Charles: The new king of Britain

The moment the Queen died, the throne passed immediately and unceremoniously to heir Charles, the former Prince of Wales.

But there are a number of practical, and traditional, steps he must go through to be crowned king.

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One of his first jobs was to determine the name he would henceforth bear, and indeed his official name became King Charles III.

For example, his grandfather George VI’s first name was Albert, but when he took the throne he used one of his middle names. And he’s not the only one facing a name change.

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Although he is heir to the throne, Prince William will not automatically become the Prince of Wales, but he has immediately inherited his father’s other title of Duke of Cornwall, and his wife Catherine will be known as the Duchess of Cornwall.

There will also be a new title for Charles’ wife, whose full title will be Queen Consort.

official ceremonies

In the first 24 hours or so after his mother’s death, Charles will be formally declared king, at St James’s Palace in London before a ceremonial body known as the Council of the Throne.

Made up of members of the Privy Council, it includes a group of former and current senior Members of Parliament, as well as some senior civil servants, the Commonwealth High Commissioners and the Lord Mayor of London.

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In theory, more than 700 people are allowed to attend, but given the short notice, the actual number is likely to be much lower. At the last session in 1952, approximately 200 people attended.

The king does not traditionally attend this meeting.

At the meeting, the death of Queen Elizabeth will be announced by the Lord Speaker of the Privy Council (currently Rep. Penny Mordaunt), and the announcement will be read aloud.

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The wording of the declaration may change, but it is traditionally a series of prayers and vows to praise the deceased queen and pledge support for the new king.

This statement is then signed by a number of leading figures, including the Prime Minister, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Lord Chancellor who is the Minister for Justice.

As in such ceremonies, there will be interest in what has been changed, added or updated, as a sign of a new era.

King’s first announcement

The Sitting Council meets again, usually a day later, and this time the King will attend with the Privy Council.

There is no “oath” at the beginning of the reign of the British monarch, like some other heads of state, such as the president of the United States. But there is a proclamation by the new king in keeping with a tradition dating back to the early 18th century that he will take an oath to preserve the Church of Scotland.

After the din of the trumpeters, a public proclamation declaring Charles the new king would be made from a balcony above Freire’s court at St James’s Palace by a high-ranking officer known as the Garter King of Arms.

It will cry out: “God save the King.” For the first time since 1952, when the national anthem is played, the words will be “God save the King”.

Cannons will be fired to salute the king in Hyde Park and the Tower of London and from naval ships, and Charles’ proclamation as king will be read in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast.

Prince of Wales, known as the Duke of Rothesay in Scotland, takes the salute during the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo at Edinburgh Castle.

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The most important symbolic point of sitting on the throne will be the coronation, when Charles is officially crowned.

Due to the necessary preparations, it is unlikely that the coronation will take place soon after Charles’ accession, as Queen Elizabeth acceded to the throne in February 1952, but was not crowned until June 1953.

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Coronations have been held at Westminster Abbey for the past 900 years, William the Conqueror was the first king to be crowned there, and Charles will be forty.

The Archbishop of Canterbury will perform Anglican liturgies and, at the climax of the ceremony, place the Crown of St Edward on Charles’ head, a pure gold tiara dating from 1661.

This tiara is the main jewel in the Crown of the Tower of London, and is only worn by the King at the time of the coronation itself (at least because it weighs 2.23 kilograms).

Unlike royal wedding ceremonies, coronations are formal events paid for by the government and ultimately the invitee list.

The Royal Family on the balcony of Buckingham Palace 1953

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There will be music, readings and rituals to anoint the new king with oils of orange, rose, cinnamon, musk and amber.

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The new king will take the coronation oath before the world. During this ceremony he will receive the scepter and the globe (a piece of gold and jewelery in the shape of a globe with a cross) as symbols of his new role and the Archbishop of Canterbury will wear the pure gold tiara on his head .

head of the Commonwealth

Charles became president of the Commonwealth, a body of 56 independent states and a population of 2.4 billion people. In 14 of these countries, in addition to the United Kingdom, the king is the head of state.

These 14 countries are: Australia, Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Belize, Canada, Grenada, Jamaica, Papua New Guinea, Saint Christopher and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, New Zealand, the Solomon Islands and Tuvalu .

Prince Charles during his visit to the Royal Botanic Gardens in Scotland in 2021

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