Charles's succession has brought us together and fortified the Union (2022)

In a ceremony dating back a thousand years, Charles III was formally proclaimed King yesterday.

The Accession Council, which traces its origins to Anglo-Saxon times, lamented the loss of one Sovereign and pledged allegiance to the next. Signatories to the proclamation document included Lords Spiritual and Temporal, former Prime Ministers and leading members of the current Government and Opposition.

It was a scene laden with symbolism. To some, it must have seemed arcane and largely ritualistic. It was far more than that.

In a ceremony dating back a thousand years, Charles III was formally proclaimed King yesterday. The Accession Council, which traces its origins to Anglo-Saxon times, lamented the loss of one Sovereign and pledged allegiance to the next.

To some, it must have seemed arcane and largely ritualistic. It was far more than that. This was an affirmation that the British Sovereign rules by the consent of the people – a living demonstration of the continuity and legal authority that underpin our constitutional Monarchy.

Since 1688, that system has presided over an unprecedented epoch of personal freedom and political stability. While other nations have succumbed to extremism, revolution and tyranny, the United Kingdom has been a beacon of democracy – and remains so today.

This being the 21st Century, of course, the ancient in yesterday’s proceedings was rightly tempered with the modern. The event was televised for the first time and was attended by the new Queen Consort, accompanied by the new Prince of Wales.

And inevitably, it prompted a tsunami of social media comment – ranging as ever from the positive to the deranged – reminding us that the age of unspoken deference is past.

Along with the gun salutes and shouts of Long Live The King, the ceremony also brought home the sad truth that Queen Elizabeth II is really gone.

Along with the gun salutes and shouts of Long Live The King, the ceremony also brought home the sad truth that Queen Elizabeth II is really gone.

She had been a presence of maternal reassurance for so long that many of us have found it hard to believe she is no longer here.

Despite our profound sense of loss however, all the indications are that this most consummate of Monarchs has tutored her eldest son well.

Sometimes aloof and rather prickly as a younger man, Charles has developed over the years into a far more rounded and empathic character.

During his walkabout outside Buckingham Palace on Friday, he displayed much of his mother’s easy charm. And the crowds adored him for it. The outpouring of public affection was palpable. That evening, his address to the nation was a masterpiece of eloquence, and charged with emotion.

Bidding a poignant farewell to his ‘darling Mama’ and promising to carry on her legacy of public service, his words brought a lump to a million throats.

He also paid moving tribute to Camilla, his wife, confidante and touchstone. After his mother, she has helped more than anyone to prepare him for this moment.

Having been less than popular following the death of Diana,Camilla has won the public round and earned her own special place in our affections.

Significantly, Charles also stressed how honoured he feels to be taking over as head of the Church of England and inheriting the title Fidei Defensor – Defender of the Faith. Some years ago, he was criticised for undermining the established church after saying he would rather be known as the more generic ‘defender of faith’, to reflect Britain’s religious diversity.

In Friday’s statement, there was no such equivocation. While respecting and engaging with all other religions, he was a committed Anglican and would rule as an Anglican king. Meanwhile, the Queen’s death will no doubt stir the republican movement from its slumbers.

During his walkabout outside Buckingham Palace on Friday, Charles displayed much of his mother’s easy charm. And the crowds adored him for it.

So universally loved and respected was she that the vast majority of anti-Royalists have been keeping their powder dry.

They will soon be back at the barricades, questioning why we should be ruled by those who owe their position and palaces purely to an accident of birth.

Yesterday’s ceremony was the perfect antidote to these stale arguments. Charles III may be a hereditary monarch but he rules by common consent.

Through the Accession Council, he has been legitimised by the people. Those who seek to break up the United Kingdom will also be invigorated by the Queen’s passing.

They will paint this as a moment to re-evaluate the future. But if anything, the Union – and the Monarchy’s place at the head of it – has been strengthened by the succession.

It is deeply symbolic that Elizabeth II died at her beloved Balmoral. The granddaughter of a Scottish peer through her mother’s line and a descendant of the Stuart kings through her father’s, she was arguably as Scottish as she was English.

Several Royals were educated in Scotland and Princess Anne’s son Peter even represented Scotland schools at rugby.

From Balmoral, the Queen’s body will be conveyed to Edinburgh’s historic Holyrood Palace, once the home of Mary, Queen of Scots.

Thousands are expected to cram the Royal Mile as the coffinprocesses to St Giles’ Cathedral, where a memorial service will be held, with the new King in attendance.

This all emphasises the fact that the Royal connection with Scotland is as deep as it is ancient.

While some nationalists may sneer at the institution, the mass of the people cherish it. Wales, too, has a new first family – and one with considerable star quality.

Anglesey was William’s first home as a married man, showing his love for the country of which he now becomes Prince.

It is an honour conferred on heirs to the throne since 1301 and traces its origins even further back – to Glyndwr and the great Llywelyn.

The historic link is rock-solid. To complete the United Kingdom circle, King Charles will visit Northern Ireland to receive a message of condolence at Hillsborough Castle and attend a thanksgiving service at St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast, for his mother’s life.

Few can doubt his commitment and devotion to the Union – or the Union’s overwhelming support for him. Those who hope to destroy it should not count their chickens.

he Royal Family? It goes without saying that he has a uniquely hard act to follow. But the Monarchy has already come a long way from its nadir following the untimely death of Diana, Princess of Wales.

Though Andrew, Harry and Meghan have done their best to drag it down, it has modernised and progressed and is forging a new relevance in modern Britain.

Through the Prince’s Trust, Charles has shown real concern and given enormous practical help to the less fortunate.

His views on the environment and architecture, once seen as crankish, are now mainstream.

Camilla, too, has demonstrated her passion for charitable work. In William and Kate, the family has its golden couple.

With their young family and open, engaging style, they are an incalculable asset. One feels that when their time comes, the Monarchy will be safe in their hands.

In William and Kate, the family has its golden couple. With their young family and open, engaging style, they are an incalculable asset. One feels that when their time comes, the Monarchy will be safe in their hands.

But while it’s undoubtedly a good thing that the Royal Family has been slimmed down, the King must be careful not to allow it to become diminished.

The Monarchy is the glue that binds this country together.

Water it down too much and it can no longer serve that purpose. These are considerations for the future, however.

First we mourn and reflect on the remarkable life of our lost matriarch – Elizabeth the Great, as she was aptly dubbed by Boris Johnson.

As the nation comes to terms with her passing, we can take comfort from her own consoling words for those who lost loved ones in the 9/11 attacks, referenced yesterday by Prince William: ‘Grief is the price we pay for love.

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