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Charles formally declared British King as Elizabeth's funeral details released

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

King Charles III, the new British monarch
King Charles III, the new British monarch
Image: PA Images

Updated Sep 10th 2022, 5:25 PM

KING CHARLES III has been formally proclaimed the British monarch during an Accession Council ceremony televised for the first time.

Charles automatically became King on the death of his mother, but the Accession Council, attended by Privy Councillors, confirmed his role this morning.

This afternoon saw the release of details for the funeral of the late Elizabeth II, with Buckingham Palace confirming her body will lie in state for “four clear days” in Westminster Hall from Wednesday, 14 September. 

The Queen’s coffin – which is currently lying in the ballroom at Balmoral Castle – will be taken by road to the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh tomorrow, on a six-hour journey by hearse. Her state funeral will be held at Westminster Abbey at 11am on Monday, 19 September.

Westminster Abbey said it would be closed for visiting and worshiping while preparing for the funeral.

Announcing the news on Twitter, a statement read: “Buckingham Palace has announced that the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II will be held at Westminster Abbey at 11am on Monday 19th September.

“As a royal church, the Abbey had a special relationship with the Queen.

“It was here that she married Prince Philip in November 1947, and her coronation was held in the Abbey in June 1953.”

Charles III did not attend today’s accession ceremony, held at the State Apartments of St James’s Palace, as per tradition. But he arrived shortly afterwards to hold his first Privy Council meeting.

The new Prince of Wales, William, was the first to sign the proclamation, followed by Queen Consort Camilla.

Former prime ministers including Boris Johnson, Theresa May, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, David Cameron and John Major were all in attendance at the event. New prime minister Liz Truss was also present.

Screenshot 2022-09-10 15.07.47 King Charles III, the Queen and the Prince of Wales during the meeting of the Accession Council Source: Victoria Jones/PA Images

In a speech, King Charles said: “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, sympathise with me in the irreparable loss we 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.”

Charles said he will dedicate “what remains of my life” to his new role, before signing his oath. William and Camilla, acting as witnesses, then signed the oath.

Charles stated: “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…

“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,” he added. 

More than 200 privy councillors – a group of mostly senior politicians past and present, some members of the monarchy and other national figures – were present at 10am to hear the Clerk of the Council read the Accession Proclamation.

At 11am a Principal Proclamation was read in public for the first time by the Garter King of Arms in the open air from the balcony overlooking Friary Court at St James’s.

It will be followed by a flurry of proclamations around the UK. The second one occurred at the Royal Exchange in London at midday today, and further proclamations will happen in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales at midday tomorrow.

Screenshot 2022-09-10 15.07.17 Thousands of onlookers gathered in London to witness the proclamation outside the Royal Exchange Source: PA Images

Thousands of onlookers gathered at noon in London to witness the proclamation. The crowd then sang the chorus of the national anthem, singing ‘God save the King’.

‘Beloved mother’

The historic event comes after Charles gave a landmark address on Friday and paid a poignant and moving tribute to his “darling Mama” the Queen who died on Thursday afternoon at Balmoral.

Charles said of his “beloved mother” the late Elizabeth II: “We owe her the most heartfelt debt any family can owe to their mother; for her love, affection, guidance, understanding and example.”

He used his speech to announce that he had created his son William the Prince of Wales, with Kate the Princess of Wales, and expressed his “love for Harry and Meghan as they continue to build their lives overseas”, a symbol of his bid for reconciliation amid past troubles with the Sussexes.

He also paid tribute to his “darling wife” Camilla, calling her “my Queen Consort”, saying he can “count on her loving help” and praising her by saying: “I know she will bring to the demands of her new role the steadfast devotion to duty on which I have come to rely so much.”

The King also set out his changing role, as he steps away from his considerable charity work which shaped his life as the heir to the throne.

In recognition of the new Sovereign, union flags will be flown at full-mast from the time of the Principal Proclamation at St James’s Palace until one hour after the Proclamations in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, after which flags will return to half-mast in mourning for the death of the late Queen.

The ceremony is being staged a day later for King Charles III then normal practice because the announcement of the Queen’s death did not come until early evening on Thursday, meaning there was not enough time to set the plans in motion for Friday morning.

Book of condolences

Meanwhile, President Michael D Higgins, Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney were among the first people to sign a book of condolences for Queen Elizabeth II at the British Embassy in Dublin.

British Embassy 007 President Michael D Higgins signs the book of condolences at the British Embassy Source: Paul Sherwood Photographer

British Embassy 002 Taoiseach Micheál Martin signs the book of condolences at the British Embassy Source: Paul Sherwood Photographer

British Embassy 083 Minister Simon Coveney signs the book of condolences at the British Embassy Source: Paul Sherwood Photographer

In an interview with the Late Late Show last night, President Higgins paid tribute to the queen and said he looked forward to working with the new king.

With reporting by Órla Ryan

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