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King Charles III proclaimed king by historic council in live ceremony

LONDON – The Garter King of Arms, an official member of the royal household since 1415, took to the balcony of St. James’s Palace in central London on Saturday to proclaim to all of the United Kingdom that there was a new monarch: King Charles III .

Holding a scepter and wearing an ostrich-feathered velvet hat, his reading from a large written proclamation was a historic ritual that’s gone on for hundreds of years. Trumpets – the tweets of yore – blared. Cries of “God save the king” rang out, in a scene that will be repeated across Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in the next day with more gun salutes and military pomp.

In a twist of history and modernity, the meeting of the historic Accession Council – made up of members of the Church of England, lawmakers and senior state officials – was streamed live for the first time ever. It allowed millions of Brits to watch the ceremony that usually takes place behind closed doors, and was seen as a potential sign of how the new king may intend to reign.

“The King personally asked for television cameras to be allowed in the Accession Council. King Charles III starts his reign of him as he means to go on. A new transparent monarchy for a modern age, ”tweeted royal commentator Charlie Proctor.

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The council’s convening, traditionally meant to be as soon as possible after the death of a sovereign, is followed by a meeting in Parliament.

Charles, dressed in black, took an oath before the council while standing alongside Queen Consort Camilla and the new Prince and Princess of Wales William and Catherine. He promised to uphold the church and facilitate the continuity of government – a pledge taken by every sovereign at their accession since George I in 1714.

He referred to the “irreparable loss” the nation has suffered with the death of Queen Elizabeth II and hailed her reign as “unequaled in its duration, its dedication and its devotion.”

“I am deeply aware of this great inheritance and of the duties and heavy responsibilities of Sovereignty which have now passed to me,” he told the council. “I shall strive to follow the inspiring example I have been set.”

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Outside the palace, crowds from across the UK assembled and fell into a hushed silence as they awaited the proclamation – albeit with modern mobile phones in hand, ready to post scenes from the event online.

Craning their necks, some jostled for a good view. Others, somewhat ironically, took to WhatsApp messaging groups and websites for better views and detailed insights.

“It’s like we’re so close and yet so far,” said Adam Stanton, 32, as he tried to refresh his social media feeds for news. “What are they doing in there? Where are the trumpets? “

After the declaration, the chants hailing Charles rang out – at first tentatively and then more full throated – alongside gun salutes and trumpets. One exasperated mother tried to keep her children engaged in the momentous event: “Guys, I know this is really boring to you but this is actually extremely important,” she was overheard saying.

Online, the tone was less enthusiastic. “No one cares it’s not the middle ages any more,” tweeted one watcher. “Enough now,” said another.

Charles’s mother made her own history when encouraged by her husband, Prince Philip, she gave permission for her coronation to be televised for the first time in 1953.

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Amanda Kingston traveled from the Welsh town of Tenby, waking up at 3:15 am to travel to London with her family for the event. In a time of national flux, she said Charles had proved reassuring.

“We said to each this morning, that we feel a lot happier,” she told The Washington Post outside St. James’s Palace. “He looked like a king,” she said of the new monarch. Kingston and her family di lei were devastated by the news of the queen’s death di lei on Thursday and gathered to raise a toast at home in her honor di lei.

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Inside the palace, former British Prime ministers mingled, among them Tony Blair, David Cameron and newly ousted Boris Johnson surrounded by senior religious and state officials who make up the council.

Opposition Labor Party leader Keir Starmer called it “a real moment in history.” Speaking to Britain’s Sky News after attending, he said, “on occasions like this we come together.” He and other senior lawmakers will re-swear their own oaths later Saturday to the new King Charles III and will meet with him at Buckingham palace in a smaller private audience.

Flags will be briefly flown at full-staff across the nation for the next 24 hours following the accession ceremony, before returning to half-staff as the United Kingdom continues its 10 days period of national mourning.

The state funeral for Elizabeth is expected to take place on Monday Sept. 19 with world leaders and officials, among them President Biden, due to attend.

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Elizabeth, who died at Balmoral Castle on Thursday, will lie in state in Edinburgh before being transferred to London’s Westminster Abbey. She will then be buried near her husband and father di lei at Windsor Castle.

As crowds ebbed away and the ceremony faded outside St. James’s some people lingered taking in the rare historic moment, others made plans to travel to nearby Buckingham palace to lay flowers and remember the queen.

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