During the ceremony at St James’s Palace in London this morning, he made a personal declaration on the death of his beloved mother Queen Elizabeth II and vowed to uphold ‘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.’
Charles automatically became Sovereign on the death of his mother aged 96 at Balmoral Castle on Thursday afternoon, but the Accession Council, an ancient body of advisers that dates back as far as the time of the Norman Conquest, formally announced his role as Head of State today.
At 11am, trumpets then blared from the balcony of St James’s Palace as the Principal Proclamation announcing the King was read out. Crowds gathered outside the palace as the King was officially proclaimed Sovereign of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, including Supreme Head of the Church of England and Commander-in-Chief of Britain’s Armed Forces, as well as Head of State of the Commonwealth and British territories around the world.
On a balcony above Friary Court in St James’s, David White – an official known as the Garter King of Arms – read the proclamation. He ended by saying: ‘Given at St James’s Palace this 10th day of September in year of our Lord 2022.’ In the moments after, ‘God save the King’ was shouted out.
Paying tribute to the Queen at the throne room of St James’s before the assembled Accession Council shortly after 10.20am, the King also approved an order that the day of the Queen’s funeral will be a bank holiday.
Making his declaration, Charles III said: ‘My lords, ladies and gentlemen, it is my most sorrowful duty to announce to you the death of my beloved mother the Queen. I know how deeply you, the entire nation, and I think I may say the whole world, sympathise with me in the irreparable loss we’ve all suffered.
‘It is the greatest consolation to me to know the sympathy expressed by so many to my sister and brothers. And that such overwhelming affection and support should be extended to our whole family in our loss.’
Continuing the declaration, the King 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.
‘In this purpose, I know that I shall be upheld by the affection and loyalty of the peoples whose Sovereign I have been called upon to be, and that in the discharge of these duties I will be guided by the counsel of their elected parliaments.
‘In all this, I am profoundly encouraged by the constant support of my beloved wife. I take this opportunity to confirm my willingness and intention to continue the tradition of surrendering the hereditary revenues, including the Crown Estate, to my Government for the benefit of all, in return for the Sovereign Grant, which supports my official duties as Head of State and Head of Nation.
The historic event comes after Charles gave a landmark address to the nation on Friday and paid a poignant and moving tribute to his ‘darling Mama’ the Queen.
The King pledged his whole life as serving as the new sovereign just as the Queen did, saying: ‘That promise of lifelong service I renew to you all today’.
And he used his speech to announce that he had created his son William the Prince of Wales, with Kate the Princess of Wales, and expressed his ‘love for Harry and Meghan as they continue to build their lives overseas’, a symbol of his bid for reconciliation amid past troubles with the Sussexes.
He also paid tribute to his ‘darling wife’ Camilla, calling her ‘my Queen Consort’, saying he can ‘count on her loving help’ and praising her by saying: ‘I know she will bring to the demands of her new role the steadfast devotion to duty on which I have come to rely so much.’