Charles is proclaimed king; sons unite to thank the public

Britain_Queen_32400 Britain's King Charles III, looks at flowers outside Buckingham Palace following Thursday's death of Queen Elizabeth II, in London, Friday Sept. 9, 2022. King Charles III, who spent much of his 73 years preparing for the role, planned to meet with the prime minister and address a nation grieving the only British monarch most of the world had known. He takes the throne in an era of uncertainty for both his country and the monarchy itself.
Britain_Queen_44730 Britain's King Charles III is given a rose by well-wishers outside Buckingham Palace following Thursday's death of Queen Elizabeth II, in London, Friday, Sept. 9, 2022. King Charles III, who spent much of his 73 years preparing for the role, planned to meet with the prime minister and address a nation grieving the only British monarch most of the world had known. He takes the throne in an era of uncertainty for both his country and the monarchy itself.
Britain_Queen_00004 King Charles III greets mourners outside Buckingham Palace in London, Friday, Sept. 9, 2022. Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's longest-reigning monarch and a rock of stability across much of a turbulent century, died Thursday Sept. 8, 2022, after 70 years on the throne. She was 96.
APTOPIX_Britain_Queen_43729 A well-wisher kisses the hand of Britain's King Charles III as he walks outside at Buckingham Palace following Thursday's death of Queen Elizabeth II, in London, Friday, Sept. 9, 2022. King Charles III, who spent much of his 73 years preparing for the role, planned to meet with the prime minister and address a nation grieving the only British monarch most of the world had known. He takes the throne in an era of uncertainty for both his country and the monarchy itself.
APTOPIX_Britain_Queen_38051 Britain's King Charles III, left, and Camilla, the Queen Consort, look at floral tributes left outside Buckingham Palace following Thursday's death of Queen Elizabeth II, in London, Friday, Sept. 9, 2022. King Charles III, who spent much of his 73 years preparing for the role, planned to meet with the prime minister and address a nation grieving the only British monarch most of the world had known. He takes the throne in an era of uncertainty for both his country and the monarchy itself.
Britain_Queen_40608 People lay flowers for Queen Elizabeth II at Green Park, near Buckingham Palace in London, Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022. Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's longest-reigning monarch and a rock of stability across much of a turbulent century, died Thursday Sept. 8, 2022, after 70 years on the throne. She was 96.
Britain_Royals_34708 King Charles III greets members of the public outside Clarence House in London after he was formally proclaimed monarch by the Privy Council, Saturday Sept. 10, 2022.
Britain_Royals_55908 From left, Britain's Kate, Princess of Wales, Prince William, Prince of Wales, Prince Harry and Meghan walk to meet members of the public, at Windsor Castle, following the death of Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday, in Windsor, England, Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022.
Britain_Royals_69503 Britain's Prince William and Kate, Princess of Wales, left, and Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex view the floral tributes for the late Queen Elizabeth II outside Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022.
Britain_Royals_06976 Britain's Prince William and Kate, Princess of Wales and Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex leave the gate to view the floral tributes for the late Queen Elizabeth II outside Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022.
Britain_Royals_73070 Floral tributes and a farewell message to Queen Elizabeth II are seen outside Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh, Scotland, Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022. Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's longest-reigning monarch and a rock of stability across much of a turbulent century, died Thursday Sept. 8, 2022, after 70 years on the throne. She was 96.
Britain_Royals_56510 Britain's Prince William and Kate, Princess of Wales and Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex view the floral tributes for the late Queen Elizabeth II outside Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022.
Britain_Royals_36412 From left, Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex view flowers left by members of the public, at Windsor Castle, following the death of Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday, in Windsor, England, Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022.
Britain_Royals_37659 King Charles III waves to members of the public outside Clarence House, London, after he was formally proclaimed monarch by the Privy Council, Saturday Sept. 10, 2022.
Britain_Royals_18393 Camilla, the Queen Consort greets members of the public outside Clarence House, London, Saturday Sept. 10, 2022.
Britain_Royals_69967 Camilla, the Queen Consort speaks to well wishers as she returns to Clarence House, London, Saturday Sept. 10, 2022.
Britain_Royals_69107 People watch the proclamation rehearsal outside St Giles' Cathedral, in Edinburgh, Scotland, Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022. Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's longest-reigning monarch and a rock of stability across much of a turbulent century, died Thursday Sept. 8, 2022, after 70 years on the throne. She was 96.
Britain_Queen_19021 Former British Prime Ministers Theresa May, front left, and John Major, center, and Baroness Scotland arriving for the Accession Council ceremony at St James's Palace, London, Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, where King Charles III is formally proclaimed monarch.
Britain_Royals_22675 People watch members of the 4th Battalion Royal Regiment of Scotland during the proclamation rehearsal outside St Giles' Cathedral, in Edinburgh, Scotland, Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022. Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's longest-reigning monarch and a rock of stability across much of a turbulent century, died Thursday Sept. 8, 2022, after 70 years on the throne. She was 96.
Britain_Royals_69533 Members of the 4th Battalion Royal Regiment of Scotland and the Royal Marine band service rehearse outside St Giles' Cathedral, in Edinburgh, Scotland, Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022. Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's longest-reigning monarch and a rock of stability across much of a turbulent century, died Thursday Sept. 8, 2022, after 70 years on the throne. She was 96.
Britain_Royals_92911 Members of the public watch King Charles III and Camilla, the Queen Consort return to Clarence House, London, Saturday Sept. 10, 2022.
Britain_Royals_95500 From left, Britain's Prince Harry, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, Prince William, Prince of Wales and Kate, Princess of Wales view flowers left by members of the public, at Windsor Castle, following the death of Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday, in Windsor, England, Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022.
Britain_Royals_53536 Britain's Prince William, second left, and Kate, Princess of Wales, left, and Britain's Prince Harry, second right, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex walk to the people after viewing the floral tributes for the late Queen Elizabeth II outside Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022.
Britain_Royals_70915 Britain's Prince Harry meets members of the public on a walkabout at Windsor Castle, following the death of Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday, in Windsor, England, Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022.
Britain_Queen_98293 From left, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, former Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown ahead of the Accession Council ceremony at St James's Palace, London, London, Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, where King Charles III is formally proclaimed monarch.
Britain_Royals_06715 Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, Prince William, Prince of Wales and Kate, Princess of Wales look at floral tributes as they meet members of the public on a walkabout at Windsor Castle, following the death of Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday, in Windsor, England, Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022.
Britain_Queen_65097 A general view prior to the second Proclamation in the City of London, at the Royal Exchange, as King Charles III is proclaimed King Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022 in London, Britain. His Majesty The King is proclaimed at the Accession Council in the State Apartments of St James's Palace, London.
Britain_Royals_25226 Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex meet people after viewing the floral tributes for the late Queen Elizabeth II outside Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022.
Britain_Queen_56438 From left, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, former Prime Ministers Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and Boris Johnson ahead of the Accession Council ceremony at St James's Palace, London, London, Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, where King Charles III is formally proclaimed monarch.
Britain_Royals_72999 Meghan, Duchess of Sussex meets members of the public on a walkabout at Windsor Castle, following the death of Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday, in Windsor, England, Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022.
Britain_Royals_63330 King Charles III greets members of the public outside Clarence House in London after he was formally proclaimed monarch by the Privy Council, Saturday Sept. 10, 2022.
Britain_Royals_18455 King Charles III greets members of the public outside Clarence House in London after he was formally proclaimed monarch by the Privy Council, Saturday Sept. 10, 2022.
Britain_Royals_32971 Britain's Prince Harry greets members of the public after viewing the floral tributes for the late Queen Elizabeth II outside Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022.
Britain_Royals_38903 Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex hold hands as they view the floral tributes for the late Queen Elizabeth II outside Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022.
Britain_Royals_61442 From left, Prince Harry, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, Prince William, Prince of Wales and Kate, Princess of Wales look at floral tributes for the Queen, as they meet members of the public at Windsor Castle, following the death of Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday, in Windsor, England, Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022.
Britain_Royals_40087 Crowds wait to see Prince William, Prince of Wales, Kate, Princess of Wales, Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, at Windsor Castle, following the death of Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday, in Windsor, England, Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022.
Britain_Royals_18237 Britain's Prince William meets people after viewing the floral tributes for the late Queen Elizabeth II outside Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022.
Britain_Royals_38396 From left, Kate, the Princess of Wales, Prince William, Prince of Wales, Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex walk to meet members of the public at Windsor Castle, following the death of Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday, in Windsor, England, Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022.
Britain_Royals_26137 Britain's Kate, the Princess of Wales meest members of the public at Windsor Castle, following the death of Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday, in Windsor, England, Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022.
APTOPIX_Britain_Royals_69503 Britain's Prince William and Kate, Princess of Wales, left, and Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex view the floral tributes for the late Queen Elizabeth II outside Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022.
Britain_Royals_03797 King Charles III signs an oath to uphold the security of the Church in Scotland during the Accession Council at St James's Palace, London, Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, where King Charles III is formally proclaimed monarch.
Britain_Royals_78216 King Charles III makes his declaration during the Accession Council at St James's Palace, London, Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, where he is formally proclaimed monarch.
Britain_Royals_02548 King Charles III during the Accession Council at St James's Palace, London, Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, where he is formally proclaimed monarch.
Britain_Royals_06849 From left, Britain's Prince William, Camilla the Queen Consort and King Charles III during the Accession Council at St James's Palace, London, Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, where King Charles III is formally proclaimed monarch.
Britain_Royals_92270 Former British Prime Ministers David Cameron, and Theresa May during the Accession Council ceremony at St James's Palace, London, Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, where King Charles III is formally proclaimed monarch.
Britain_Royals_78074 Britain's Prime Minister Liz Truss and Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby during the Accession Council ceremony at St James's Palace, London, Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, where King Charles III is formally proclaimed monarch.
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LONDON (AP) — King Charles III was formally proclaimed sovereign of the United Kingdom on Saturday, as officials unveiled details of the meticulously choreographed ceremonies that will culminate in the state funeral of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, on Sept. 19.

In this time of sorrow for the House of Windsor, there were hints of a possible family reconciliation. Prince William and his brother Harry, together with Catherine, now Princess of Wales and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, delighted mourners near Windsor Castle with a surprise joint appearance to thank the public for their floral tributes and condolences.

It was the first time that quarrelling younger royal generation had worked together publicly since the Sussexes stepped aside from royal duties in 2020 and moved to California. The thousands who flocked to Windsor on a sunny day were in their thrall, as the couples gratefully accepted flowers, talked to parents and children at length, shook hands and accepted heartfelt condolences.

Meghan approached a teenager in the crowd, who put her hand over her mouth in shock. The pair spoke briefly then the girl said: “Can I have a hug?” Meghan leaned in to give her a big hug.

Catherine, for her part, focused on young children in the crowd, bending down low to speak to them warmly face-to-face.

The late sovereign’s coffin now rests at Balmoral Castle, the summer retreat in the Scottish Highlands where Elizabeth died on Thursday. Palace officials promised Saturday that the public will have opportunities to see the late monarch’s oak coffin as it journeys from Balmoral Castle to Edinburgh and then to London, where her body will lie in state for four days starting Wednesday.

Edward William Fitzalan-Howard, the official in charge of arrangements, said the ceremonies would be “a fitting farewell to one of the defining figures of our times.”

The queen’s eldest son and successor Charles was officially proclaimed Britain’s monarch Saturday in a pomp-filled ceremony steeped in ancient tradition and political symbolism — and, for the first time, broadcast live on television and online.

The 73-year-old Charles, who spent seven decades as heir apparent, automatically became king when his mother died and vowed to follow her example. But the accession ceremony was a key constitutional and ceremonial step that introduced the new monarch to the country, a relic of a time before mass communications.

“I am deeply aware of this great inheritance and of the duties and heavy responsibilities of sovereignty which have now passed to me,” Charles said as he took on the duties of monarch.

New British Prime Minister Liz Truss and five of her predecessors were among scores of current and former British politicians who gathered at St. James’s Palace for the meeting of the Accession Council.

Saturday’s accession ceremony ended with a royal official publicly proclaiming King Charles III to be the country’s new monarch from a balcony at the palace. In centuries past, this would have been the first official confirmation the public had of their new sovereign.

David White, the Garter King of Arms, made the proclamation, flanked by trumpeters in gold-trimmed robes before leading cheers — “hip, hip, hooray!” — for the new king. Gun salutes rang out in Hyde Park, at the Tower of London and at military sites around the U.K. as he announced the news, and scarlet-robed soldiers in the palace courtyard doffed their bearskin hats in a royal salute.

The proclamation was read at other locations across the U.K., including in the medieval City of London.

The new king formally approved a series of orders, including one declaring the day of his mother’s funeral as a public holiday.

Charles was accompanied at the ceremony by wife Camilla, the Queen Consort, and eldest son Prince William, who is now heir to the throne and known by the title that Charles long held, the Prince of Wales. In his first statement since his grandmother’s death, William said the queen “was by my side at my happiest moments. And she was by my side during the saddest days of my life” — a clear reference to the death of his mother, Princess Diana, in 1997.

“I knew this day would come, but it will be some time before the reality of life without Grannie will truly feel real,” William said.

People came by the thousands to pay their respects outside Buckingham Palace in London. The scene was repeated at other royal residences across the U.K. and at British embassies around the world.

For many Britons, the queen’s passing, though long expected, is a destabilizing experience. Queen Elizabeth II is the only monarch most have ever known, and her death comes as many Britons are facing an energy crisis, the soaring cost of living, the uncertainties of the war in Ukraine and the fallout from Brexit.

The country has also just seen a change of leader. Truss was appointed prime minister by the queen on Tuesday, just two days before the monarch died. On Saturday, Truss and other senior U.K. lawmakers lined up in the House of Commons to take an oath of loyalty to the new king.

Normal parliamentary business has been suspended during a period of mourning for the queen. The House of Commons held a rare Saturday session so lawmakers could pay tribute to the late monarch.

Charles has struck a note of continuity, vowing in a televised address Friday to carry on the queen’s “lifelong service,” with his own modernizing stamp.

The new monarch looked both to the past — noting his mother’s unwavering “dedication and devotion as sovereign” — and the future, seeking to strike a reassuring note of constancy while signaling that his will be a 21st-century monarchy.

He reflected on how the country had changed dramatically during the queen’s reign into a society “of many cultures and many faiths,” and pledged to serve people in Britain and the 14 other countries where he is king “whatever may be your background or beliefs.”

For a second day on Saturday, Charles waded into the crowds to meet his subjects and shake hands. Trying to overcome a reputation for aloofness, he is signaling a more relaxed approach to the monarchy than that of his mother.

“It just felt like a really special moment in history,” said Beverly Nash from Kent. “And it was lovely actually seeing him. I didn’t think I would feel as emotional as I did.”

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Follow AP stories on Queen Elizabeth II’s death and other stories about the British monarchy at https://apnews.com/hub/queen-elizabeth-ii

Copyright © 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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