With the grandeur that is to be expected, King Charles III was officially proclaimed sovereign of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in a ceremony that dates back hundreds of years.
The ceremony, which took place Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, at St. James’s Palace in London, called upon the Accession Council to acknowledge the new monarch on behalf of the British government, a process carried out according to the constitution.
With this declaration, King Charles is now not only the sovereign of the United Kingdom but also the head of the Commonwealth, which comprises 2.4 billion people and 54 countries.
Now the world’s eyes will be on Charles, who, at 73, becomes the oldest, and arguably the most groomed, person in British history to become king.
Charles was born to Queen Elizabeth, then princess, and her husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, on Nov. 14, 1948. When he was just three years old, his mother ascended to the throne, and Charles came into the spotlight as next-in-line for the British throne.
Charles’ life is marked by many departures from the usual standards for a king-in-waiting. He became the first heir to be educated outside of the palace when he was sent to attend a prep school in London. He then later attended Gordonstoun, a boarding school in Scotland his father once also attended.
After graduating from university in 1970, the future King of England embarked on a military career. In 1974, Charles qualified as a helicopter pilot and joined the 845 Naval Air Squadron, which operated out of Her Majesty’s Ship Hermes. He served in the Royal Navy for seven years, ending his career as commander of HMS Bronington.
On July 29, 1981, Charles married Lady Diana Spencer in a ceremony watched by millions around the world.
In stark contrast to his mother, King Charles’ life has been the source of tabloid gossip for many decades, especially after his marriage to Diana. The spotlight intensified after the couple’s separation in 1992 and her subsequent tragic death in 1997. Adding fuel to the situation was his rumoured affair with his longtime sweethearts, Camilla, now the Queen consort of England.
Over the years, Charles has also stood out from other royal heirs by not shying away from giving political opinions at times, typically considered off-limits for English royals.
Charles and Canada
King Charles’ connection with Canada began at an early age when he was still serving in the military. During his military service, King Charles spent time in Canada in 1975, when he spent a week in the Northwest Territories. He also spent a short while at CFB Gagetown, NB.
Charles has visited Canada in official capacities many times over the last few decades. He visited Canada with Princess Diana three times. He has also visited Canada in official capacities with the Queen Consort. Their latest visit to Canada was this year to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth.
On Saturday, an official ceremony was also held at the official residence of the Governor General, Rideau Hall in Ottawa, to mark King Charles’ accession as the new head of state of Canada.
“While we continue to mourn the loss of Canada’s longest-reigning sovereign, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, we also look to the future with the proclamation of the accession of His Majesty King Charles III as Sovereign of Canada.
“Canada has enjoyed a long history and a close friendship with His Majesty King Charles III, who has visited our country many times over the years, most recently this spring to mark the Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
“Throughout his early naval career and later involvement with more than 400 organizations around the world, His Majesty King Charles III has demonstrated his dedication to service. We have no doubt that his deeply felt commitment to education, the environment, and the empowerment of young people will provide a strong foundation from which he will continue to work toward the betterment of the Commonwealth and its people.
“On behalf of the Government of Canada, we affirm our loyalty to Canada’s new King, His Majesty King Charles III, and offer him our full support,” stated Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the proclamation of the accession of Canada’s new sovereign.
The New Commander-in-Chief
The Canadian Armed Forces’ (CAF) new commander-in-chief has storied ties with the CAF. In the 1970s, when he served in the military, he trained at CFB Gagetown as a naval helicopter pilot. In 2012, he revisited the base during his tour to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
According to canada.ca, The King serves as Colonel-in-Chief of the following units in Canada:
- The Royal Canadian Air Force Reserve;
- Lord Strathcona’s Horse (“Royal Canadians”);
- The Royal Winnipeg Rifles;
- The Royal Regiment of Canada;
- The Royal Canadian Dragoons;
- The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada; and
- The Toronto Scottish Regiment (Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother’s Own).
He has also visited Canadian bases many times over the years. For example, in 2017, King Charles and the Queen Consort visited CFB Trenton, where the Queen met with CAF personnel and their families. They also participated in a commemoration ceremony at the Afghanistan Repatriation Memorial.