Charles III was officially proclaimed king by the Accession Council meeting in London on Saturday, September 10, during a historic ceremony, two days after the death of Elizabeth II, whose funeral was announced for September 19. . Step by step, Charles III, 73, settled in as head of state with the daunting task of succeeding an ultra-popular monarch, respected for his sense of duty and for having preserved the monarchy throughout his historic reign, the longest in British history.
The ceremony at St. James’s Palace, attended by some 200 dignitaries, including new Prime Minister Liz Truss and her six predecessors, was televised for the first time in history. “My mother’s reign was unequaled in its duration, dedication and devotion (…). I am deeply aware of this great heritage, of the duties and heavy responsibilities of sovereignty, which are now transmitted to me.said Charles III.
The conclusion of the council was then announced on the balcony of the palace, in a proclamation ceremony repeated at the City an hour later. “Prince Charles Philip Arthur George is now, by the death of our Lady Sovereign of happy memory, become our Charles III… God save the King”, states the statement, even though Charles automatically became monarch upon the Queen’s death. Trumpets then sounded and cannons were fired across the UK. Liz Truss and MPs, including Labor opposition leader Keir Starmer, pledged their allegiance to the king later that afternoon in a rare sitting in the House of Commons on a Saturday.
National funeral holiday
Charles’ eldest son, Prince William, in a tribute to his grandmother claimed that he would support his father, the king, “in every possible way”. “She was by my side in my happiest moments. And she was by my side during the saddest days of my life. I knew this day was coming, but it’s going to take me some time to get used to the reality of life without grandma.”said the one who is now Prince of Wales. “While I mourn his loss, I also feel incredibly grateful”he added, pointing out that he had benefited from “his wisdom and his comfort” for forty years.
At the end of the afternoon, Prince William, his wife Kate, his brother Harry and his wife Meghan appeared together in front of the gates of Windsor Castle to meditate in front of the flowers laid by the public in memory of the sovereign. This is the first collective public appearance of the two brothers and their wives since March 9, 2020. Renowned for being cold, the two couples dressed in black created a surprise by marching abreast to the applause of the crowd gathered to pay homage to the Queen.
Buckingham Palace has also announced that the funeral of Elizabeth II, who died at 96 after 70 years of reign, will take place at Westminster Abbey at 11 a.m. (noon Paris time). King Charles III has declared a public holiday in the UK for this state funeral. Leaders from around the world are expected to attend. Among them: the President of the United States, Joe Biden; the President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron; European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen; or the Emperor of Japan, Naruhito.
Infinitely less popular than its mother
The coffin of Elizabeth II will be transferred to Edinburgh on Sunday during a long procession during which the hearse will notably pass through Aberdeen and Dundee. He is due to arrive in the Scottish capital at 5 p.m. (Paris time). After a ceremony in Edinburgh, the body will travel to London on Tuesday and, after a procession through the streets of the capital on Wednesday, it will rest for four days in Westminster Hall, the oldest section of the Houses of Parliament open for the occasion 23 hours a day. to the public.
Charles III accedes to the throne in a difficult period, the United Kingdom facing the worst economic crisis in forty years, while four prime ministers have succeeded in six years. At 73, he is the oldest British monarch at the start of his reign and remains infinitely less popular than his mother, who had known how to maintain the prestige of the monarchy, giving no interviews and keeping her opinions to herself.
But the new king was given a standing ovation when he arrived in Buckingham on Friday afternoon on his return from Scotland. Accompanied by his wife Camilla, who became queen consort, he shook hands with dozens of people outside the palace.