LONDON — King Charles III was officially proclaimed monarch on Saturday after the death of Queen Elizabeth II, in the first Accession Council ceremony held in 70 years.
The council, made up of 200 members — primarily current and former politicians and other dignitaries — proclaimed Charles III’s ascension to the throne in the State Apartments of St. James’s Palace in London. The queen’s funeral, which will also be a national holiday, will be held on Sept. 19 at Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace said in a statement.
A proclamation also took place outside the Royal Exchange, which is next to the Bank of England in the City of London, the U.K. capital’s historic center. A large crowd gathered as a marching band arrived, with many spectators dressed in suits and ties and others climbing walls to get a better view. They sang the national anthem and shouted “hip hip hooray” for the King.
Liz Truss, who was asked to become prime minister by the queen less than a week ago, swore an oath of allegiance to the new monarch in a special session of parliament. The last PM to do so was Winston Churchill.
With Charles now king, his elder son Prince William replaces him as the Prince of Wales. William’s wife, Catherine, becomes the first Princess of Wales since the death of his mother, Diana, 25 years ago.
Saturday’s ceremony at St. James's, a highly choreographed ritual which dates back to at least 1837, was followed by the king’s declaration and taking of an oath.
Charles III, 73, said he was “deeply aware” of the responsibility he has inherited from his mother, who died Thursday at age 96.
“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,” he said.
I, Charles III, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of My other Realms and Territories King, Defender of the Faith, do faithfully promise and swear that I shall inviolably maintain and preserve the Settlement of the true Protestant Religion as established by the Laws made in Scotland in prosecution of the Claim of Right and particularly by an Act entitled “An Act for securing the Protestant Religion and Presbyterian Church Government” and by the Acts passed in the Parliament of both Kingdoms for Union of the two Kingdoms, together with the Government, Worship, Discipline, Rights and Privileges of the Church of Scotland. So help me God.
Council members then said, “God save the king.”
Former Conservative Prime Ministers Boris Johnson, Theresa May, David Cameron and John Major, along with former Labour PMs Gordon Brown and Tony Blair, were among the attendees. Women, including May and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, attended the ceremony for the first time.
Penny Mordaunt led the ceremony after being made Leader of the House of Commons by Truss this week.
Gun salutes rang out across the city, including from Hyde Park and the Tower of London, where 62 rounds were fired. The number of rounds increases by 20 volleys when fired from a royal fortress and a further 20 when in the city of London, signifying the loyalty of its citizens to the monarch. Salutes were fired in several other U.K. locations, including Edinburgh Castle, and in Gibraltar.
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