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King Charles III, The New Monarch

King Charles III

BBC News: At the moment the Queen died, the throne passed immediately and without ceremony to the heir, Charles, the former Prince of Wales.

It is expected that Charles will be officially proclaimed King on Saturday. This will happen at St James’s Palace in London, in front of a ceremonial body known as the Accession Council.

More than 700 people are entitled in theory to attend, but given the short notice, the actual number is likely to be far fewer. At the last Accession Council in 1952, about 200 attended.

At the meeting, the death of Queen Elizabeth will be 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 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.

Queen Elizabeth II crowns her son Charles, Prince of Wales, during his investiture ceremony at Caernarvon Castle. 1969.

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.

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