King Charles III yesterday pledged to follow the example of his late mother as he was officially proclaimed Britain’s new monarch in a historic ceremony featuring centuries-old tradition and the pageantry of trumpets sounding amid gold brocade.
The death of 96-year-old Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday after 70 years on the throne set in train long-established and highly choreographed plans for days of mourning and a state funeral that is to be held in just over a week.
Charles, 73, immediately succeeded his mother, but an Accession Council met at St James’ — the most senior royal palace in the UK, built by order of Henry VIII in the 1530s — yesterday to proclaim him king.
The council — formed of privy counselors whose centuries-old role has been to advise the monarch — included his son and heir Prince William; his wife, Camilla; and British Prime Minister Liz Truss, who signed the proclamation of his accession.
Six former prime ministers, senior bishops and a swathe of politicians shouted “God Save the King” as the announcement was approved.
“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 taking up these responsibilities, 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.”
Later, on the Proclamation Gallery, a balcony above Friary Court of St James’ Palace, the Garter King of Arms, David White, accompanied by others in gold and red heraldic outfits, read out the Principal Proclamation, as trumpeters sounded.
“Whereas it has pleased almighty God to call to his mercy, our late sovereign lady, Queen Elizabeth the Second 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,” White proclaimed.
Soldiers in traditional scarlet uniforms shouted “hip, hip, hurrah” as White called for three cheers for the king.
Watching on were a few hundred people allowed into the court, including small children on parents’ shoulders, a woman clutching flowers and the elderly on mobility scooters.
In Taipei, Presidential Office spokesman Xavier Chang (張惇涵) yesterday issued a statement congratulating Charles on his ascension to the throne.
Chang said the Presidential Office — on behalf of the government of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and Taiwanese — extended its sincere wishes for the continued prosperity of the UK, under the leadership of Charles.
The government looked forward to a Taiwan-UK relationship that would continue to grow and thrive on the basis of democratic values and the existing framework of cooperation, it said.
Charles is the 41st monarch in a line that traces its origins to the Norman King William the Conqueror who captured the English throne in 1066. Yesterday’s events reflected proclamations announcing new kings and queens that date back hundreds of years.
It was the first proclamation of a monarch to be televised, and for most Britons, it was the first such event in their lifetime, as Elizabeth II was the only monarch they have ever known. Charles himself was just three years old when she became queen in 1952.
Following the events at St James’, a military band led soldiers, heralds and men in ceremonial dress carrying standards and pikes, through the ancient City of London to the Royal Exchange, the capital’s first purpose-built trading center that dates back to 1566, where the proclamation was read again.
Additional reporting by staff writer
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