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King Charles III: Accession to the Throne and Declaration to the Council in Full

King Charles III accession and declaration

Following Queen Elizabeth II's death on September 8, 2022, her eldest son automatically ascended to the throne as the next Sovereign. But there are a number of traditional steps to be undertaken before he can officially assume the responsibilities as sovereign.

His first decision as the new king was to be known as King Charles III. Years ago, it was doubted if he would reign under this name due to the dark past attached to the previous two Charles - who were both Stuarts.

King Charles III accession and declaration
Escorting the Queen to the Opening of Parliament

Some royal experts have thought he would choose to reign as George VII (George is one of his four names - Charles Philip Arthur George). However, the new king chose a name he was known for.

During his first address to the nation as king, Charles III formally conferred the title Prince and Princess of Wales to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, which signaled the change of status also to the couple's three children who will now be known as Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis of Wales.

For the first time since 1952, the UK national anthem will be played with the words "God Save the King".

During the king's formal accession and proclamation, gun salutes were fired in Hyde Park, the Tower of London, and from naval ships, and the proclamation announcing Charles as the King will be read in Edinburgh (Scotland), Cardiff (Wales) and Belfast (Northern Ireland).

Represented the Queen at the Opening of Parliament 2021

Head of the Commonwealth

Charles III has become head of the Commonwealth of Nations, an association of 56 independent countries with 2.4 billion people. Out of the 56 nations in the Commonwealth, 14 nations are known as the Commonwealth Realms where the new king is also their head of state.

These countries in the Commonwealth realms, are the following: 

Australia, Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Belize, Canada, Grenada, Jamaica, Papua New Guinea, St Christopher and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, New Zealand, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu.

King Charles III accession and declaration
Accession and Declaration ceremony

Accession to the throne and Declaration to the Council

A long and uneasy journey to the throne for the newly ascended British king. He is the longest heir-apparent ever in the British monarchy, having held the position since February 1952. 

Now, at 73, Charles III finally assumes the role he was born with.

On Saturday, September 10, King Charles III was formally proclaimed in a historic ceremony at St James's Palace in London, steeped in political symbolism that was televised for the first time. 

King Charles III accession and declaration

He made a personal tribute to his "dear mama" before vowing to uphold the British constitution. 

The event at St. James’s Palace in London was followed by gun salutes, fanfare and declarations across the United Kingdom. The meeting of the Accession Council was attended by King Charles, Prince William, whose new title is Prince of Wales, and Queen Consort Camilla, as well as a host of senior political and religious figures.

King Charles III accession and declaration

King Charles III accession and declaration

King Charles III accession and declaration

The ceremony is part of long-established and highly choreographed plans for the days of mourning for Queen Elizabeth II. Buckingham Palace announced Saturday that the queen's state funeral will take place on Monday, September 19, at Westminster Abbey in London.

A statement was issued to the public from the balcony of the palace and read throughout Britain.

King Charles III accession and declaration

Later, King Charles III was driven to Buckingham Palace, where he held audiences with Prime Minister Liz Truss, senior members of her Cabinet, and the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Upon leaving the palace for Clarence House, the King and Queen Consort Camilla greeted well-wishers on Stable Yard, off The Mall. Cheers and applause rang out as they shook hands with and accepted bouquets of flowers from people who had waited for hours. Shouts of 'God save the King' were heard along with a chorus of the national anthem.

King Charles III accession and declaration
Prince William, the new Prince of Wales
King Charles III accession and declaration
Camilla, the Queen Consort

The King's Declaration to the Council:

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 – sympathize with me in the irreparable loss we have all suffered. It is the greatest consolation to me to know of 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.

To all of us as a family, as to this kingdom and the wider family of nations of which it is a part, my mother gave an example of lifelong love and of selfless service.

My mother’s reign was unequalled in its duration, its dedication and its devotion. Even as we grieve, we give thanks for this most faithful life.

I am deeply aware of this great inheritance and of the duties and heavy responsibilities of sovereignty which have now passed to me. 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.

And in carrying out the heavy task that has been laid upon me, and to which I now dedicate what remains to me of my life, I pray for the guidance and help of almighty God.

The Coronation

Apart from the Accession and Declaration, the British monarchy has a formal coronation ceremony of the new monarch, the most symbolic and elaborate event. 

However, it is not immediate, due to the preparation needed. When The Queen ascended the British throne in February 1952, her formal coronation ceremony took place more than a year later, on June 2, 1953. 

Coronation jewels. Credit: Royal Collection Trust

So the coronation ceremony of Charles III is unlikely to take place this year. His wife will be crowned with him, during the formal coronation ceremony, as Queen Consort Camilla.

For the past 900 years, the coronation has been held in Westminster Abbey - William the Conqueror was the first monarch to be crowned there, and Charles III will be the 40th British Sovereign to be crowned at Westminster Abbey.

It is an Anglican religious service, carried out by the Archbishop of Canterbury. At the climax of the ceremony, he will place St Edward's Crown on Charles's head - a solid gold crown, dating back to 1661. Just like his mother, Charles can only hold St Edward's Crown once, during his coronation.

St Edward's Crown is the centerpiece of the Crown Jewels at the Tower of London, and is only worn by the monarch at the moment of coronation itself.

Unlike royal weddings, the coronation is a state occasion - the government pays for it, and ultimately decides the guest list.

There will be music, readings and the ritual of anointing the new monarch, using oils of orange, roses, cinnamon, musk and ambergris.

The new King will take the coronation oath in front of the watching world. During this elaborate ceremony he will receive the orb and scepter as symbols of his new role. The Archbishop of Canterbury will place the solid gold crown on his head.

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