So, with the death of Queen Elizabeth II the baton passes to Charles. Here are some specifics of the appointment and the coronation of King Charles III.
The BBC details the practical – and traditional – steps which Charles must go through to be crowned King.
King Charles III
The first is his name. What will he be called? He will be known as King Charles III. That decision had been left to Charles, because he could have chosen from any of the four names: Charles Philip Arthur George.
Then, with the ascension to the throne of Charles, others would move up the ladder too. Interestingly, as the BBC points out, despite being heir to the throne, Prince William will not automatically become Prince of Wales. This title will have to be conferred on him by his father (the King). Now he has inherited his father’s title of Duke of Cornwall – William and Kate are now titled Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and Cambridge.
What about Charles’ wife? Camilla will become the Queen Consort. Consort is the term used for the ‘spouse of the monarch’.
Then there are the formal ceremonies.
Having been officially proclaimed King at St James’s Palace in London in front of a ceremonial body known as the Accession Council.
Who comprise the Accession Council? It is made up of members of the Privy Council – a group of senior MPs, past and present, and peers – as well as some senior civil servants, Commonwealth high commissioners, and the Lord Mayor of London.
The coronation is a big affair for Britain. Generally it would have been expected that over 700 people were entitled in theory to attend. However, the notice being short, the gathering is smaller. At the last Accession Council in 1952, about 200 attended.
The formalities (many already gone through) are as follows:
Announcement of death: At the meeting, the death of Queen Elizabeth is announced by the Lord President of the Privy Council (currently Penny Mordaunt MP), and a proclamation will be read aloud.
The wording of the proclamation can change, but it has traditionally been a series of prayers and pledges, commending the previous monarch and pledging support for the new one. This proclamation is then signed by a number of senior figures including the prime minister, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Lord Chancellor.
The King’s first declaration
The King attends a second meeting of the Accession Council, along with the Privy Council. This is not a “swearing in” at the start of a British monarch’s reign, in the style of some other heads of state, such as the President of the US. Instead there is a declaration made by the new King and – in line with a tradition dating from the early 18th Century he will make an oath to preserve the Church of Scotland.
After a fanfare of trumpeters, a public proclamation will be made declaring Charles as the new King. This will be made from a balcony above Friary Court in St James’s Palace, by an official known as the Garter King of Arms.
He will call: “God save the King”, and for the first time since 1952, the national anthem will be played with the words “God Save the King”.
Gun salutes will be fired in Hyde Park, the Tower of London and from naval ships, and the proclamation announcing Charles as the King will be read in in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast.
The symbolic high point of the accession will be the coronation, when Charles is formally crowned. Because of the preparation needed, the coronation is not likely to happen very soon after Charles’s accession – Queen Elizabeth succeeded to the throne in February 1952, but was not crowned until June 1953.
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 will be the 40th.
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 from 1661.
End of an era
Meanwhile, as news spread that Queen Elizabeth II, the UK’s longest-serving monarch, had died peacefully at the Balmoral castle, her Scottish estate, on September 8, mourners and fans gathered in front of Buckingham Palace, the monarch’s official residence. Almost round the clock news coverage was provided by the BBC.
Her death endedd a reign of 70 years. She was 96. The Queen came to the throne in 1952 and witnessed enormous social change.
Prime Minister Liz Truss, who was appointed by the Queen days before her death, said the monarch was the rock on which modern Britain was built, who had “provided us with the stability and strength that we needed”. Speaking about the new King, she said: “We offer him our loyalty and devotion, just as his mother devoted so much, to so many, for so long. And with the passing of the second Elizabethan age, we usher in a new era in the magnificent history of our great country, exactly as Her Majesty would have wished, by saying the words ‘God save the King’.”
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, spiritual leader to the Church of England of which the monarch is supreme governor expressed his “profound sadness”.
Before she became queen, Elizabeth had said: “There is none of my father’s subjects from the oldest to the youngest whom I do not wish to greet.” During her reign, she visited every realm and every region of the UK, returning to some many times over.
The queen was served by 15 UK prime ministers during her reign, beginning with Winston Churchill in 1952, as well as many prime ministers across her realms. As Head of State, she also acted as diplomat and hostess, welcoming over 110 Presidents and Prime Ministers to the UK on official visits.