Proclamations of the King read in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast

Crowds gather for formal declarations to the devolved nations that Charles III has acceded to the throne

Crowds gathered in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast on Sunday to hear formal declarations to the devolved nations that Queen Elizabeth II has died and King Charles III has acceded to the throne.

In a ceremony dating back centuries, officials wearing heraldic clothes repeated the proclamation of the accession made in London on Saturday that a new king is head of the United Kingdom.

Similar ceremonies were held across other cities, counties and towns, repeating a traditional method of spreading important news across the UK.

At least two protesters who raised objections to the monarchy at ceremonies have been arrested.

In Edinburgh, the Lord Lyon King of Arms reread the proclamation of the new king at Mercat Cross at noon. He then declared “God save the King” and the crowd shouted the phrase back to him.

The national anthem was sung, and the Lord Lyon King led three cheers, saying “Hip hip”, to which the crowd replied with “Hooray!”.

The proclamation was followed by a 21-gun salute from the city’s castle.

As the King’s Body Guard for Scotland and the guard of honour made their way towards Edinburgh Castle, the crowd applauded.

There were some protesters at the event. After the national anthem was sung, a small group of people could be heard calling for a republic.

Earlier, just before the proclamation began, a protester was apprehended by the police after holding up a sign that said: “Fuck imperialism, abolish the monarchy.” Others booed and called for a republic.

A police spokesperson said a 22-year-old woman was arrested “in connection with a breach of the peace”.

The Queen’s cortege carrying her coffin left Balmoral on Sunday morning heading to Edinburgh and the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

Members of the 3rd Battalion of the Royal Welsh Regiment give three cheers for the King at Cardiff Castle.
Members of the 3rd Battalion of the Royal Welsh Regiment give three cheers for the King at Cardiff Castle. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA

At Cardiff Castle, Wales’s Herald of Arms Extraordinary, Tom Lloyd, and the Lord-Lieutenant of South Glamorgan, Morfudd Meredith, read the proclamation in English and Welsh.

More than 2,000 people had gathered inside the grounds and hundreds more lined the streets outside the castle walls, including two protesters holding signs reading “Not our king!”.

The proclamation of accession is the formal method of publicising the accession, sharing the news that the monarch has died and has been acceded to the throne.

In Belfast, crowds were deterred by heavy rain but some onlookers gathered regardless. The High Sheriff Councillor, John Hussey, wore ceremonial robes to read the proclamation at City Hall. Another reading took place at Hillsborough Castle.

Sinn Féin, the largest party in the Northern Ireland assembly, stayed away from Sunday’s ceremony at Hillsborough, but said it would attend other official events during the period of mourning.

Leading members of the Republican party, closely associated with the IRA, which killed Charles’s great-uncle Lord Mountbatten, attended a rally in Belfast for victims of the Troubles instead.

Guests who did attend the ceremony included the Northern Ireland secretary, Chris Heaton-Harris, the Northern Ireland Office minister, Steve Baker, the DUP leader, Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, and the Alliance party leader, Naomi Long.

A gun salute at Hillsborough Castle in Belfast
A gun salute at Hillsborough Castle in Belfast. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA

Charles is due to make his first official visit to Northern Ireland as king later this week. The centre of much of the visit will be the monarch’s official residence at Hillsborough Castle, with a number of ceremonial events planned.

During Oxford’s proclamation ceremony, a protester claimed he was arrested after shouting, “Who elected him?” – a reference to Charles.

Symon Hill wrote on Twitter after the event: “I was arrested today in Oxford after I voiced my opposition to the proclamation of the new King. Can we be arrested simply for expressing an opinion in public?”

Most events passed without protest. About 300 people stood in silence outside Sheffield City Hall as the proclamation was read for South Yorkshire.

The reading of the principal proclamation of the new king took place at St James’s Palace in the City of London on Saturday. It was the first accession council since 1952, when Queen Elizabeth II was proclaimed, and in a historic first, Saturday’s ceremony was televised.

Charles automatically became sovereign on the death of his mother at Balmoral Castle on Thursday afternoon. The accession council – an ancient body of advisers that dates back as far as the time of the Norman conquest – formally announced his role as head of state on Saturday.

The Queen’s funeral will be held on Monday 19 September at Westminster Abbey in London, Buckingham Palace has confirmed.


Rajeev Syal

The GuardianTramp

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