Charles fulfills his royal destiny as king after being the senior heir apparent
The Prince of Wales became King, having acceded to the throne immediately upon the death of his mother, the Queen.
Charles – the nation’s oldest heir apparent, from the age of three – now fulfills his royal destiny and reigns as monarch.
Despite his grief, duty calls the new king at the start of this new royal era, demanding that he immediately attend to affairs of state as sovereign and lead the nation in mourning.
Charles – now referred to as Her Majesty rather than Her Royal Highness – is set to deliver a televised speech in honor of his beloved mother.
He will meet the Prime Minister, confirm funeral plans and visit the UK with his wife, Camilla, who is now Queen consort and bears the title of Queen, in the coming days.
Charles automatically became king due to the 17th century Bill of Rights (1689) and the Act of Settlement (1701).
But there must be a formal proclamation of him as the new monarch at an accession council at St James’s Palace in London as soon as possible.
The Council is usually convened the day after a sovereign dies.
It is made up of two parts.
First, the Privy Council – to which 200 of the more than 700 Privy Councilors will be summoned – meets without the sovereign to proclaim the new monarch and settle matters related to the proclamation.
Then, in a second time, the new King holds his first Privy Council.
Charles will make a personal statement about the Queen and then take an oath to preserve the Church of Scotland – because in Scotland there is a division of powers between Church and State.
Afterwards, the first public proclamation of the new Sovereign is read in the open air from the balcony of Friary Court at St James’s Palace by the Garter King of Arms in the presence of the Earl Marshal and two of the Sovereign’s Sergeants-at-Arms.
In the midst of a large ceremony, trumpeters usually play a fanfare from the balcony and shots are fired in Hyde Park and the Tower of London.
The proclamation will then be read at the Royal Exchange in the City of London.
It is also read publicly at some time in other cities, including Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast and usually in Windsor and York, where the mayor traditionally drinks to the health of the new ruler from a golden goblet.
Charles has become known for his commitment to royal duty, environmental campaigning and charity work over the years.
But his personal troubles have also marred his long wait to be monarch – including the breakdown of his marriage to the Princess of Wales and his affair with Camilla Parker Bowles, now his wife and queen.
Camilla was approved to be known as Queen by her stepmother 17 years after she married the prince in 2005.
At the time of her marriage, aides insisted that Camilla did not want to be queen and would not be known as such.
As Britain’s head of state, Charles will now assume constitutional and representational functions that have developed over 1,000 years of history.
He is now head of the armed forces and head of the Church of England, as well as monarch of many Commonwealth realms.
The coronation of the new king is not expected to take place for several months and will involve very detailed planning.
Dubbed Operation Golden Orb, the service at Westminster Abbey is set to be shorter, cheaper and more inclusive for multi-faith Britain.
But the coronation remains a deeply religious Anglican event.
The Queen acceded to the throne in February 1952, but her coronation did not take place until 16 months later, in June 1953.
Unlike the Queen, who became sovereign in her 20s, Charles has spent more than 70 years – almost his entire life – as king-in-waiting, becoming the longest-serving heir in British history.