Officially proclaimed king by the Accession Council meeting in London, Charles III said he was ready to assume his “duties and heavy responsibilities” as sovereign during a historic ceremony on Saturday, two days after the death of Elizabeth II.
Step by step, with the greatest solemnity and respect to the millimeter of protocol and tradition, Charles III installed himself as Head of State with the heavy task of succeeding an ultra-popular monarch who had shown a sense of duty to foolproof and knew how to preserve the monarchy over its 70-year reign, the longest in the history of the UK.
“God Saves the King”
“Prince Charles Philip Arthur George is now, by the death of our Lady Sovereign of happy memory, become our Charles III… God save the King “, proclaimed shortly after 11:00 am, the Council of accession. The congregation then repeated: “God save the King. »
Charles III, 73, was then sworn in. “My mother’s reign was unequaled in its duration, her devotion and her devotion (…) I am deeply aware of this great heritage, of the duties and the heavy responsibilities of sovereignty, which are now transmitted to me”, he said. -he declares.
The ceremony, televised for the first time, took place at St. James’s Palace in the presence of new Queen Consort Camilla, the new heir to the throne William, Prime Minister Liz Truss and several of her predecessors. The previous one took place in 1952, when Elizabeth II was proclaimed queen. This Council of Accession is an age-old formality aimed at recognizing the sovereignty of the new king, even if he automatically became monarch after the death of the queen.
Busy program this afternoon
At 12 p.m., Charles III was proclaimed king in public on the balcony of St. James’s Palace, then cannons were fired across the UK in honor of the new ruler. The proclamation was then to be relayed by half a dozen heralds in horse-drawn carriages who were to read it in Trafalgar Square, then to the Royal Exchange.
Then Parliament will take a pledge of allegiance and express its condolences. In the afternoon, the new king will receive the Prime Minister, the principal ministers and the leaders of the opposition. Abroad, the Russian President Vladimir Poutine sent its “sincere congratulations” to the new king, wishing him “success and robust health”, according to the Kremlin.
“We want stability”
Several hundred people had gathered in front of Saint James, like Sarah and Gerard Berdien, two Londoners aged 53 and 54, who had come hoping to see their new king. “I’m sad but we have to move on. I think the king will be different (…) The queen has always been the queen, always the same, no drama,” Sarah said. “That’s what we expect of him (…) We want stability,” added Gerard.
Already Friday evening, for the first time in 70 years, the British anthem “God save the King” was sung in its male version at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, at the end of a religious service in homage to Elizabeth II . It replaces “God save the Queen”, the anthem since the accession to the throne of the late sovereign in 1952.
Earlier, from Buckingham Palace, Charles III gave his first televised speech as sovereign, a recorded address in which he paid a moving tribute to Elizabeth II, his “darling mother”, who died aged 96. 70 years and 7 months of reign. He promised to serve the British all his life, as his mother Elizabeth II had done on her 21st birthday.
Portraits of Charles are on the front page of all the newspapers on Saturday, which praise his first speech. “I will strive to serve with loyalty, respect, love”: this quote from Charles crosses the covers of The Independentfrom Guardianfrom FinancialTimes.
For the tabloid The Sun, the speech allayed some fears that Charles would not be able to fill the void left by the death of Elizabeth II. “Charles, with his moving maiden speech, has given us every confidence that he will fulfill this role with wisdom, skill and compassion,” reads his editorial. “We sometimes feared that he was a militant king, a risk for the future of our monarchy. But not anymore, ”adds the text.
Charles III ascends to the throne in a difficult period, the United Kingdom facing the worst economic crisis in 40 years, while four Prime Ministers have succeeded in six years. At 73, he is the oldest British monarch at the start of his reign.
Charles III is infinitely less popular than his mother, who knew how to maintain the prestige of the monarchy, giving no interviews and keeping her opinions to herself. But the new king received a standing ovation when he arrived in Buckingham on Friday afternoon, on his return from Scotland. Accompanied by his wife Camilla, who became queen consort, he shook hands with dozens of people pressed against barriers in front of the palace.
Funeral date not confirmed
Thousands of people have flocked since the announcement of the disappearance of Elizabeth II to lay bouquets of flowers and words of tribute in front of the royal residences, reflecting the immense emotion in the United Kingdom and abroad since her death.
The King has made it known that the royal mourning – which involves family, staff and representatives of the Royal Household – will last until seven days after the Queen’s funeral, the date of which has not been confirmed.
National mourning, decreed by the government, must last him until the day of the funeral. The Queen will be buried privately in the Chapel at Windsor Castle. His coffin should be transferred before Sunday to Edinburgh, where the public will have a first opportunity to gather.