Parliament gathers in Westminster Hall for the first address from King Charles III
1 year ago
MPs and peers assembled in Westminster Hall for the first address from King Charles III following the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II.
The King spoke to the audience in the historic building at the heart of the parliamentary estate, and heard tributes to Elizabeth II from both the Lords and Commons.
Ahead of the King’s arrival, two empty thrones were placed at the head of the cavernous chamber, with the band of the Household Cavalry playing sombre music in the archway behind.
MPs and peers were among those seated under the medieval timber roof of the hall, while Prime Minister Liz Truss and Leader of the Opposition Sir Keir Starmer sat with other senior figures from the Commons to one side of the thrones.
Senior peers sat on the other side.
Police flanked the road in Parliament Square as the King made his way to Westminster, which was closed to traffic, while crowds and reporters lined the pavements.
People cheered, with many raising their phones to take photos and videos. as the royal motorcade drove through the gates.
Charles and Camilla, both dressed in black, could be seen waving at the crowds.
In Westminster Hall, Lords Speaker Lord McFall of Alcluith and Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle entered by the East Door, wearing their ceremonial robes, and the golden maces usually placed in each of the two Houses of Parliament were brought in.
The state trumpeters of the Household Cavalry took their places on the south window balcony of Westminster Hall to mark the beginning of the ceremony.
The King’s Body Guard of the Yeomen of the Guard and the Honourable Corps of Gentleman at Arms then processed in through the North Door to take up their positions.
A fanfare of trumpets sounded as the King and Queen Consort arrived, and the crowds in the hall stood to attention, only sitting once the King had done so.
The Lords Speaker then read out an address on behalf of peers, saying people will continue to draw strength from the Queen’s “shining example”.
“We are proud and indeed humbled to welcome you as our King. And we look forward to welcoming you on many more occasions to Parliament, and to this hall in the years ahead,” he added.
Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay followed, telling the King: “Let me repeat a welcome to you and to Her Majesty, the Queen Consort, on this solemn occasion.
“Members of both Houses of Parliament gather here to express our deep sympathy for the loss we have all sustained in the death of our sovereign lady, Queen Elizabeth. We have seen that this is a loss that is felt around the world.”
He went on: “Our late Queen was here to mark the historic moments, such as the 50th anniversary of the Second World War, a war in which she herself served in the armed forces.
“And, in 1988, we celebrated the 300th anniversary of the revolutions of 1688 to 1689.
“It is perhaps very British to celebrate revolutions by presenting an address to Her Majesty, but those revolutions led to our constitutional freedoms, set out the foundation for a stable monarchy, which protects liberty.”
The King stood at a gilded lectern to respond to the tributes, telling those gathered he was “deeply grateful for the addresses of condolence”, and that he was “resolved faithfully to follow” the example of his mother, the Queen.
He added: “Parliament is the living and breathing instrument of our democracy.
“That your traditions are ancient we see in the construction of this great hall and the reminders of medieval predecessors of the office to which I have been called and the tangible connections to my darling late mother we see all around us.”
Following Charles’s address, the audience stood and the National Anthem was sung.
The King and Queen Consort then left Westminster Hall, followed by the Lords and Commons Speakers.