Live briefing: Funeral for Queen Elizabeth II will be Sept. 19; Charles formally proclaimed king

Lawmakers pledged their allegiance to King Charles III, who was proclaimed the new monarch on Sept. 10. The occasion was marked with gun salutes and trumpets. (Video: Alexa Juliana Ard/The Washington Post)

LONDON — King Charles III was officially proclaimed as the new monarch of the United Kingdom on Saturday, after a historic ceremonial body known as the Accession Council met to confirm his succession from his late mother. Although Charles instantly became king after the death of Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday, the council — which is made of senior government and church officials — convened at London’s St. James’s Palace and a “principal proclamation” was read from a balcony, an act that will be repeated in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Chants of “God save the king” rang out, as did gun salutes and trumpets. “I shall strive to follow the inspiring example I have been set in upholding constitutional government,” Charles said before the council. He then returned to Buckingham Palace to meet privately with senior politicians and members of the church.

The United Kingdom is in a period of national mourning for Elizabeth until her state funeral at Westminster Abbey, which will take place on Sept. 19 and be a national holiday. Crowds continue to gather in front of Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and Balmoral, the royal family’s Scottish holiday home where she died, as tributes to the country’s longest reigning monarch — acknowledging her legacy, wit and fashion sense — poured in. Members of the royal family attended a private service near Balmoral. Here is the latest.

Key developments

  • The coffin of Queen Elizabeth II will be transported from Balmoral to Edinburgh, the Scottish capital, on Sunday, the royal palace announced. From there, on Tuesday it will be flown to London, where the queen will lie in state at the Palace of Westminster, the seat of Parliament, for four days. Her funeral will be held on Sept. 19, at Westminster Abbey. President Biden told reporters that he plans to attend. “I don’t know what the details are yet, but I’ll be going,” he said Friday.
  • Flags will be flown at full-staff until 1 p.m. London time on Sunday in recognition of the new monarch before returning to half-staff for the remainder of the national mourning period. Charles made his first speech to the nation as king on Friday evening, pledging to devote his remaining years “to uphold the constitutional principles at the heart of our nation.”
  • Prime Minister Liz Truss swore to be “faithful and bear true allegiance” to the new king, as well as his heirs and successors, on the floor of Parliament on Saturday afternoon.
  • The queen’s grandsons and their wives viewed tributes to the monarch in front of Windsor Castle. William and Catherine, the new Prince and Princess of Wales, appeared alongside Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, to greet the crowds on Saturday afternoon. The couples’ joint appearance fueled speculation of a rapprochement between the brothers, whose relationship reportedly suffered after Harry and Meghan stepped down from royal duties. In a written statement, William thanked his grandmother for “the kindness she showed my family and me” and for her example of public service. “I knew this day would come, but it will be some time before the reality of life without Grannie will truly feel real,” he said.
King Charles III addressed the United Kingdom in a prerecorded speech for the first time after his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, died in Scotland at age 96. (Video: The Washington Post)

Today’s events

All times are London time, five hours ahead of Eastern time.

  • At 10 a.m., the Accession Council gathered at London’s St. James’s Palace, a former residence of English kings and queens. Charles had to “read and sign an oath,” as the new monarch.
  • At 11 a.m., the Garter King of Arms, an adviser to the sovereign and member of the royal household read the “principal proclamation” marking the accession of a new monarch from a balcony overlooking Friary Court at St. James’s Palace.
  • At 12 p.m., the proclamation was read at the Royal Exchange in London. In a statement, the Royal Exchange called it a “profound moment in our country’s history.” Further proclamations will be made across the United Kingdom.
  • At 1 p.m., both houses of the British Parliament met to continue paying public tribute to the queen. Some senior law makers also swore their oath again to the new monarch. In a day that could end as late as 10 p.m., British lawmakers will also offer a formal message of sympathy to Charles.
  • From 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., Charles received several official guests at Buckingham Palace, including the prime minister and members of her cabinet, leaders of the opposition political parties and religious figures, such as the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Dean of Westminster.
British Prime Minister Liz Truss and lawmakers in the House of Commons swore their allegiance to the new King Charles III on Sept. 10. (Video: Reuters)

Your royal questions, answered

From our correspondents

An American tourist once asked Elizabeth: Have you ever met the queen? A favorite story about the queen’s wicked sense of humor involves the time she happened upon an American tourist hiking near her Balmoral estate in the Scottish highlands. The hiker asked Elizabeth’s body guard what the queen was like — “Oh, she can be very cantankerous at times, but she’s got a lovely sense of humor,” he replied — and then asked for a photo with the bodyguard, handing the queen a camera. (She happily obliged.) It was just one of many times the queen showed her wit, correspondent Karla Adam writes.

More coverage:

  • What kind of monarch will King Charles III be? Different from his mum, London correspondents William Booth and Karla Adam write. As king, Charles has said he wants to balance tradition and progress. A crusader at heart, Charles has opinions — on climate change, sheep breeds and modern architecture. He may not be able to turn that off.
  • The queen loved her corgis. The many corgis owned by Queen Elizabeth II over her seven-decade reign were furry little monarchs in their own right. When she died Thursday at 96, Elizabeth reportedly left behind two Pembroke Welsh corgis, a corgi-dachshund mix known as a dorgi, and a cocker spaniel. It’s not clear what will happen to the queen’s beloved pets.
  • For some Irish, the queen’s death is complicated. Irish politicians paid tribute to the monarch this week, praising her efforts to repair strained ties between Ireland and Britain. But some Irish reactions have spoken to a long, painful history of violent conflict and colonial rule.
  • It was a rare misstep in the queen’s 70-year reign. But it was a big one. Her son’s glamorous ex-wife, Princess Diana, had died tragically in a car accident, leaving two young boys, the heirs to the throne, without a mother. And for nearly a week, Queen Elizabeth II said nothing. But on the day of the funeral, as Diana’s funeral cortege passed by, she bowed her head.

An American legacy, in photos

During her seven-decade reign, Queen Elizabeth II visited more than two dozen cities across the United States. She chatted with Girl Scouts, football players, presidents and Frank Sinatra. She cheered on race horses in Kentucky. She requested a ham sandwich with the crust removed in Texas. She sported a tweed skirt-suit in Yosemite National Park. Here’s a look back at the queen’s steps through the United States.