LONDON — Two days after his mother’s death elevated him to the throne, King Charles III was officially proclaimed Britain’s monarch Saturday in a pomp-filled ceremony steeped in ancient tradition and political symbolism — and, for the first time, broadcast live online and on air.
Charles, who was seventy-years old and served as the heir apparent for his country, became king on Thursday after Queen Elizabeth II died. The accession ceremony, which was both a constitutional and ceremonial act in the introduction of the monarch to the country, is a reminder of an era before mass communication.
Scores of senior British politicians past and present, including new Prime Minister Liz Truss and five of her predecessors, gathered in the ornate state apartments at St. James’s Palace for the meeting of the Accession Council.
Charles did not attend the meeting and Charles confirmed Charles’ title as King Charles III. The king then joined them, vowing to follow his mother’s “inspiring example” as he took on the duties of monarch.
“I am deeply aware of this great inheritance and of the duties and heavy responsibilities of sovereignty which have now passed to me,” he said.
Speaking of his personal grief, he said: “I know how deeply you and the entire nation, and I think I may say the whole world, sympathize with me in this irreparable loss we have all suffered.”
The new king formally approved a series of orders — including one declaring the day of his mother’s funeral a public holiday. Although the date for the state funeral is not yet known, it will likely be in September.
The ceremony is being held for the first time since 1952 when Queen Elizabeth II assumed the throne.
Charles was accompanied by Camilla, the Queen consort and Prince William, his oldest son, at the ceremony. William, now the heir to his throne, is known as Prince of Wales.
From a balcony overlooking the palace, a royal official made King Charles III the new monarch. This would have been the official confirmation that the people had received of the new sovereign in centuries past.
David White, the Garter King of Arms, made the proclamation flanked by trumpeters in gold-trimmed robes before leading cheers — “hip, hip, hooray!” — for the new king.
As he declared the news, gun salutes were heard at Hyde Park and the Tower of London. Scarlet-robed soldiers in palace courtyard donned bearskin hats as part of a royal salute.
In London’s medieval City, the proclamation was read aloud.
People still came in their thousands to Buckingham Palace, London two days after Queen Elizabeth 96 died. This was after a remarkable 70-year reign. This scene took place at several other British embassies worldwide and in royal homes across the U.K.
Britain will observe a time of mourning to honor the Queen, which includes days of meticulously choreographed events marking the passing of the monarch.
Although her death was expected for many years, it is still a devastating experience. This happens at a time many Britons face an energy crisis and high living costs.
Another change has taken place in the leadership of the country. Two days prior to the death of King Edward VI, Truss was appointed Tuesday by Queen Elizabeth. Truss, along with other top U.K. legislators, gathered in the House of Commons on Saturday to swear loyalty to the new monarch.
Normal business in Parliament has been suspended while the Queen is in mourning. To pay tribute to the late monarch, lawmakers were able to hold a rare session on Saturday in the House of Commons
Charles struck a note of continuity on Friday, vowing in a televised address to carry on the queen’s “lifelong service,” with his own modernizing stamp.
The new monarch looked to both the past — noting his mother’s unwavering “dedication and devotion as sovereign” — and the future, seeking to strike a reassuring note of constancy while signaling that his will be a 21st-century monarchy.
He reflected on how the country had changed dramatically during the queen’s reign into a society “of many cultures and many faiths,” and pledged to serve people in Britain and the 14 other countries where he is king “whatever may be your background or beliefs.”
In his early hours of being monarch, he tried to get over his reputation of being aloof. He spent time chatting with many of those who had come to pay respect to Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace. He was greeted with shouts of “Well done, Charlie!” and “God save the king!” One woman gave him a kiss on the cheek.
In the next few days the queen’s body will be brought from Balmoral, first to Edinburgh and then to London, where she will lie in state before a funeral at Westminster Abbey.
In his speech, Charles struck a personal note, speaking of his sorrow at the loss of “my darling Mama.”
“Thank you for your love and devotion to our family and to the family of nations you have served so diligently all these years,” he said, ending with a quote from Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” — “May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.’”
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