King Charles will be proclaimed monarch in a historic ceremony

By Michael Holden and Kate Holton

LONDON (Reuters) – King Charles will be officially named Britain’s new monarch on Saturday in a ceremony followed by gun salutes and the reading of proclamations in London and the four corners of the United Kingdom.

The death of Queen Elizabeth, 96, on Thursday, after 70 years on the throne, by train prompted long and highly choreographed plans for days of mourning and a state funeral to be held in just over a week.

The death of Elizabeth, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, has prompted an outpouring of tributes from home and around the world.

Charles, 73, succeeded his mother immediately on Thursday, but an Accession Council made up of hundreds of politicians, bishops and senior civil servants will declare his succession on Saturday in a ceremony with dignitaries in traditional heraldry.

The proclamation will be accompanied by salutes of arms and heralds traveling to the Mansion House in the City of London, where it will be read at the Royal Exchange.

The proclamation will be read publicly in the other UK capitals – Edinburgh in Scotland, Belfast in Northern Ireland and Cardiff in Wales – as well as other locations.

The new king vowed on Friday to serve the nation with “faith, respect and love” in his first address to the nation as king. Charles is king and head of state of the United Kingdom and 14 other kingdoms, including Australia, Canada, Jamaica, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea

Earlier, returning to London from Scotland where his mother died, he was greeted with cheers, applause and a crowd singing ‘God Save The King’ as he made his first public appearance outside Buckingham Palace.

Charles also said in his speech that he had made his eldest son William, 40, the new Prince of Wales, the title that has been his for more than 50 years and is traditionally held by the heir to the throne.

William’s wife Kate becomes Princess of Wales, a role last held by the late Princess Diana.

Britain has declared a period of mourning until a state funeral for Elizabeth, who was once described by her grandson Harry as the “grandmother of the nation”. The date for this has not been announced, but is expected in just over a week.

World leaders are expected in London for the funeral, including US President Joe Biden, who said on Friday he would attend.

To the British people, “she was your queen. To us she was the queen,” French President Emmanuel Macron said on Friday.

Although he is already king, Charles’ coronation will take place at a later date – and the timetable for this is not yet clear. There was a gap of 16 months between Elizabeth becoming Queen in 1952 and her coronation in 1953.

TEARS AND FLOWERS

Thousands have gathered at the royal palaces to pay their respects to the late queen, with some in tears as they laid flowers and others wanting to celebrate the life of a monarch who for most Britons was the only one they had ever known.

Elizabeth, who was the world’s oldest and longest-serving head of state, ascended the throne after the death of her father, King George VI, on February 6, 1952, when she was just 25.

Over the decades it has seen a seismic shift in the social, political and economic structure of its nation. She won praise for guiding the monarchy into the 21st century and modernizing it in the process, despite intense media scrutiny and her family’s often highly public travails.

Charles, who polls show is less popular than his mother, now has the task of securing the institution’s future.

(Reporting by Kate Holton; Editing by Rosalba O’Brien and Frances Kerry)

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