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Charles III officially proclaimed king, sons appear together


LONDON — Two days after his mother’s death elevated him to the throne, King Charles III was formally proclaimed Britain’s monarch on Saturday in a lavish ceremony steeped in ancient tradition and political symbolism — and, for the first time, broadcast live on TV and online.

Charles, who spent seven decades as heir apparent, automatically became king when his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, died on Thursday. But the accession ceremony was a key constitutional and ceremonial step in introducing the new monarch to the country, a holdover from a pre-mass communications era.

“I am keenly aware of this great heritage and of the duties and heavy responsibilities of sovereignty which have now been handed down to me,” he said on assuming the duties of monarch.

Hours after the ceremony, Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, then joined Prince William and Princess Kate at Windsor Castle to admire the sea of ​​floral tributes left by the public in honor of the princes grandmother. It was the first public appearance for the two couples since the Queen’s death. The princes and their wives were seen shaking hands and speaking with members of the public.

Queen Elizabeth II will rest in state from Wednesday for four days in the Houses of Parliament, palace officials have announced, after her body was transported from Balmoral, first to Edinburgh and then to London. The state funeral will take place on September 19 at Westminster Abbey.

Organizers described the ceremony as “a fitting farewell to one of the defining figures of our time”.

The palace made the announcement hours after the first accession ceremony since 1952, when Queen Elizabeth II took the throne.

New Prime Minister Liz Truss and five of her predecessors were among dozens of current and former British politicians who gathered in the ornate State Apartments of St. James’s Palace for the Membership Council meeting.

They met without Charles, officially confirming his title, King Charles III. The king then joined them, vowing to follow his mother’s “inspiring example” as he assumed the duties of monarch.

“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 his own grief.

The new king officially approved a series of ordinances, including one declaring the day of his mother’s funeral a public holiday.

Charles was accompanied at the ceremony by his wife Camilla, the Queen Consort, and his eldest son, Prince William, who is now heir to the throne and known by the title Charles has long held, Prince of Wales.

In his first statement since his grandmother’s death, William said the Queen “was by my side in my happiest times. And she was by my side during the saddest days of my life”.

“I knew this day would come, but it will take time before the reality of life without a grandmother really feels real,” he said.

Saturday’s accession ceremony ended with a royal official publicly proclaiming King Charles III monarch from a palace balcony. In centuries past, this would have been the first official confirmation the public would have of their new ruler.

David White, the Garter King of Arms, made the proclamation flanked by trumpeters in gold-embellished robes before leading the cheers – “hip, hip, hooray!” — for the new king.

Gun salutes rang out in Hyde Park, the Tower of London and at military sites across the UK as he delivered the news, and scarlet-robed soldiers in the palace courtyard took off their hats bearskin in a royal salute.

The proclamation was read in other places around the UK, including medieval London.

Two days after the 96-year-old Queen died at Balmoral Castle in Scotland after an unprecedented 70 years on the throne, people still came in their thousands to pay their respects outside Buckingham Palace in London. The scene was repeated in other royal residences in the UK and in British embassies around the world.

For many Britons, his death, although long overdue, is an unsettling experience. Queen Elizabeth II is the only monarch most have ever known, and her death comes as many Britons face an energy crisis, soaring cost of living, the uncertainties of the war in Ukraine and the fallout of Brexit.

The country has also just experienced a change of leadership. Truss was appointed by the Queen on Tuesday, just two days before the monarch died. On Saturday, Truss and other senior British lawmakers lined up in the House of Commons to take the oath of loyalty to the new king.

Normal parliamentary business was suspended during a period of mourning for the Queen. The House of Commons was holding a rare Saturday session so lawmakers could pay their respects to the late monarch.

Charles struck a note of continuity on Friday, vowing in a televised address to continue the Queen’s “lifetime service”, with its own stamp of modernization.

The new monarch looked both to the past – noting his mother’s “unwavering dedication and devotion as sovereign” – and to the future, seeking to strike a reassuring note of consistency while signaling that it will be a 21st century monarchy.

He reflected on how the country had changed dramatically during the Queen’s reign into a society “of many cultures and many religions”, and pledged to serve people in Britain and the other 14 countries. where he is king “regardless of your origins or beliefs.”

He also tried to overcome a reputation for aloofness in his early hours as monarch, spending time shaking hands with some of the thousands who came to lay flowers and pay their respects to the Queen at the gates of Buckingham Palace. He was greeted with shouts of “Bravo, Charlie!” and “God save the king!” A woman gave him a kiss on the cheek.

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Follow AP’s stories about the death of Queen Elizabeth II and other stories about the British monarchy at https://apnews.com/hub/queen-elizabeth-ii

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