David Mellor looks ahead to the reign of King Charles III
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Queen Elizabeth II has died aged 96, Buckingham Palace announced in a statement yesterday. Britain’s longest-serving monarch was immediately succeeded as Sovereign by her firstborn son Charles, who now reigns as King Charles III. The Prince of Wales is expected to meet the Prime Minister Liz Truss before addressing the nation in a broadcast tonight. As Charles begins his reign as King, the Royal Family will have to deal with a key “problem” due to the size of the Privy Council, according to Dr Robert Morris from University College London’s Constitution Unit.
The constitutional expert claimed the monarch’s advisory body, which plays a key role after the Queen’s death, will need to be carefully managed due to its hundreds of members.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, he said: “Within 24 hours, there’s a special meeting of members of the Privy Council who are augmented by various other worthies.
“Including, for example, representatives of the City as is traditional. The Lord Mayor will be there and all members of the Privy Council.
“At the moment there are just over 700 of them, which is a much larger number than were present in 1952 when King George VI died, and his daughter was of course then in Kenya.
“So, there’ll be a sort of management problem of how to deal with all the numbers which would also include probably the high commissioners from the realms – that is the Commonwealth countries where the Queen is also head of state, as well as head of the Commonwealth.”
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Following Her Majesty’s passing, the Accession Council, held within 24 hours of her death, will proclaim Charles as King.
Privy Counsellors make up the body, along with Great Officers of State and other important figures.
The Accession Council will first meet on its own before Charles attends the second part of the body’s meeting.
Dr Morris said: “What this Accession Council does is it doesn’t make Charles King, it proclaims that he is already King.
“There’s a great fanfare of announcements and there are events in all the provincial capitals to have the proclamation proclaimed and so on.
“And then there’s a second event involving Privy Council members only where the new King attends.”
Charles will make a speech when he attends the Council and is expected to discuss his “heavy burden” as King.
Dr Morris continued: “He does two principal things. He makes a personal declaration, which is very much a personal affair.
“It has three main elements really. One, the great regret of course of the passing of his mother and mention no doubt of her values and her successes.”
“Secondly, he’s saying that he will, of course, observe the Constitution and do his best to preserve it.
“And thirdly, he will make some remarks probably on the lines that it’s a heavy burden, which indeed it is.”
Dr Morris also revealed the King’s immediate travel plans, which are expected in the coming days.
He said: “He will look forward to the support of everyone in his wish to discharge his duties faithfully.
“On this occasion, we think that the Prince – now the King – will then make a broadcast on the evening of his mother’s death.
“And the plan apparently is that he will then travel to the provincial capitals for memorial services which will be held there in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast.
“Meanwhile, arrangements are made of course for the lying in state of the Queen which will take place in Westminster Hall.”
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