King Charles III was officially proclaimed as the new monarch of the United Kingdom on Saturday, as a historic ceremonial body known as the Accession Council met to confirm his succession from his late mother. Although Charles instantly became king after the death of Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday, the council — which is made of senior government and church officials — convened at London’s St. Jame’s Palace and a “principal proclamation” was read from a balcony, an act that will be repeated in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Chants of “God save the king” rang out, as did gun salutes and trumpets. “I shall strive to follow the inspiring example I have been set in upholding constitutional government,” Charles said before the council.
The United Kingdom is in a period of national mourning for Elizabeth until her state funeral at Westminster Abbey, expected to take place in around 10 days time and be a national holiday. Crowds continued to gather in front of Buckingham palace , Windsor Castle and Balmoral, where she died, over the weekend as tributes to the country’s longest reigning monarch, — her legacy, wit and fashion sense — poured in. Here is the latest.
- King Charles III read and signed an oath as part of the Accession Council’s proclamation, to uphold the church and facilitate the continuity of government — an oath taken by every sovereign at their Accession since George I in 1714. Flags will be flown at full staff for the next 24 hours in recognition of the new monarch before returning to half-staff for the reminder of the national mourning period. Gun salutes will also be fired.
- Despite the threat of rain, crowds streamed toward St. James’s Palace to watch the proclamation, umbrellas at the ready.
- President Biden told reporters that he plans to attend Elizabeth’s funeral, after stopping by the British Embassy in Washington to express his condolences. “I don’t know what the details are yet, but I’ll be going,” he said Friday.
- Charles made his first speech to the nation as King Friday evening, dressed in black and speaking in measured but emotional tones. He thanked his “darling mama” for her love and duty, and pledged to devote his remaining years “to uphold the constitutional principles at the heart of our nation.”
- Irish politicians have expressed their condolences over the queen’s death, praising her efforts to repair strained political ties between Ireland and Britain. But many reactions in Ireland were mixed, speaking to a painful history of conflict and colonial rule.