LONDON: Amid trumpet fanfare and gun salutes, Charles III was officially proclaimed king at a pomp-filled ceremony on Saturday, where he pledged to emulate his late mother Queen Elizabeth II and serve for the rest of his life.
The centuries-old tradition of the council was televised live for the first time as it officially announced the 73-year-old Charles as monarch.
“I am deeply aware of this great inheritance and of the duties and heavy responsibilities of sovereignty, which have now passed to me,” Charles said in a speech before swearing an oath.
“In taking up these responsibilities, I shall strive to follow the inspiring example I have been set.”
Ceremonial gun salutes boomed simultaneously across the United Kingdom and the proclamation — a relic from the past where the new monarch needed to be announced to their subjects — was also read publicly in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
Queen’s body to lie in state until funeral, tentatively set for Sept 19
Charles automatically became monarch upon the queen’s death aged 96 on Thursday, but the proclamation is the latest step in the setpiece 10-day programme building up to her state funeral.
The new king also named his elder son and heir Prince William, 40, as the new Prince of Wales, who in turn promised to honour the memory of Queen Elizabeth II by supporting his father, King Charles III, “in every way”.
Buckingham Palace revealed Charles and other members of the royal family would observe an extended mourning period from now until seven days after her funeral.
In his first comments since the queen’s death and as the newly appointed Prince of Wales, William, 40, said “it would be some time before the reality of life without Grannie will truly feel real”.
The move means William’s wife Kate assumes the Princess of Wales title, once held by his mother and Charles’ ex-wife, the late Princess Diana.
Charles — who has seen his popularity recover in recent years from the time of Diana’s death — takes the throne at a moment of deep anxiety in Britain over the spiralling cost of living and international instability caused by the war in Ukraine.
The constitutional monarch, who is supposed to remain outside politics, has intimated he will now steer clear of pronouncements on issues that he has previously been outspoken on such as climate change.
British Prime Minister Liz Truss — only appointed by the late monarch on Tuesday — offered the nation’s support to Charles in parliament on Friday as she acknowledged the “awesome responsibility” upon Charles.
While the government has said there is no obligation on organisations to suspend business during its 10-day mourning period, many are doing so out of respect.
The date of the funeral, which will be attended by heads of state and government, has yet to be officially announced but is expected to be on Monday, Sept 19.
British security officials are planning what has been dubbed likely the “biggest policing and protective operation” in UK history as London gears up to host leaders from across the globe.
Elizabeth’s body has so far remained at her beloved Scottish retreat of Balmoral where she died and is expected to be transported by road to the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh on Sunday.
Senior royals including the queen’s other children Princess Anne and Princes Andrew and Edward viewed flowers and greeted well-wishers outside Balmoral on Saturday.
On Monday, the coffin is due to be taken in procession along the Royal Mile to the magnificent St Giles’ Cathedral, where a service will be held.
From the Scottish capital, it is due to travel to London on Tuesday to lie in state for several days.
Officials expect more than one million people to file past the catafalque in Westminster Hall, the oldest part of the UK parliament complex, before the televised funeral service at Westminster Abbey opposite.
The funeral for the queen — who came to the throne aged just 25 in 1952 — will be a public holiday in the form of a day of national mourning.
Charles’s coronation, an elaborate ritual steeped in tradition and history, will take place in the same historic surroundings, as it has for centuries, on a date yet to be fixed.
Published in Dawn, September 11th, 2022