When is King Charles III proclaimed king? What you need to know about the Accession Council

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Although Prince Charles immediately became King Charles III after Queen Elizabeth II died, there are still a few steps to be taken before he is formally crowned.

Queen Elizabeth became monarch more than a year after she was actually crowned. Her father died in February 1952 and due to an old customary law rule in the country enacted to ensure that the United Kingdom is never without a monarch, she immediately became queen.

However, her coronation did not take place until June 1953. And while one can assume that King Charles III will not have his coronation for a few months, formal steps are already being taken to make his role official.

One of those steps is the accession council and the main proclamation, which will take place on Saturday.

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Here’s everything you need to know about what’s to come.

What is the Accession Council?

The Accession Council is a meeting of the Privy Counsellors, Great Officers of State, the Lord Mayor of London, Realm High Commissioners and senior officials, which only takes place on the death of a monarch.
(The Associated Press)

The Accession Council is a meeting of the Privy Counsellors, Great Officers of State, the Lord Mayor of London, Realm High Commissioners and senior officials and only takes place on the death of a monarch.

The purpose of the meeting is to make the formal announcement that the heir apparent will become the country’s next monarch. It is usually split into two parts.

The meeting will take place at St. James’s Palace in London and will be televised this year for the first time in history. It takes place on Saturday at 10am London time.

Part 1

Prince William and Queen Consort Camilla will attend the first half of the Accession Council meeting.  They are both members of the Privy Counsel.

Prince William and Queen Consort Camilla will attend the first half of the Accession Council meeting. They are both members of the Privy Counsel.
(Getty images)

The first half of the Accession Meeting takes place in the absence of the new king or queen. This is where the Proclamation of Accession, or Main Proclamation, is read proclaiming the new monarch as the sovereign.

Queen Elizabeth II’s proclamation read in part: “We, the Lords Spiritual and Temporal of this Realm, are here assisted by his late Majesty’s Privy Council, with representatives of other members of the Commonwealth, with other distinguished gentlemen of quality, with the Lord Mayor, Aldermen, and Citizens of London, now hereby publish and proclaim with one voice and assent of tongue and heart that the high and mighty Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary now, through the death of our late Sovereign of happy memory, Queen Elizabeth II become.”

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This proclamation is traditionally the first time the public learns what the new sovereign will be called. However, Clarence House has already revealed that Charles will be called King Charles III.

Once read, the proclamation is signed by the Prime Minister, Lord Chancellor, Lord Privy Seal, Earl Marshal, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, and any member of the Royal Family who is also part of the Privy Counsel. In this case, Prince William and Queen Consort Camilla will also be included. Everyone who signs is a member of the ‘platform party’.

Part 2

King Charles III is due to attend the second half of the Accession Council meeting, where he will make a statement on the death of his mother and take the Scottish oath.

King Charles III is due to attend the second half of the Accession Council meeting, where he will make a statement on the death of his mother and take the Scottish oath.
(Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

After the first proclamation is read and signed, part one of the meeting ends and the second part begins almost immediately. The new monarch must attend the second half of the council, which acts as his or her first Privy Counsel meeting as the sovereign, and is attended only by the Privy Counselors.

Just as the Queen reads a statement on her father’s death, King Charles III will also make a statement on the death of his mother during this portion of the meeting. His speech will be followed by the reading of the Scottish Oath, which every monarch has read since 1714.

The oath is a recognition of the separation of church and state in the country.

Once the oath is taken, the monarch signs two separate documents assuring the recitation of the oath. Each counselor then signs the proclamation and departs. The proclamation is then taken to the balcony above Friary Court in St. James’s Palace, where it will be read by the Garter King of Arms, who will be accompanied by Earl Marshal, officers and sergeants.

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As the proclamation introducing King Charles is read to the public, all flags will return to full staff and half-mast in respect and mourning for the Queen once the reading is over in London, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.