe Biden, who said on Friday he would attend.
Charles’ coronation as king will take place at a later date – and the timing is not yet clear. There was a 16-month gap between Elizabeth becoming queen in 1952 and her coronation in 1953.
The new king vowed on Friday to serve the nation with “loyalty, respect and love” in his first address to the nation as king.
Earlier on Friday, returning to London from Scotland where his mother died, he was greeted with cheers, applause and a crowd chanting ‘God Save The King’ as he made his first public appearance outside the palace of Buckingham.
Charles also said in his speech that he had made his eldest son William, 40, the new Prince of Wales, the title which had been his for more than 50 years and is traditionally held by the heir to the throne.
William’s wife Kate becomes Princess of Wales, a role last held by the late Princess Diana.
Thousands of people have gathered at the royal palaces since Thursday to pay their respects to the late Queen, some shedding tears as they lay flowers and others wanting to celebrate the life of a monarch who, for most Britons, was the only one they ever knew.
Elizabeth, who was the world’s oldest and longest serving head of state, ascended to the throne following the death of her father, King George VI, on February 6, 1952, when she was just 25 year.
Over the decades, she has witnessed a seismic shift in the social, political and economic structure of her nation. She has won praise for guiding the monarchy into the 21st century and modernizing it in the process, despite intense media scrutiny and her family’s often very public setbacks.
Charles, who according to the polls is less popular than his mother, now has the task of ensuring the future of the institution.