Charles III formally proclaimed King

Liz Truss and all living former prime ministers present as ancient ceremony broadcast for first time

Andrew Woodcock
Saturday 10 September 2022 14:56 BST
Privy council proclaims King Charles III sovereign
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Charles III has been proclaimed King in a formal ceremony at St James’s Palace in London.

The King himself was not present for the proclamation at the accession council, attended by around 200 members of the privy council including prime minister Liz Truss.

Members of the council declared in unison “God Save the King” as the proclamation was announced.

The formal proclamation document was signed by William, Prince of Wales, Queen Consort Camilla, Prime Minister Liz Truss, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and leader of the Commons Penny Mordaunt, who officiated over the ancient ceremony in her role as acting Lord President of the Council.

The clerk of the council Richard Tilbrook read out the proclamation, declaring that the council’s membrs “do now hereby with one voice and consent of tongue and heart, publish and proclaim that the Prince Charles Philip Arthur George, is now, by the death of our late sovereign of happy memory, become our only lawful and rightful liege lord, Charles III”.

After a ceremony lasting around nine minutes, members of the privy council moved from the palace’s picture gallery to the throne room to hold their first meeting with the new King.

All stood before the throne where Charles made his second public speech as King, following his televised address to the nation on Friday.

The accession ceremony was broadcast live on television for the first time, having previously taken place behind closed doors before being announced to the public by royal heralds.

Among those attending the event were all of the UK’s living former prime ministers, Sir John Major, Sir Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, David Cameron, Theresa May and Boris Johnson, along with senior serving and former ministers, judges, clergy and civil servants.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer was seen deep in conversation with Blair and Brown.

Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon was present, along with chancellor of the Exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng, foreign secretary James Cleverly, former deputy prime minister Sir Nick Clegg - now a Facebook executive - London mayor Sadiq Khan, Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey, ex-first minister Alex Salmond and former first secretary of state Lord Mandelson.

Charles automatically became King on the instant his mother Elizabeth II passed away on Thursday, but the accession council is necessary in order to formally install him as monarch.

At the privy council, the new King made a personal declaration about the “irreparable loss” of the Queen and vowed to follow her “inspiring example”, before taking an oath to preserve the Church of Scotland – because in Scotland there is a division of powers between Church and State.

He was required to sign two identical instruments recording the taking of the oath, with his signature witnessed by Camilla and William, and others including the Secretary of State for Scotland and the Scottish First Minister.

King Charles III honoured with gun salutes

And he also signed a series of proclamations, including two declaring the day of the Queen’s state funeral a bank holiday in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and in Scotland.

No date has yet been announced for the funeral ceremony but it is widely expected to take place on Monday 19 September.

Following the ceremony, a principal proclamation was read in public for the first time by the Garter King of Arms in the open air from the balcony overlooking Friary Court at St James’s.

It will be followed by a flurry of proclamations around the country, with the second one at City of London at the Royal Exchange at midday on Saturday, and further proclamations in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales at midday on Sunday.

Troops fired 41 guns in Hyde Park and 62 guns at the Tower of London to salute the accession of the King.

King’s declaration is published and proclaimed from St James's Palace

The proclamation in full read: “Whereas it has pleased almighty God to call to his mercy our late sovereign lady Queen Elizabeth II of blessed and glorious memory, by whose decease the Crown of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is solely and rightfully come to the Prince Charles Philip Arthur George.

“We, therefore, the lords spiritual and temporal of this realm, and members of the House of Commons, together with other members of Her late Majesty’s privy council, and representatives of the realms and territories, aldermen, and citizens of London and others, do now hereby, with one voice and consent of tongue and heart, publish and proclaim that the Prince Charles Philip Arthur George, is now, by the death of our late sovereign of happy memory, become our only lawful and rightful liege lord, Charles III, by the grace of God, of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, and of his other realms and territories, King, head of the Commonwealth, defender of the faith, to whom we do acknowledge all faith and obedience with humble affection, beseeching God, by whom kings and queens do reign, to bless His Majesty with long and happy years to reign over us.

“God save the King.”

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