Briefing

What's next for King Charles?

After 10 days of national mourning for the queen, the United Kingdom moves forward with a new monarch at the helm

With Queen Elizabeth II laid to rest on Monday after 10 days of national mourning, the United Kingdom now moves forward, a new monarch at the helm: King Charles III. Over the next several months, there will be a number of key moments of his reign, including his coronation. Here's everything you need to know:

When did Charles officially become king? 

As soon as the queen died on Sept. 8 at Balmoral Castle, her eldest son and heir Charles, 73, automatically became king. Two days later, he was formally announced as king during an accession ceremony, "a key constitutional and ceremonial step in introducing the new monarch to the country," NPR explains. The Accession Council met and confirmed his title as King Charles III, before he made a personal statement, declaring, "I am deeply aware of this great inheritance and of the duties and heavy responsibilities of sovereignty which have now passed to me." He is not only king of the United Kingdom, but also head of state for 14 Commonwealth realms, including Australia, Canada, Jamaica, and New Zealand.

Could he have picked another name?

Yes. The king had the option of picking any of his four names — Charles, Philip, Arthur, or George — as his regnal name. He is the third King Charles in British history, but the first to receive an outside education and earn a university degree.

When will King Charles' coronation take place?

No date has been set yet, but because so much goes into a coronation and it takes time to get everything in place, it will likely occur in the spring or early summer of 2023. The coronation will take place at Westminster Abbey as a state occasion, meaning the government pays for it and gets to decide who is invited, The Guardian reports.

Charles was four years old when his mother became queen, and he sat in Westminster Abbey for the 1953 coronation. As an adult, Charles said he has "vivid memories of the coronation; of my mother coming to say good night to my sister and me while wearing the crown so that she could get used to its weight on her head before the coronation ceremony; of thousands of people gathered in the mall outside Buckingham Palace chanting 'We want the queen' and keeping me awake at night."

What will happen during the coronation?

It will be an Anglican religious service, featuring readings and music. Charles will also be anointed as the new monarch, with orange, rose, cinnamon, musk, and ambergris oils used, BBC News reports. While it will be an elaborate affair, it likely will not be as long as his mother's coronation, which was a three-hour event. British tabloids are also reporting that Charles wants his coronation to be "less expensive" than his mother's ceremony.

Will Charles wear a new crown at the coronation?

There will be lots of bling, all of it historic and steeped in tradition. St. Edward's Crown, which dates back to 1661, will be placed on Charles' head by the Archbishop of Canterbury, only at the moment of coronation. This solid gold crown is covered with 444 gemstones, including sapphires, rubies, amethysts, and topazes, and trimmed with fur, weighing in at nearly five pounds. The crown was resized for Queen Elizabeth's coronation and could be slightly altered again for Charles. The king will also be given a coronation ring with jewels that represent the cross of St. George and the Scottish flag, and will be handed a scepter topped with the 530.2-carat Cullinan I diamond.

Will Charles live in Buckingham Palace?

While he is definitely moving out of his current residence, Clarence House, he hasn't yet announced if he will be moving into Buckingham Palace. It's expected that he will, but it could be delayed due to a major renovation now underway at the palace, which isn't expected to be finished for another five years.

Who is next in line for the throne?

Charles' eldest son, Prince William, is next in the line of succession, followed by his eldest son, 9-year-old Prince George.

What has Charles said about the future of the monarchy?

He has said he wants to see it slimmed down, with fewer working royals; several British newspapers are reporting that Charles could trim it down to just seven: himself and Camilla, the queen consort; the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and Cambridge; the Princess Royal; and the Earl and Countess of Wessex. Public funds are used to support the royals in their official duties, and this cost-saving measure would be welcomed by many — a Daily Express poll shows that 65 percent of respondents approve of a streamlined monarchy.

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