King Charles III will officially be proclaimed as Britain’s new monarch replacing Queen Elizabeth II who served more than seven decades on the throne.
An Accession Council made up of hundreds of politicians, bishops and senior civil servants will proclaim his succession on Saturday at a ceremony with officials in traditional heraldic clothing.
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The proclamation will be accompanied by gun salutes and heralds who travel to Mansion House in the City of London where it will be read at the Royal Exchange.
The proclamation will be read publicly in the other capital cities of the United Kingdom – Edinburgh in Scotland, Belfast in Northern Ireland, and Cardiff in Wales – and at other locations, too.
It is the first time the ceremony has been held since 1952, when Queen Elizabeth II took the throne.
Charles automatically became king when the queen died on Thursday. The accession ceremony is a key constitutional and ceremonial step in introducing the new monarch to the country.
“As a royal historian, I was incredibly moved by what I saw,” said Christopher Wilson after the first part of the ceremony. “This is something that’s never been publicly witnessed before in 1,200 years of monarchy in this country.”
King Charles will later arrive at St James Palace and make an address.
Charles, who spent much of his 73 years preparing for the role of king, made his first address to the nation as monarch on Friday. He became king on Thursday after the queen’s death.
“That promise of lifelong service I renew to all today,” he said. He delivered the address with a framed photo on the queen on a desk.
“As the queen herself did with such unswerving devotion, I, too, now solemnly pledge myself, throughout the remaining time God grants me, to uphold the constitutional principles at the heart of our nation,” he said.
Charles said he could “count on the loving help of my darling wife, Camilla” after she became queen consort.
Charles also elevated his heir William to become the new prince of Wales, the highest title for the heir to the throne.
“With Catherine beside him, our new prince and princess of Wales will, I know, continue to inspire and lead our national conversations, helping to bring the marginal to the centre ground where vital help can be given.”
His speech was broadcast on television and streamed at St Paul’s Cathedral, where some 2,000 people were attending a service of remembrance for the queen. Mourners at the service included Prime Minister Liz Truss and members of her government.
King Charles III said Queen Elizabeth II devoted her life ‘to the service of her peoples’ in his inaugural address after ascending to the throne ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/QHU7GovuKv
— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) September 9, 2022
Charles expressed his love for Prince Harry and Meghan, his son and daughter-in-law, a significant gesture towards a couple whose relationships with the rest of the family have been strained.
“I want also to express my love for Harry and Meghan as they continue to build their lives overseas,” he said.
Addressing his “darling Mama”, joining his father the late Prince Philip, who died last year, “I want simply to say this: thank you,” the new king said.
“Thank you for your love and devotion to our family and to the family of nations you have served so diligently all these years. May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.”
The date of the queen’s state funeral has yet to be confirmed but is expected on September 19.
“In a little over a week’s time we will come together as a nation, as a Commonwealth and indeed a global community, to lay my beloved mother to rest,” Charles said.
“In our sorrow, let us remember and draw strength from the light of her example,” he said.
“On behalf of all my family, I can only offer the most sincere and heartfelt thanks for your condolences and support.
“They mean more to me than I can ever possibly express.”
Al Jazeera’s Neave Barker, reporting from outside Buckingham Palace in London, said the speech was the most important of now King Charles’ life.
“He was tasked with the responsibility of summing up the mood of the nation. But also mourning the loss of his mother as the head of the Royal Family,” Barker said.
“What he hinted at in his speech is that he will be a continuity monarch. He said that he wanted to carry on many of the valued traditions that his mother had embodied and preserved for so many years,” he said.
Also significant in his speech was that King Charles appeared mindful of a changed UK, Barker said.
“He said he wanted to serve people of all backgrounds and all beliefs, realising of course that this is a modern country, a diverse country, and that if the royal family wants to remain relevant for many years to come, it needs to be representative of all of that diversity.”
Commenting on the King Charles’s speech, Sarah Gristwood, royal and historical affairs expert, noted how he showed an awareness over the fact that his mother’s tradition must be honoured, but at the same time modified.
“He spoke more emotionally than his mother would have done and the speech was very, very careful. His priorities are going to be to affirm and assert, in a gentle way, the continued relevance of the monarchy. But it will be a slimmed-down royal family, hopefully, a more dynamic-looking one,” Gristwood said.
“He has a big job to do because … we have gone through a pandemic, we are facing a probably appalling financial downturn and a new prime minister took office only two days before the queen died, so the queen’s role as a figure of stability of reassurance has never been more important than right now and yet this is the moment she has left us,” she said.
“King Charles has a big job to do, but it is one he has been preparing, thinking and training for his all life and I feel a lot more positive than once I did, that he is ready to do it,” she added.
As the country began a 10-day mourning period, people around the globe gathered at British embassies to pay homage to the queen.
In London and at military sites across the United Kingdom, cannon fired 96 shots in an elaborate, 16-minute salute marking each year of the queen’s life.
On the king’s first full day of duties, Charles left Balmoral and flew to London for a meeting with Truss, appointed by the queen just two days before her death.
He arrived at Buckingham Palace, the monarch’s London home, for the first time as sovereign, emerging from the official state Bentley limousine alongside Camilla, to shouts from the crowd of “Well done, Charlie!” and the singing of the national anthem, now called, God Save the King. One woman gave him a kiss on the cheek.
Everyday politics was put on hold, with lawmakers paying tribute to the monarch in Parliament over two days, beginning with a special session where Truss called the queen “the nation’s greatest diplomat”.
Senior lawmakers will also take an oath to King Charles III.