King Charles will be officially installed as Britain’s new monarch in a ceremony that will be followed by gun salutes and the reading of proclamations throughout London and the rest of the United Kingdom.
Queen Elizabeth, 96, passed away on Thursday after 70 years on the throne, triggering long-anticipated and meticulously orchestrated plans for days of mourning and a state funeral that will take place in less than a week.
The death of Elizabeth, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, has drawn drawing an outpouring of tributes from at home and around the globe.
Charles, 73, succeeded his mother immediately on Thursday but an Accession Council made up of hundreds of politicians, bishops and senior civil servants will proclaim his succession on Saturday at a ceremony with officials in traditional heraldic clothing.
The proclamation will be accompanied by gun salutes and heralds who travel to 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 capital cities of the United Kingdom – Edinburgh in Scotland, Belfast in Northern Ireland, and Cardiff in Wales – and at other locations, too.
The new king vowed on Friday to serve the nation with “loyalty, 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 realms 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 address that he had made his eldest son William, 40, the new Prince of Wales, the title that had 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 the state funeral for Elizabeth, once described by her grandson Harry as “the nation’s grandmother”. The date for that has not been announced but it is expected in a little over a week’s time.
Leaders from around the world are expected in London for the funeral, including U.S. 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 timing for that is not yet clear. There was a 16-month gap between Elizabeth becoming queen in 1952 and her coronation in 1953.
Thousands have gathered at royal palaces to pay their respects to the late queen, with some shedding tears as they laid flowers and others wanting to celebrate the life of a monarch who for most Britons was the only they have ever known.
Elizabeth, who was the world’s oldest and longest-serving head of state, came to the throne following the death of her father King George VI on Feb. 6, 1952, when she was just 25.
Over the decades she witnessed a seismic change in the social, political and economic structure of her nation. She won praise for guiding the monarchy into the 21st Century and modernising it in the process, despite intense media scrutiny and the often highly public travails of her family.
Charles, who opinion polls indicate is less popular than his mother, now has the task of securing the institution’s future.