King Charles III was formally proclaimed the sovereign of the United Kingdom Saturday morning, following a rare meeting of Great Britain’s Ascension Council.
At 11 a.m., David White, the kingdom’s Garter King-at-Arms performed his once-in-a-lifetime ceremonial duty, proclaiming from the balcony of St. James’ Palace in London King Charles’ ascension to the throne.
In his personal address to the privy council, the new King said, “It is my most sorrowful duty to announce to you the death of my beloved mother the Queen. I know how deeply you and the entire nation and I think I may say the whole world sympathizes with me in the irreparable loss we have all suffered. It is the greatest consolation to me to know of the sympathy expressed by so many to my sister and my brothers and as such overwhelming affection and support should be extended to our whole family in our loss. To all of us as a family.
“As to this kingdom and to the wider family of nations of which it is a part, my mother gave an example of lifelong love and of selfless service. My mother’s reign was unequalled in its duration, its dedication and its devotion. Even as we grieve we give thanks for this most faithful life. 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 across the world. In this purpose I know that I shall be upheld by the affection and loyalty of the peoples whose sovereign I have been called upon to be, and in the discharge of these duties, I will be guided by the council of their elected parliaments.”
King Charles III went on, “In all this, I am profoundly encouraged by the constant support of my beloved wife. I take this opportunity to confirm my willingness and intention to continue the tradition of surrendering the hereditary revenues, including the crown estate to the government for the benefit of all in return for the sovereign grant which supports my official duties as head of state and head of nation.
“In carrying out the heavy task that has been laid upon me, to which I dedicate what remains to me of my life. I pray for the guidance and help of almighty God.”
Moments earlier, the clerk of the council proclaimed Charles as the new monarch.
“Whereas it has pleased almighty God to call to his mercy our late sovereign lady Queen Elizabeth the Second of blessed and glorious memory, by whose decease the crown of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is solely and rightfully come to Prince Charles, Philip Arthur George,” the clerk of the council said.
“We therefore, the lords spiritual and temporal of this realm, and members of the House of Commons together with other members of her late majesty’s privy council and representatives of the realms and territories, alderman, citizens of London and others, with one voice and consent of tongue and heart publish and proclaim that the Prince Charles Philip Arthur George, is now by our the death of our late sovereign of happy memory, become our only lawful and happy liege Lord.”
The clerk continued, “Charles III, by the grace of god of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of his other realms and territory, King, head of the commonwealth, defender of the faith, to whom we do acknowledge all faith and obedience with humble affection, beseeching god by whom kings and queens do reign to bless his majesty with long and happy years to reign over us.”
“God Save the King,” he concluded.
The proclamation followed a meeting to the Ascension Council, which gathers only after the death of a monarch, to acknowledge Charles as the heir to the crown.
The meeting included such head-of-state-housekeeping as the King’s oath to “maintain” and “preserve” the Church of Scotland — an artifact of the unification of the kingdoms following a 17th Century civil war — and the approval of various continuity-of-government plans.
Following White’s ascension proclamation, royal heralds traveled to repeat the proclamation, heading to London’s Royal Exchange, to Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
Flags flew briefly at full staff Saturday in honor of the new king, before returning to half-staff in mourning of the Queen.
On Friday, the royal made his first public address as the UK’s new monarch in the wake of his “darling mama” Queen Elizabeth II’s death.
“I speak to you today with feelings of profound sorrow,” the 73-year-old said as he began his nine minute pre-taped speech.
“Queen Elizabeth was a life well lived; a promise with destiny kept and she is mourned most deeply in her passing. That promise of lifelong service I renew to you all today.”
Elsewhere, Charles vowed to follow in his mother’s footsteps and give a life of service to the British people and members of the Commonwealth.