Queen’s funeral set for Sept. 19; Charles takes the throne

LONDON — Queen Elizabeth II, Great Britain’s longest-serving monarch, will be laid to rest on Sept. 19, Buckingham Palace announced, hours after her son was officially proclaimed King Charles III.

The funeral, which will be designated a national holiday, will be held at Westminster Abbey in London, the Palace said in a statement Saturday.

Over the course of the next week, the queen’s body will travel from Balmoral, Scotland, where she died on Thursday, to Buckingham Palace in London and on to Westminster Abbey. The public will have a chance to pay their respects as she will lie in state in Edinburgh and London.

Charles III, 73, said earlier he would dedicate the rest of his life as king to honoring his mother’s service. He was officially proclaimed monarch in the first Accession Council ceremony to be held since 1952, when his mother took the throne at the age of 25. The king said he was “deeply aware” of the responsibility he has inherited from his mother, who died at the age of 96.

“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 throughout the world,” he said.

The council, made up of about 200 members — primarily current and former politicians and other dignitaries — proclaimed his ascension to the throne in the State Apartments of St. James’s Palace in London.

A proclamation also took place outside the Royal Exchange, next to the Bank of England in the city of London, the capital’s historic center. A large crowd gathered as a marching band arrived, with many spectators dressed in suits and ties and others climbing walls to get a better view. They sang the national anthem and shouted “hip hip hooray” for the king.

Liz Truss, who was asked to become prime minister by the queen less than a week ago, swore an oath of allegiance to the new monarch in a special session of parliament. The last premier to do so was Winston Churchill.

Queen Elizabeth II died at her Balmoral estate about three months after the country celebrated her Platinum Jubilee, marking 70 years of service.

With Charles now king, his elder son Prince William replaces him as the Prince of Wales. William’s wife, Kate, becomes the first Princess of Wales since the death of his mother, Diana, 25 years ago.

Saturday’s ceremony at St. James’s, a highly choreographed ritual which dates back to at least 1837, was followed by the king’s declaration and taking of an oath.

The oath:

I, Charles III, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of My other Realms and Territories King, Defender of the Faith, do faithfully promise and swear that I shall inviolably maintain and preserve the Settlement of the true Protestant Religion as established by the Laws made in Scotland in prosecution of the Claim of Right and particularly by an Act entitled “An Act for securing the Protestant Religion and Presbyterian Church Government” and by the Acts passed in the Parliament of both Kingdoms for Union of the two Kingdoms, together with the Government, Worship, Discipline, Rights and Privileges of the Church of Scotland. So help me God.

Council members then said, “God save the king.”

Former Conservative Prime Ministers Boris Johnson, Theresa May, David Cameron and John Major, along with former Labour Prime Ministers Gordon Brown and Tony Blair, were among the attendees. Women, including May and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, attended the ceremony for the first time.

Penny Mordaunt led the ceremony after being made Leader of the House of Commons by Truss this week.

Gun salutes rang out across the city, including from Hyde Park and the Tower of London, where 62 rounds were fired. The number of rounds starts with the standard 21, and increases by 20 when fired from a royal fortress and a further 20 when in the city of London, signifying the loyalty of its citizens to the monarch. Salutes were fired in several other locations, including Edinburgh Castle and Gibraltar.


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