King Charles III has been proclaimed the monarch of the United Kingdom in a pompous ceremony steeped in historical history and political symbolism, an event which has been aired live online and on the air for the first time.
Saturday's celebration was followed by gun salutes and the reading of proclamations in London and the other capital cities of the United Kingdom, including Edinburgh, Belfast, and Cardiff.
Charles, who served as heir apparent for seven decades, automatically became king upon the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, on Thursday. However, the accession ceremony was a crucial constitutional and ceremonial step in introducing the new king to the nation, a legacy of a time before mass communications.
Dozens of prominent British politicians, including Prime Minister Liz Truss and five of her predecessors, assembled for the meeting of the Accession Council at the state apartments of St. James's Palace.
They gathered without Charles, establishing his position as King Charles III. The king then joined them and vowed to follow his mother's "inspiring example" as he assumed his royal duties.
"I am acutely aware of this great inheritance and the duties and weighty responsibilities of sovereign power," he declared.
Speaking of his sorrow, he stated, "I know how deeply you, the entire nation, and I dare say the entire world feel for me in this irreparable loss we have all endured."
The new monarch ratified a series of orders, one of which declared the day of his mother's funeral a public holiday.
Prince Harry and the Duchess of Sussex joined Prince William and Princess Kate at Windsor Castle hours after the ceremony to observe the sea of floral tributes left by the people in honor of the princes' grandmother.
It was the first public appearance of the two couples since the queen's passing. The princes and their wives were observed shaking hands with members of the public and conversing with them.
Queen Elizabeth II will lay in state at the Palace of Westminster for four days beginning on Wednesday after her body has been carried from Balmoral to Edinburgh and then London. The state funeral will be held at Westminster Abbey on September 19.
The ceremony was hailed by the organizers as "a fitting farewell to one of the most influential figures of our time."
The declaration was made by the palace hours after the first accession ceremony in 1952 when Queen Elizabeth II ascended to the throne.
Charles was joined by his wife Camilla, the queen consort, and his eldest son Prince William during the ceremony. William is now the successor to the throne and has assumed the title of prince of Wales, which Charles held for many years.
The event concluded with a palace balcony announcement by a royal official that King Charles III was now the monarch. In previous centuries, this would have been the public's first official confirmation of their new monarch.
"The crown never dies"
David White, the garter king of arms, announced while accompanied by trumpeters in gold-trimmed robes before leading applause for the new king: "hip, hip, hooray!"
As Charles proclaimed the news, gun salutes boomed out in Hyde Park, at the Tower of London, and military installations throughout the United Kingdom and troops in the palace courtyard removed their bearskin hats in a royal salute.
The proclamation was read in the medieval City of London and other parts of the United Kingdom.
Ed Owens, a royal historian, stated that the event's "highly choreographed pageantry" provides a direct statement to the British public that the monarchy is deeply rooted in British history.
Owens told Al Jazeera from London, "There is a clear emphasis on pomp and circumstance – a vision of British history unfolding before our eyes."
He continued, "The point here is that the crown never dies." "Upon the demise of the king, the crown goes directly to the successor.
"The professionalization of the type of royal spectacle that is currently unfolding in central London occurred in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. "This is because the monarchy sought to make itself the focal point of British history, and the orchestration of these kinds of events that we are witnessing today is an attempt to explain to the masses, particularly television viewers, what British history means," Owens explained.
Even though her demise was widely anticipated, for many Britons it is a destabilizing event. It comes at a time when many Britons are dealing with an energy crisis, a rising cost of living, the unpredictability of the war in Ukraine, and the repercussions of Brexit.
The country's leadership has also recently changed. The queen appointed Truss on Tuesday, only two days before her passing.
Charles sounded a note of continuity on Friday, pledging in a televised address to continue the "lifelong service" of the queen with his modernizing imprint.
The new monarch looked to both the past and the future, highlighting his mother's unshakeable "dedication and devotion as sovereign" while signaling that he will be a monarchy of the twenty-first century.