Charles III Proclaimed Britain's New King, Vows to Follow 'Inspiring' Queen Elizabeth in Historic Ceremony

Charles III pledged to emulate his late mother Queen Elizabeth II and serve for the rest of his life as he was formally proclaimed king at a historic ceremony on Saturday in St James’s Palace, London, UK. The 73-year-old head of state told the Accession Council that he would strive to follow the “inspiring example” of his mother, Queen Elizabeth, who died on Thursday aged 96.

Charles immediately succeeded his mother after her death at the Balmoral Castle in Scotland on Thursday but an Accession Council met on Saturday to proclaim him as king, with his son and heir William, wife Camilla, and Britain’s new prime minister, Liz Truss, among those to sign the proclamation.

Charles in a speech before swearing an oath said, “I am deeply aware of this great inheritance and of the duties and heavy responsibilities of Sovereignty which have now passed to me.” He further said, “In taking up these responsibilities, I shall strive to follow the inspiring example I have been set in upholding constitutional government and to seek the peace, harmony and prosperity of the peoples of these islands and of the Commonwealth realms and territories throughout the world.”

The Garter King of Arms read the first and Principal Proclamation and declared Charles “our only lawful and rightful” monarch from the balcony of the St James’s Palace.

State Trumpeters sounded the Royal Salute, accompanying the proclamation and was followed by a rousing three cheers for the new king by red-jacketed Coldstream Guards soldiers. A few hundred people were allowed into the court, including small children on parents’ shoulders, a woman clutching flowers and the elderly on mobility scooters.

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Ceremonial gun salutes boomed simultaneously across the United Kingdom and the proclamation, a centuries-old tradition used when the new monarch needed to be announced to their subjects, was also read publicly in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

An emotional Charles set the tone for his reign in a televised pre-recorded address on Friday in which he hailed his “darling mama” for her “unswerving devotion” during her record-breaking seven decades on the throne.

“Thank you for your love and devotion to our family and to the family of nations you have served so diligently all these years,” he said. “May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest,” he added, quoting Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”.

The King’s Speech

Here is the new king’s declaration to the Accession Council, the formal body overseeing the succession from Queen Elizabeth II comprising of senior political and religious advisers:

“My Lords, Ladies, and Gentlemen. It is my most sorrowful duty to announce to you the death of my beloved mother, the queen. I know how deeply you, the entire nation — and I think I may say the whole world — sympathise with me in the irreparable loss we have all suffered.

“It is the greatest consolation to me to know of the sympathy expressed by so many to my sister and brothers and that such overwhelming affection and support should be extended to our whole family in our loss. To all of us as a family, as to this kingdom and the wider family of nations of which it is a part, my mother gave an example of lifelong love and of selfless service.”

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“My mother’s reign was unequalled in its duration, its dedication and its devotion. Even as we grieve, we give thanks for this most faithful life. I am deeply aware of this great inheritance and of the duties and heavy responsibilities of sovereignty which have now passed to me.”

“In taking up these responsibilities, I shall strive to follow the inspiring example I have been set in upholding constitutional government and to seek the peace, harmony and prosperity of the peoples of these islands and of the Commonwealth realms and territories throughout the world. In this purpose, I know that I shall be upheld by the affection and loyalty of the peoples whose sovereign I have been called upon to be, and that in the discharge of these duties I will be guided by the counsel of their elected parliaments.

“In all this, I am profoundly encouraged by the constant support of my beloved wife. I take this opportunity to confirm my willingness and intention to continue the tradition of surrendering the hereditary revenues, including the Crown Estate, to my government for the benefit of all, in return for the sovereign grant, which supports my official duties as head of state and head of nation.”

“And in carrying out the heavy task that has been laid upon me, and to which I now dedicate what remains to me of my life, I pray for the guidance and help of Almighty God.”

Charles is king and head of state not only of the United Kingdom but of 14 other realms including Australia, Canada, Jamaica, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.

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(with inputs from AFP, Reuters)

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