Every living ex Prime Minister of the UK comes together as Charles is proclaimed King – POLITICO

LONDON — The six surviving former British prime ministers gathered on Saturday for the rarest ceremony in London to see King Charles III formally proclaimed the country’s new monarch.

At a dismal meeting of the Accession Council, the new king said he was “deeply aware” of “the duties and heavy responsibilities of sovereignty” now transferred to him from his late mother Queen Elizabeth II.

“In assuming these responsibilities, I will strive to follow the inspiring example I have been given in maintaining constitutional government, and will strive for peace, harmony and prosperity of the peoples of these islands, of the realms and territories of the Commonwealth around the world,” he told a packed house of high-ranking politicians and other dignitaries at St. James’s Palace.

Although Charles became king the moment his mother died on Thursday, a centuries-old British convention requires an Accession Council to meet to formally announce his arrival to the throne. It last met in 1952. This year, the entire event was televised for the first time.

The historic occasion brought together former Conservative and Labor Prime Ministers John Major, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, David Cameron, Theresa May and Boris Johnson, as well as current Prime Minister Liz Truss. They were joined by former and current ministers, the former Archbishops of Canterbury and York, Queen Camilla and the King’s eldest son and heir, William.

Advisers also included former Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who lost his Sheffield seat in 2017 and is now president of global affairs at tech giant Meta, and current and former Scottish Prime Ministers Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond.

The historic ceremony was presided over by Lord President of the Council, Penny Mordaunt, who was handed the job by new Prime Minister Truss only on Tuesday evening during the cabinet reshuffle.

During the first part of the ceremony, Clerk of the Privy Council Richard Tilbrook read out the proclamation confirming that Charles was the “sole lawful and rightful liege lord” of Britain. The clerk then declared, “God save the king,” and more than 200 counselors repeated the famous phrase.

In the second part of the meeting, the King delivered his speech and took the oath to preserve the Church of Scotland, where the power of state and church is divided. William, the new Prince of Wales, also signed the oath.

Outside, a crowd of thousands sang the chorus of the now reformulated national anthem and three times cheered the new monarch.

Larger crowds waited for Charles III outside Buckingham Palace, where he arrived in his state Rolls Royce after the ceremony to hold an audience with Truss, members of her cabinet and opposition leaders.

Prince William also paid his first public tribute to the Queen, who he said was by his side in his happiest and saddest moments. “I knew this day would come, but it will be some time before the reality of life without grandma will feel real,” he said.

On Saturday afternoon, other members of the royal family, including the king’s three siblings and their children, attended a prayer service in Crathie Kirk, near Balmoral, where the queen’s body lies.

In parliament, senior MPs and members of the government, including Truss, House of Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle and Labour’s longest-serving female MP Harriet Harman, swore their allegiance to the new king, and more people are expected to do so at a later date. .

The program of commemorative events continues on Sunday afternoon, when the King will receive the High Commissioners of the Empire and the Foreign Secretary James Cleverly as a representative of the British government.

The Queen’s casket will be transported by road at a slow pace to the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh on Sunday to allow mourners to pay their respects, a senior palace official said.

On Monday the coffin will be transported in procession to St Giles’s Cathedral, Edinburgh, where it will remain until Tuesday, before being flown to London, where it will remain in state in Westminster Hall for four days from Wednesday until the morning of her state. funeral on September 19. During these days, thousands of people are expected to visit parliament to say goodbye to the deceased monarch.

On Monday, Truss will attend the presentation of addresses at Westminster Hall and will join King Charles III as he leads national mourning in the UK, with services in Scotland that same afternoon, in Northern Ireland on Tuesday and in Wales on Friday.

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