Return to Transcripts main page
New Day Saturday
Formal Accession Of King Charles III Is Final; King Charles III Addresses The Realm As Monarch. Aired 4:55-6a ET
Aired September 10, 2022 - 04:55 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: And hello, everyone, to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Don Lemon, it is 10:00 am here at Buckingham Palace, as Britain gets ready to officially proclaim Charles III the new king of the United Kingdom and head of the Commonwealth.
This is a few steps away from here, where King Charles will join high- ranking British officials and members of the royal family. It's called the Ascension (sic) Council. The ceremony has marked the end of one reign and the beginning of another for centuries.
This is the first time ever it is being televised and you can see it all here on CNN. You can see dignitaries gathering at St. James' Palace for this ceremony, including Boris Johnson, the former prime minister here.
In his first address to the nation, the king honored his mother's legacy and promised to continue in her footsteps and serve his people. He also asked for a period of royal mourning to be observed until seven days after the queen's funeral.
She died Thursday at the age of 96 at her home in Scotland, Balmoral Castle. Her passing marked the end of 70 years of service, the longest reign in British history. And now with tributes rolling in from across the world, we are waiting for details on her funeral.
I am joined by Max Foster and also Richard Quest is here as well. Max is going to walk us through this as well as Richard Quest.
Thank you both for joining us, Max.
What is going on here?
So the Ascension (sic) Council is meeting at St. James, this is a pretty big deal, never been televised before. This is the first time, proclamation, that he will be proclaimed the king of England.
MAX FOSTER, CNN LONDON ANCHOR & CORRESPONDENT: First, the public.
FOSTER: This is the first time the public has been allowed in to the Accession Council. What you're seeing there is the heart of the British establishment. You were just pointing out, you had all the former prime ministers there. These are the people with the power to proclaim a new king.
This is the heart of British establishment, our first glimpse. If you can imagine this, going back to the earliest days of monarchy, has been the most profound moment, when you proclaim a king. You have the support of the authorities of your land.
And we've never seen this. It looks quite plain. It looks like a lot of people in suits but this is a truly, truly historic moment and it's the first time we're allowed in, because the idea of this is that the establishment approve the king effectively and declare it to the rest of the land.
FOSTER: You have Keir Starmer, the leader of the opposition on the left, then you've got Gordon Brown, David Cameron, Theresa May, Boris Johnson, all the former prime ministers.
How many living prime ministers are there?
RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Tony Blair, of course.
FOSTER: Tony Blair.
QUEST: Essentially what you get at this Privy Council, which is set up to advise the monarch. It's been around since the 16th-17th century.
QUEST: And who will be a Privy Counsellor?
All cabinet members; senior politicians; it's often given to people as an honor. All the great officers of state, the Lord Chamberlain, the Lord Marshal, (INAUDIBLE). You also have people like the Lord President (ph) of the Council, who will lead it today.
And these are key members of the British establishment, political and royal. And they come together -- one interesting point, (INAUDIBLE) forgive me, you may have mentioned this. They remain standing, because Queen Victoria always felt like these people go on too long.
LEMON: Let's talk about the significance of this. It's the first time it's been televised.
FOSTER: The public have never been allowed in, either, so this is their way of bringing the public in. QUEST: And the Privy Council has (INAUDIBLE) been seen before, yes.
We've seen (INAUDIBLE) back in the early '90s. You talk about this is the first time it's been televised for a monarch. The last time was 1952. And it took them months of negotiation to agree to allow it --
FOSTER: -- that was the coronation, yes.
QUEST: -- the coronation the following year and that was only because cameras were new.
FOSTER: And this is on par with the television cameras in coronation, which was the first time cameras.
And the public was allowed into that divine moment, right, and people would out and buy televisions for the coronation just to see what was going on.
LEMON: I'm looking to see who is walking. But we -- it's expected that the new king will leave Buckingham Palace, ,which is right behind us, to go to St. James' Palace --
FOSTER: There's the current prime minister.
LEMON: -- the current prime minister, Liz Truss --
FOSTER: So it comes in two parts. So the Accession Council will declare the king. He won't be allowed in for that. Then he's invited in and he's declared king. So this is St. James' Palace. This is Prince William -- or Prince of Wales, we have to call him now.
Queen consort as well, we're just wait for them to start speaking. But just to clarify, people know Buckingham Palace. Let's listen in to (INAUDIBLE) -- she's --
PENNY MORDAUNT, LORD PRESIDENT, ACCESSION COUNCIL: -- but her most gracious Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, has passed away on Thursday, the 8th of September, 2022 at Balmoral Castle. I propose that, when certain necessary business has been transacted, a deputation consisting of Her Majesty, His Royal Highness, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Lord Chancellor, the Archbishop of York, the prime minister, the clerk of the council and myself shall wait on the king and inform him, the council is assembled.
I now call on the clerk of the council to read aloud the text of the proclamation.
RICHARD TILBROOK, CLERK OF THE COUNCIL: Whereas it has pleased almighty God to call to his mercy our late sovereign lady, Queen Elizabeth II, a blessed and glorious memory, by whose decease the crown of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is solely and rightfully come to the Prince Charles Philip Arthur George.
We therefore, the lords spiritual and temporal of this realm and members of the House of Commons, together with other members of her late Majesty's privy council and representatives of the realms and territories, alderman and citizens of London and others, do now hereby with one voice and consent of tongue and heart, publish and proclaim that the Prince Charles Philip Arthur George is now, by the death of our late sovereign of happy memory, become our only lawful and rightful liege lord, Charles III.
By the grace of god of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of his other realms and territory, king, head of the commonwealth, defender of the faith, to whom we do acknowledge all faith and obedience with humble affection, beseeching God, by whom kings and queens do reign, to bless His Majesty with long and happy years to reign over us. God save the king.
MORDAUNT: I now invite those on the platform to sign the proclamation.
LEMON: So (INAUDIBLE) the official proclamation now and what happens, who all signing this?
QUEST: So the signing party is the platform party, that's members of the royal family, the Privy Counsellors, the archbishop, the (INAUDIBLE) prime minister. Liz Truss now signing.
QUEST: What is interesting is that you do have members of the royal family, which is, of course, the Queen Consort, Queen Camilla, and the Prince of Wales, the Duke --
QUEST: -- we were just discussing that.
FOSTER: Yes. And he was bestowed that during the address last night from the king, during the address the king bestowed that title on Prince William.
So he is Prince of Wales and Kate is now Princess of Wales. He's also (INAUDIBLE) title Duke of Cornwall and got that as soon as the queen died. But now he's also the Prince of Wales.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, the most senior member of the king's church, the Church of England. You'll see this process. The king automatically became king when the queen died. But this is the formal proclamation. After this, the king will be invited in.
Just to clarify, we all know Buckingham Palace, don't we?
But this is St. James', the oldest, the most senior palace and the throne at St. James' is the senior throne, because the king is declared as he sits on that throne. We'll see that in a moment.
QUEST: And the court of St. James', which is what we're looking at here, that is actually the court that ambassadors get accredited to. The American ambassador in London is not the American ambassador to Buckingham Palace.
FOSTER: Or the U.K.
QUEST: Or the U.K.; he is the American ambassador to the court of St. James. So this is significant.
LEMON: This is really changing of the guard, so to speak. It's like the changing of government in the United States, correct, Richard?
QUEST: There's an entire panel of officials and royal servants and royal household behind me in Buckingham Palace, who serve the queen. That will now shift. The axis of power will now shift to Clarence House and the court of St. James over there, where Charles has his own.
It's very similar to a change in administration in a sense that there are -- there is a changing of the guard for all those who are around the monarchy of Elizabeth, to all those around --
MORDAUNT: -- proclamations to be printed and published in specialist supplements in the London, Edinburgh and Belfast Gazettes.
Two, directing the Lord Chancellor to affix the great seal to the proclamation proclaiming His Majesty, King Charles III.
Three, directing the kings, heralds and pursuivants of arms to attend at the court of St. James to proclaim His Majesty King Charles III.
Four, directing the Lord Mayor, the court of aldermen and commons of London to attend at the Royal Exchange to proclaim His Majesty King Charles III.
Five, directing His Majesty's Secretary of State for Defence to give directions for the firing of guns at Hyde Park as soon as His Majesty is proclaimed.
Six, directing the constable of His Majesty's Tower of London to give directions for the firing of guns at the Tower of London as soon as His Majesty is proclaimed.
Seven, directing His Majesty's secretary of state for Scotland to cause the proclamation for proclaiming His Majesty King Charles III to be published in Scotland.
Eight, directing the clerk of the council to issue circular letters for causing His Majesty King Charles III to be proclaimed are hereby approved.
And that concludes the business for this part of the council. I now invite the deputation party to accompany me, to wait on the king in the council chamber.
FOSTER: So that's the end of part I. We're now going to part II which is effectively --
LEMON: So she's essentially laying out what's going to happen and what has happened now?
FOSTER: She completed that part of the process. Part II is going to the council chamber, which is effectively the king's first Privy Council meeting. He'll be invited in. One of the first things he has to do, essential really, is to declare an oath to the Church of Scotland.
To clarify why they're doing that, the Church of Scotland and the state are separated in Scotland; not the case in England and Wales. So he has to declare his oath to the Church of Scotland, promising to keep it independent. So that would be the first thing you see.
LEMON: If you are just tuning in now, King Charles III officially being proclaimed king of the United Kingdom by the Ascension (sic) Council. They completed the first part of the ceremony. Looking at all the former prime ministers there on the front row. Again, this is a highly thought-out process and -- go on.
QUEST: It's tempting to look at it as being somewhat fuddy-duddy and old-fashioned and tradition for tradition's sake --
FOSTER: It goes back 1,000 years.
QUEST: -- it does go back 1,000 years. But -- and as Max says, there's lots of knots that need to be tied and boxes that need to be ticked to make the constitution work. For instance, the business of the Church of Scotland versus his role as king of Scotland.
LEMON: You were saying this is a governmental, right; it's political. It's governmental but it's also religious as well.
QUEST: Much so. Much so --
QUEST: -- because the oath, by the grace of God, that he's going to say, Charles, so help me God, absolutely.
FOSTER: So it's like confirmation from government and the church that this is our king. And we have never been able to see this. I know I keep going on about it. But the point is that this is meant to be a private moment.
But this shows how the times have moved on. What you're going to see later on is the Garter King of Arms, who'll go outside and declare that the king is king. In the past, that's when we would have found out and you'd have seen all the flags rise to full staff momentarily. I think that'll happen momentarily. They will be reduced to half-staff to show that he has been declared king --
(CROSSTALK) LEMON: That's a very traditional and old fashioned process to go out, "I hereby declare --
FOSTER: -- also --
LEMON: -- the Garter King of Arms --
FOSTER: -- kind of unnecessary because we're now watching it on TV. (INAUDIBLE).
LEMON: But it also shows just how long --
FOSTER: I'm just going to disagree with that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need these traditions.
LEMON: Last time that this happened was 70 years ago, right?
FOSTER: No, this didn't happen at the coronation. We didn't have TV cameras at the Accession Council. We had TV cameras in the coronation. So that's why I'm comparing this and the coronation because this is the last sanctimonious moment we have been allowed into.
QUEST: That will be an interesting question that you and I will discuss no doubt in a year or so's time as to whether Charles' allowance of anointing of oils at the coronation to be shown. The queen specifically said she would not allow the anointing of oils.
FOSTER: That was a personal appointment with her -- between her and God.
QUEST: Absolutely. So it'll be interesting to see -- that's for another day. Today you're looking at the function of Britain's constitutional monarchy in action, the elected, the Privy Counsellors, giving their approval and authorization for Charles to be king.
And he then comes in the second part of this important ceremony, a tradition --
LEMON: Taking place at the state apartments at St. James' Palace. Max mentioned moments ago, there's going to be a principal proclamation of King Charles III. That will be read by the Garter King of Arms who, by the way, is David Vines White.
That's going to happen from the balcony at St. James' Palace at any moment. So there are a lot of different events that take place today. But also he'll have an audience, which means meetings. He'll be meeting with the -- FOSTER: Lots of meetings today. I think there's due to be meeting of
the cabinet as well. We'll wait to see whether or not that happens. There's so many formalities, as Richard says; so many boxes that need to be ticked for him to just carry on with his job as king, even though we keep reiterating that he became king as soon as the queen died.
QUEST: It's an interesting and slightly esoteric question as to what would happen if they didn't do all this. I can tell you probably somebody would challenge it in the courts. If they did not go through all --
LEMON: You think so?
QUEST: Oh, yes. If they didn't do all of this, there would be questions as to his legitimacy.
QUEST: So they have to do this. And they've been doing it -- I think Queen Victoria is one of the first to have this dual part, accessions councils, if you look back. So they've been doing it from Victoria's time onwards.
LEMON: The big question is where is the king?
FOSTER: We're about to see him move into -- he'll be in the other room. We'll see him on the throne, which is -- I mean --
LEMON: I didn't see him leave --
LEMON: -- I didn't see him leave Buckingham Palace.
QUEST: (INAUDIBLE) --
FOSTER: That's not the standard, though, is it?
QUEST: I think it is.
FOSTER: So St. James' is a stunning place. They did have offices there. They still do but actually this is a public space.
You can rent it, Don, if you want to have an event.
LEMON: So I've been entering every day through St. James', every time, I should say -- I've only been here two days -- through St. James'. And this morning I walked by and they said, I'm sorry, sir, you can't go this way. So I had to find my way around --
FOSTER: It's not a residence anymore. It's attached to Clarence House. So they use it for public functions. But look at this throne. So I want to talk about his throne for a moment.
This is the senior throne. This is where the king is proclaimed from. So this is the most important throne, not the throne at Buckingham Palace, not the throne in the palace of Westminster, this is the most important throne.
FOSTER: I've been in that room many times. They literally say you cannot take a picture of that throne. I might have a picture of the throne.
FOSTER: But this is the first time we're seeing it, officially, really in video, right?
LEMON: Well, there are live pictures of the throne now.
FOSTER: And you're not normally allowed to film it. But you're also being allowed to film it within this moment because this is when it comes into its own. It was 70 years ago, more than 70 years ago, that it was last used, which was for Queen Elizabeth.
QUEST: And when you look at the pictures from 70 years ago of the Accession Council, obviously they're dated and quaint in the clothes that people were wearing. The women were all wearing hats and the men were wearing hats and things.
But I think it's important to point out, Don, and there you have it. That's the oath that he's going to say he's and going to sign in front, a copy of which --
LEMON: We have not gotten word that he has left. It hasn't happened. We haven't gotten word.
FOSTER: I can't imagine he's going to make all the former prime ministers wait.
QUEST: This isn't due to happen until 11 o'clock, though, is it.
FOSTER: I think the declaration, isn't it, the actual Garter King of Arms moment, the Priory Court is at 11, I think.
LEMON: I think the Garter King of Arms is supposed to go to the balcony.
FOSTER: At 11. So we need to see Charles before.
LEMON: So we shall see. (INAUDIBLE) which is at St. James' Palace.
And we should tell our viewers, this is all in close proximity to each other. He could walk to St. James' Palace.
QUEST: Five minutes walk up the street, if that, on a good day. His house, of course, Clarence House, is next door to St. James' Palace. So St. James' Palace, Marlborough House, the Buckingham -- St. James', Clarence, all the way down here to the Buckingham Palace.
LEMON: It's been an interesting conversation before we went on the air and you were talking what happens, as we can relate to, the United States and other republics, this is -- King Charles now has his whole court, if you want to call it.
And then what happens to Queen Elizabeth II's court?
QUEST: Let me ask Max that, if I may.
QUEST: How much of the court of St. James' under Elizabeth will remain once Charles is -- because there's always been tensions between the palaces, Buckingham Palace and St. James' Palace.
FOSTER: Obviously linked to her title. So a lot of the queen's titles would automatically be consumed, if I can call it that. But going back to the throne, when she died, and that automatically goes to Prince Charles. Then he has those responsibilities, King Charles.
But there are other titles which won't automatically go to him. We're expecting announcements on that soon. So I'm not quite sure how that process works. But no, he doesn't have the full complement of what the queen's responsibilities, until he has all the titles.
But how many people --
LEMON: This is a Privy Council.
FOSTER: So this is whoever the government defines.
LEMON: No, the people who are in her court, right, her staff, her people --
FOSTER: Well, the court traditionally is hangers-on, courtiers, anyone they particularly like. And the prime minister is the top adviser to the government.
QUEST: How about the household?
In terms of the household, how much of the queen's existing household will return?
FOSTER: As I understand it -- and this is -- the whole of Buckingham Palace, effectively the queen's household, is now under King Charles. He also has the whole of Clarence House, which is his former office. That all needs to be sorted out.
Efficiently what happens is everyone's contract, working at Buckingham Palace, after six months, they have to renew. That's built into the contract. So he can choose to keep whoever he likes.
QUEST: Then, of course, the question of William, who is now Prince of Wales, and will be -- he already has got his own group, his own household, if you like.
But that household now takes on a much greater, elevated importance because, as heir to the throne, he now has to start preparing himself and his household and his court for what happens when Charles --
FOSTER: And Charles will enter the room. He will sign two documents effectively recording the taking of the oath which you'll see. Richard just outlined that a moment ago. He'll read out an oath. And signatures will be witnessed by members of the royal family.
So we're assuming that's the Prince of Wales and the Queen Consort and also who are Privy Counsellors. Well, that's right. So it's the members of the royal family, who are Privy Counsellors, who will witness. And then Lord Chancellor, the secretary of state for Scotland -- Scotland keeps coming up because of this division between church and state in Scotland. (INAUDIBLE).
LEMON: This is -- you're watching the official proclamation of King Charles III, the formal proclamation, naming him king of the United Kingdom, proclamation in Birmingham was signed by members of the Privy Council, including William, who is now the new Prince of Wales, and Camilla, the Queen Consort.
It was also signed by the council members, Lord President of the Council, Penny Mordaunt and then prime minister Liz Truss and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.
You can see Tony Blair and all the (INAUDIBLE) prime ministers are there.
LEMON: Gordon Brown is there. Of course the new prime minister, Liz Truss, is there as well. Theresa May was also in that group.
QUEST: One can only wonder what is going through Boris Johnson's mind. This had happened a week earlier, he would be the one who would have had to do it. Probably delayed -- I don't know.
LEMON: It could be a relief or --
FOSTER: You know, he's a massive monarchist. And Liz Truss famously campaigned to end the monarchy earlier in her career and sack the queen.
So she took her oath (INAUDIBLE) at the Commons to say, when I look at the prime ministers, I think to myself, never before in British history have there been so many living former prime ministers because there's been so many changing, which has been so unsettling for the British nation.
They've had so many new prime ministers. Now we have got a new king. And the nation is a bit lost, combined with the fact that the economy is virtually collapsing. But Richard can speak to that.
QUEST: I'll take it.
I haven't seen Sir John Major, as a former prime minister, so I'm wondering whether he's there. You don't have to attend. This is entirely voluntary. You don't have to be there.
And in fact, they actually reduced -- there's Lord Mandelson -- there's actually about 700 or 800 Privy Counsellors now. Earlier this year they changed the rules as to who could attend.
And they basically have the most important, which is the royal Privy Counsellors, the great officers of state, the former prime ministers, et cetera. Then there was a ballot for the remaining places. I don't know whether --
LEMON: Prime minister Liz Truss as well as the former British prime ministers, including Boris Johnson, Theresa May --
LEMON: -- Gordon Brown, John Major in attendance at the Ascension (sic) Council ceremony.
And leader of the opposition party as well.
FOSTER: The highest order of chivalry in this country is the Order of the Garter and two of those are in the Order of the Garter. That's John Major and Tony Blair recently, who's was rumored always to be a Republican. His wife certainly is.
So he took a while to get brought into that club. But they are the two senior former prime ministers, I'd argue. That's why they probably have the more prominent position today.
LEMON: Regardless of what you think, as you said, massive monarchist or not, this is history in the making. It's interesting to see these pictures and, quite frankly, all of these powerful former leaders in one room.
We'll see now if this is the king.
FOSTER: So here we go, King Charles III about to come in and give his oath to, you know, into this glimpse of the British establishment. And then that will be able to be declared to the nation. Prime minister followed by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
(CROSSTALK) FOSTER: -- Gordon overseeing this.
LEMON: But it's interesting because usually I would think there -- would there be --
LEMON: There he is. There's the new king of England, king of the U.K., King Charles III.
FOSTER: You'll hear now; he's actually -- formal title is the king of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
MORDAUNT: Part II of the council.
Your Majesty, to make your declaration.
CHARLES III, KING OF ENGLAND: My lords, ladies and gentlemen, it is my most sorrowful duty to announce to you the death of my beloved mother, the queen.
I know how deeply you, the entire nation -- and I think I may say the whole world -- sympathize with me in the irreparable loss we have all suffered.
It is the greatest consolation to me to know of the sympathy expressed by so many to my sister and brothers and that such overwhelming affection and support should be extended to our whole family in our loss.
To all of us as a family, as to this kingdom and the wider family of nations, of which it is a part, my mother gave an example of lifelong love and of selfless service.
My mother's reign was unequaled in its duration, its dedication and its devotion. Even as we grieve, we give thanks for this most faithful life.
I am deeply aware of this great inheritance and of the duties and heavy responsibilities of sovereignty which have now passed to me.
KING CHARLES III: In taking up these responsibilities, I shall strive to follow the inspiring example I have been set in upholding constitutional government and to seek the peace, harmony and prosperity of the peoples of these islands and of the Commonwealth realms and territories throughout the world.
In this purpose, I know that I shall be upheld by the affection and loyalty of the peoples whose sovereign I have been called upon to be, and that in the discharge of these duties I will be guided by the counsel of their elected parliaments. In all this, I am profoundly encouraged by the constant support of my beloved wife. I take this opportunity to confirm my willingness and intention to continue the tradition of surrendering the hereditary revenues, including the crown estate, to my government for the benefit of all, in return for the sovereign grant, which supports my official duties as head of state and head of nation.
And in carrying out the heavy task that has been laid upon me and to which I now dedicate what remains to me of my life, I pray for the guidance and help of almighty God.
MORDAUNT: I have, with humble duty, to crave Your Majesty's permission for the publication of your gracious speech.
KING CHARLES III: Approved.
MORDAUNT: Concerning the security of the Church of Scotland.
KING CHARLES III: I understand that the law requires that I should, at my accession to the crown, take and subscribe the oath relating to the security of the Church of Scotland. I am ready to do so at this first opportunity.
I, Charles III, by the grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and to my other realms and territories, king, defender of the faith, do faithfully promise and swear that I shall inviolately maintain and preserve the settlement of the true Protestant religion as established by the laws made in Scotland in prosecution of the claim of right and particularly by an act entitled, "An Act for securing the Protestant Religion and Presbyterian Church Government," and by the acts passed in the Parliament of both kingdoms for union of the two kingdoms, together with the government, worship, discipline, rights and privileges of the Church of Scotland, so help me God.
MORDAUNT: I now invite Your Majesty to subscribe both copies of the instrument confirming the oath has been taken.
LEMON: And there is the king signing, gentlemen, the proclamation that makes him king now, as we listen to the royal band.
FOSTER: The band is heading up toward St. James', which is very close to us, I believe, for the formal proclamation to the public that will be made will be the Garter King of Arms, accompanied by the Earl Marshal.
That's a very deep ceremonial moment, you talk about pomp and pageantry.
LEMON: On cue, we have the royal band behind us.
FOSTER: So he's signing the proclamation. This is his last formality really as monarch because now he has the approval effectively of the church and --
MORDAUNT: -- to His Majesty's oath to sign both copies of the instrument.
QUEST: And William, William signing...
LEMON: It is interesting to see William signing this.
LEMON: Of course, we remember before William as a kid. And now here he is, the new Prince of Wales, stepping into his role and signing the proclamation, from his father to become king, which also, in part, makes him the new Prince of Wales.
There is the queen consort, Camilla, also signing the proclamation.
FOSTER: As a Privy Counsellor, as much as a member of the royal family, this is the crossover between government, effectively, and the monarchy, with all the former prime ministers and the leader of the opposition looking on and effectively giving their approval to this moment.
And everyone in the room is actually invited to sign the proclamation. I don't know quite how they squeeze it all in.
LEMON: I want to bring in Elizabeth Norton. She's a medieval and royal historian and the author of "England's Queens: The Biography."
Talk to us about -- this is history in the making -- and how this will be viewed in the years to come, Elizabeth.
ELIZABETH NORTON, MEDIEVAL AND ROYAL HISTORIAN: Absolutely. It is absolutely history. And, of course, it's been 70 years since this has happened before. It's a defining moment. You know, it is the moment where, although the king, Charles, has been king since the moment of his mother's death, this is really effectively the rubber stamping.
This is where he's proclaimed as king. So it's a really significant moment. And we can look back on previous Accession Councils. There's a famous painting of Queen Victoria in a white dress, sitting amongst her Privy Counsellors, which records this moment nearly 200 years ago. So it is a really important moment for the king.
LEMON: Do we know, gentlemen, how many people will sign this?
FOSTER: Well, there's not -- as you say, there's hundreds of people in the Privy Council. Hundreds of people are not in that room but they all have an opportunity to sign it. You have the two households coming together, the prime minister's household on the right and you have the private secretary to the king.
QUEST: When you're made a Privy Counsellor, if you're a member of Parliament, members of Parliament are normally described as the honorable member for (INAUDIBLE) or wherever.
When you become a Privy Counsellor, you become The Right Honorable. So there's a lot of right honorables in that -- well, they're all right honorables in a sense in that room. Along with the leaders of the church.
And interestingly, also in the room, will be the high commissioners from the realms. These are the 14 countries that make -- where the king is head of state. There you will sign the proclamation as well, because they have to recognize, from those countries, from the governor generals (sic), the authority.
FOSTER: It'll be interesting when it comes to Australia and Jamaica, which are two countries where the Republican movements are so powerful right now. It will be interesting, they are giving their authority to the new king as well.
Let's see what the public makes of that. That's a big challenge for the king going forward, whether he can retain the same sort of authority as the queen had.
LEMON: The question is, Richard, why so much formality here. You said it would certainly be challenged if it didn't go through all the formalities.
QUEST: Let's just talk about the United States and the change of power that takes place from one administration to another.
FOSTER: He's so aware of how profound this moment is.
Go on, sorry, Richard.
QUEST: No this -- oh, hang on. Here's Penny Mordaunt again.
MORDAUNT: -- authorizing Your Majesty's declaration to be made public.
KING CHARLES III: Approved.
MORDAUNT: Draft of an order in council for recording the oath relating to the security of the Church of Scotland to be transmitted to the Court of Session, to be recorded in the books of sederunt and afterwards lodged in the state papers of Scotland and in the council register.
KING CHARLES III: Approved.
MORDAUNT: Draft order in council determining the form of proclamation for proclaiming Your Majesty in the realms and in the British overseas territories.
KING CHARLES III: Approved.
MORDAUNT: Draft of an order in council authorizing the Lord Chancellor to make use of the Great Seal for sealing all things whatsoever that pass the Great Seal until another Great Seal be prepared and authorized.
KING CHARLES III: Approved. MORDAUNT: Draft of an order in council authorizing the Lord Privy
Seal, if need be, to make use of the existing privy seal until another privy seal is prepared and authorized.
KING CHARLES III: Approved.
MORDAUNT: Drafts of three orders in council authorizing Your Majesty's principal secretaries of state, the Lord Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster to use the existing seals until other seals be prepared and authorized.
KING CHARLES III: Approved.
MORDAUNT: Draft of an order in council authorizing Your Majesty's secretary of state for Northern Ireland to make use of the existing Great Seal of Northern Ireland until another seal be prepared and authorized.
KING CHARLES III: Approved.
MORDAUNT: Draft of an order in council authorizing Your Majesty's First Minister of Scotland to make use of the Great Seal of Scotland until another Great Seal of Scotland be prepared and authorized.
KING CHARLES III: Approved.
MORDAUNT: Draft of an order in council authorizing Your Majesty's First Minister of Wales to make use of the existing Welsh seal until another Welsh seal be prepared and authorized.
KING CHARLES III: Approved.
MORDAUNT: Draft of an order in council authorizing the public seals, authorizing the respective public seals, lately in use elsewhere than in the United Kingdom, to be made use of until new seals be prepared and their use duly authorized.
KING CHARLES III: Approved.
MORDAUNT: Draft of an order in council confirming Your Majesty's wishes in relation to the Sovereign Grant Act of 2011, to continue the tradition of surrendering the hereditary revenues, including the crown of state, to your government for the benefit of all, in return for the sovereign grant which supports your official duties as head of state and head of nation.
KING CHARLES III: Approved.
MORDAUNT: Drafts of two proclamations: one, appointing the day of Her late Majesty's state funeral as a bank holiday in England, Wales and Northern Ireland; two, appointing the day of Her late Majesty's state funeral as a bank holiday in Scotland and of two orders in council, directing the Lord Chancellor to affix the Great Seal to the proclamations. KING CHARLES III: Approved.
MORDAUNT: I now invite Your Majesty to sign both proclamations.
LEMON: Richard, if you listen to this, as we're listening in, I mean, this is really housekeeping, a lot of signing of papers and orders and declarations.
QUEST: This is the plumbing of the transition of monarchy. If you do not have all these orders signed, then somebody will say, hang on, what was your legal authority for signing this?
Why did you do this?
So there's an entire panoply of rules. And what they're literally doing with the ordering council, which is what this today is called --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- business to the council --
FOSTER: So he gave approval to his seals being used. So when you see laws being signed, his seal will now replace his mother's seal. And those laws can to go to action.
QUEST: It's interesting, there's a order in council there that I heard, that basically said, and if my seal isn't ready, you can still use the other one.
MORDAUNT: -- deputation of the party and the witnesses to the oath to exit by the Picture Gallery and the Matted Hall.
LEMON: So now the next, I would imagine everyone exits and then we'll have the Garter King of Arms?
FOSTER: I want to see -- I think they probably -- I would have thought they would want to witness the moment, which is going out for Priory Court, for the formal -- so this is church and state effectively giving approval to the new king.
Now they need to declare that to the public. So you'll see the Garter King of Arms go out onto the balcony. He'll be accompanied by --
MORDAUNT: (INAUDIBLE) --
FOSTER: -- he'll be accompanied by --
MORDAUNT: -- which is laid out in the in a way. Thank you all for attending today.
And then he'll be accompanied by the Earl Marshal, who's responsible for all the ins and outs of what happens over the course of the day.
Then they'll read the proclamation you've just seen signed and read out from the balcony and then we'll start hearing the gun salutes as well. But they will also need to read that oath out in Belfast, in Edinburgh as well and in Cardiff.
So what you're really doing there, going back a long time, telling people you have a new king.
LEMON: When does that happen?
FOSTER: Over the course of the day. You're going to see all sorts of symbolism over the course of the day, all messages to the public so they know there's a new king. But Richard and I would argue here over this.
FOSTER: Richard wants that to continue for the rest of time. But effectively by putting television cameras in there, they've made all that redundant.
You want that tradition and the formality.
QUEST: I take issue because what you're watching here is the foundation and the bedrock of constitutional monarchy.
FOSTER: They don't have to do all the flags and the proclamations, is what I'm saying, because they've just put it on TV.
QUEST: Well, how do you do it?
FOSTER: -- after this event. They're going to go and read it out around the nations.
LEMON: But these pictures are playing out all over, is his point.
FOSTER: So why declare it, why put the flags to half-staff?
I'm not getting involved in this.
I'm just saying it's redundant.
LEMON: Why, why --
FOSTER: Not the Constitution --
LEMON: Why is this read out in different parts of the union?
Do we have the historian? NORTON: I think it's really important that it is read out. I know -- we all know that people are watching this on television across the U.K. So in some respects, it's a bit immaterial.
But I think it's really important to keep with the history because, actually, I mean, we have a long history of monarchy in Britain and there have been quite a few disputed successions. And these days, that's not going to happen.
But I think it is really important to go about it the right way and to keep with tradition and the way it's been done for centuries. And, I mean, partly people like the tradition. It sort of adds a bit of awe or majesty to the monarchy, I think.
But I think also it is really important, because you don't want anything that the monarch does to be challenged because the formalities haven't been carried out.
LEMON: Well, I'm neutral in all of this. So it's now two against one.
FOSTER: I'm genuinely not expressing the opinion saying we need to get rid of it. What I'm saying is by bringing cameras in, all the symbolism, we're going to see start playing out now, it was done for a time they didn't have cameras and people needed to be told. So there were these people calling out the proclamation when they could be broadcast by --
LEMON: Perhaps it's redundant but it is tradition.
FOSTER: I take Richard's point as well, that, you don't want it to be challenged.
QUEST: You don't want it to be challenged. Of course they could pass an order in council that says this doesn't have to be read out in all those various different regional nations.
But imagine if you're in Wales and you're suddenly told the proclamation of your new king doesn't have to be read out formally. It sort of pulling at the threads. You can modernize -- I'm all in favor of modernizing but I think there's some crucially important parts of constitutional monarchy that require --
FOSTER: Make you feel part of it.
LEMON: Elizabeth, I was talking to Richard and I said, this is essentially housekeeping but it's important. And I wish it was happening at a better time for the United States so that -- because people -- most people are asleep in the United States, it's 5 in the morning, almost 6 in the morning Eastern time.
But I think it's important to see and witness this, Elizabeth.
NORTON: I agree. And I think it's because actually the transition of power and monarchy doesn't take place very often, because, of course, it's reliant on the unfortunate death of the previous sovereign.
Actually, it's a rare event because, you know, you have to be in your late 70s at least to have any memory of this happening before.
NORTON: So I think (INAUDIBLE). We're used of seeing the transition of different presidents in various countries and we're used to seeing prime ministers being appointed over here.
But actually I think monarchy is a just a little bit more special. It's supposed to be glittery and glamorous, if you like, because there is this mystique about it. So I think actually worldwide, there's an interest in this.
So I agree with you that I think it's a shame that it's happening so early in the morning. Timings really are dictated -- you're normally supposed to do this within 24 hours of the death of the sovereign.
And, of course, unfortunately, the queen passed away late on Thursday, which is meant that it's been pushed into Saturday. But you know, I agree. I hope some people in the U.S. are awake and are watching this live.
LEMON: I just wanted to -- I was trying to point out -- so she couldn't hear me -- just point out how many of these are?
LEMON: -- the line of people.
FOSTER: This is about -- you know, they could hold this up and say, look, all of these people approve the king. (INAUDIBLE).
QUEST: This is the equivalent of all those people in Philadelphia who signed the Declaration of Independence. In the U.S. terms, think of all the signatures on the declaration, all the signatures that were there at the time.
QUEST: And they're saying -- so if you're a Privy Counsellor and an important Privy Counsellor, you want your signature on that piece of paper and you can say, I was there and I took part.
LEMON: I have to say, Elizabeth, as an American, this is quite fascinating to watch. Even though this is not our system of government, it's important for the world to see, because you don't often get to see this type of government, especially with the monarchy and what's happening now.
FOSTER: This is a glimpse, isn't it, into the British establishment we have never seen. These are people that run the country away from business. These are the officials that run the country.
LEMON: Go ahead, Elizabeth. NORTON: Yes, I was struck particularly by the references to the Great
Seal, which again is another symbol of monarchy and also in many respects completely out of date because, of course, -- so the documents of proclamation will be sealed with the Great Seals of Nations as the U.K.
And this is the seal that is used to stamp into wax, which would be historically used to seal documents and will have an imprint of the design for the monarch. And it's completely redundant in that we don't seal documents today with wax. But it's actually really, really important --
LEMON: -- signing the declaration, proclamation.
NORTON: -- this monarchy because it shows the royal stamp of approval and it also links it in with the history. Because the Great Seals in England, at least, goes back to the reign of Edward the Confessor, who reigned in the 11th century. So we're talking preconquest, pre Norman conquest.
So I think it's really important that we have these references to tradition. And, of course, King Charles will need to approve designs for his own Great Seals, now that he's monarch. For now, they're using the one from the previous reign.
LEMON: This was the really important line, the first one that we're seeing here, this particular one that they're signing.
FOSTER: The former prime ministers. There's so many of them it will take a while.
LEMON: Seems to be fairly efficient, though, you know. Because, listen --
FOSTER: Nothing has been more rehearsed than these moments.
LEMON: If we are thinking along the lines of the way that Max Foster is thinking, they could all sign this via DocuSign.
FOSTER: I totally agree with Elizabeth. It's redundant but it's still important. I get it involves -- this is how the nation gets involved in the constitution, for having all these bits of history.
QUEST: But it's relevant because we saw it with Boris Johnson, when he tried to prorogue Parliament, during the Brexit negotiations and discussions. Although the queen approved it, because it's a constitutional monarchy, the courts overruled it being illegal.
So the problem with this, Don, is you never know when this is going to come and bite you. You never know if you haven't got it, where you're going to suddenly find it's gone wrong. That's why you do it.
FOSTER: And we don't have the written constitution, so our constitution is in multiple moments like this. The leader of the Commons signing there. Members of judiciary as well will be there. And you know, the king is head of judiciary, head of the defense forces, head of government, head of church and all represented here.
LEMON: Watching all these people in the room, just imagining, during the height of COVID-19, how this would have happened, how would this have taken place.
FOSTER: All virtually.
LEMON: Done by Zoom.
QUEST: They would have found a way.
FOSTER: I think we're about 10, 12 minutes away from the public declaration. So in the past, the public would not know anything about what's going on here. They would only start finding out in about 10, 12 moments, when it gets declared publicly.
LEMON: So this is where the Garter King of Arms will come out on the balcony.
FOSTER: You'll have state trumpeters and cannons.
David Cameron there, the former prime minister.
LEMON: We saw Gordon Brown moments ago, Boris Johnson signing as well.
QUEST: Sentiment today between the somber, for the changing of monarchy, the melancholic because of the death of the queen but also the celebration that a new reign has now begun, the reign of King Charles III.
And there you see St. James', the courtyard at St. James', with the band we saw playing past us, getting ready for the official proclamation.
LEMON: It took all of what three minutes for that band to get there?
[05:50:00] LEMON: Officially is this the -- the official word is that King Charles III has taken an oath related to the security of Church of Scotland.
Is that the official --
FOSTER: No, that's just a thing that's really important, that they put at the front of the oath, to show its importance. It's just to recognize that he will recognize the independence of the Church of Scotland, which is separate from the state.
The Church of England is not separate from the state. But I think The Church of Scotland wants reassurance basically that it will be --
LEMON: It is interesting that his speech started with bringing attention and homage to his mother, my lords, ladies and gentlemen, it is my most sorrowful duty to announce to you the death of my beloved mother, the queen.
QUEST: This is the contradiction of the day, of the week ahead, the mourning of the previous monarch, the sadness of losing the queen. I've been back in the country now nearly 24 hours and I am just astounded by the number of posters and electronic screens. We wear --
FOSTER: It's black.
QUEST: They've gone to black and they've got the queen's --
QUEST: We wear our monarchy very stiff upper lip. We're not like those countries that plaster the monarch's face everywhere. But here, this is the time, where every billboard, every electronic board on the tube going down into the subway, all screens are showing pictures of the queen.
FOSTER: This is full British pomp and pageantry. The Garter King of Arms will come out and he'll be with other officers and sergeants of arms and he'll read the proclamation. As he reads it, you'll hear the gun salutes. So this will be a real moment.
You'll see the state trumpeters as well, declare the Garter King of Arms -- that's effectively him declaring them.
LEMON: There's even a procession, what is this behind us?
FOSTER: It's cavalry, it's all part of the moment. Interestingly, Garter will travel to Mansion House, in the city in the London, which is separate from the rest of London. This is own city, where the financial quarters are, right?
LEMON: Why would he -- FOSTER: He has to recognize that's part of this as well.
QUEST: Because that in feudal times was a different part of the system. So the City of London. So when we talk about the Lord Mayor today, we're not talking about the mayor of metropolitan London.
We're talking about the Lord Mayor of this small, one-mile square, which is now the financial center. The city of London, because traditionally that had its own governance.
LEMON: This is so -- I'm noticing how quiet it is. One can't help but notice how quiet. There's reverence, as you said, that this sort of --
FOSTER: They're feeling history, aren't they, unfolding.
LEMON: But also celebrating the new king while honoring the memory of someone, the queen they've had for decades now. So it's an interesting moment for the monarchy as well as the Commonwealth.
FOSTER: It's all about these customs and traditions, which are important. I'm not saying they're not. You know, this is part of the process for us, to accept and feel King Charles.
QUEST: Very significant, Max. Absolutely.
In a constitutional monarchy, you're only governed by the consent of the people, Don. And that goes back to even feudal times, post Magna Carta.
But the significance of telling people, this is your king, do you accept him?
And that's what we're going through now.
LEMON: There's St. James' Palace attachment of king's guard, accompanied by a band, is present.
QUEST: The Household Cavalry, the Royal Horse Artillery, the King's Troop, the Royal House Artillery, they're all the one going up there. And there you have the Lifeguards with the Beefeater's hat.
FOSTER: This is first of five key proclamations. The next one will be in the City of London, as Richard was describing, was traditionally a separate authority to the rest of London.
Then you'll have Edinburgh for Scotland, Cardiff for Wales and Belfast for Northern Ireland and a series of other proclamations and the Commonwealth realms, Canada, Australia, Jamaica.
LEMON: We're looking at all of this. No one does pomp and circumstance or pageantry I think like the Brits.
FOSTER: It's also a show. They're building tension here.
LEMON: This is practiced and rehearsed?
FOSTER: Oh, every six months.
QUEST: This is the household division of the Grenadier Guards that you're looking at. You can tell the difference. I'm not going to claim I know the difference without looking at my cheat sheet.
But you can tell the difference of the various divisions of the household cavalry and of the Grenadier Guards by the number of buttons that they have on their shirt.
QUEST: The Scottish, the Irish, the Welsh.
LEMON: King Charles III about to be proclaimed publicly as king on the balcony at St. James' Palace in London. The principal proclamation of King Charles III will be read by the Garter King of Arms, accompanied by a band, is present at the Friary Court. That is what you're watching now.
Officially, even though he officially becomes king, correct, as soon as the queen dies.
LEMON: This puts a rubber stamp on it today.
FOSTER: It's the proclamation. It's the show -- the establishment supports the king and the public is going to be told about it. Here we see the procession beginning.
LEMON: There he is.
FOSTER: We're looking for the Garter King of Arms.
These are the State Trumpeters. So times gone by, this is them saying gather here for a major announcement.
Real gold, those suits.
LEMON: Are they?
It's interesting because you walk by these buildings every single day. And then not until there is an occasion --
FOSTER: Well, St. James really only comes into play at this moment.
LEMON: -- or occasions such as this that it gets the worldwide attention.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (OFF MIKE COMMENTS).
LEMON: So they're preparing the Garter King of Arms to come out and read the official proclamation. Listen, everyone, it's very punctual here. I think they're probably waiting until exactly 11:00 am time here to do it. But as soon as it happens, we will shut up and allow it to play out.
FOSTER: It's called the principal proclamation, a moment where the king has gained the full support of all the branches of the state behind closed doors. That is declared to the public. And the principal proclamation is to be followed by other proclamations around the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth so everyone is fully aware.
As it happens and it's read, the Union flags, currently half-staff on public buildings, will be raised to full mast and stay there until about 1 o'clock and then reduced back to half-staff. What's the point here is that this is not just about the death of the monarch; it's about the future monarchy, trying to balance the two.
LEMON: When will they go back to half?
FOSTER: So 1 o'clock our time, so two hours' time. And there will be gun salutes. You'll hear them in the background as it's being read.
QUEST: Max I think, is it 1300 (INAUDIBLE)?
FOSTER: So D was --
FOSTER: So tomorrow.
QUEST: Yes, so it's 1 o'clock on Sunday.
LEMON: That's they'll go back to (INAUDIBLE), that they'll go back to half?
Listen, we're waiting for this to be read. It should be read within a minute or so. But after that, we'll take you forward a bit. The gun salutes at Edinburgh Castle.