VIDEO: Historic moment King Charles 111 is declared sovereign in Skegness
‘God Save the King!’: A crowd gathered in Skegness to be part of history as King Charles III was proclaimed sovereign by the town Mayor Coun Tony Tye.
In a scene in Tower Gardens so different to just a few weeks ago, when downpours meant the Skegness branch of the Royal British Legion had to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in a ceremony indoors, Coun Tye stood on the bandstand outdoors in blazing sunshine to declare that “Prince Charles Philip Arthur George is now by the death of our late sovereign of happy memory our only lawful and rightful Liege Lord Charles the Third, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain”.
Similar proclamations were taking place across the country following a formal ceremony at St James’s Palace in London on Saturday, that began with a meeting of the the accession council, attended by around 200 members of the privy council including Prime Minister Liz Truss.
There, King Charles III was declared sovereign, vowing to follow his mother's example of “'lifelong love and selfless service”.
The proclamation in Skegness took place while the Queen made her final poignant journey from her beloved Balmoral in Scotland – where she died on Thursday – to Edinburgh, where she is to lie in rest at St Giles’ Cathedral before her body is flown to London to lie in state before the state funeral on Monday, September 19.
However, for a brief moment the proclamation was an opportunity away from the official 10 days of mourning for people to witness a tradition going back centuries.
It was also moment for councilors to set aside their political differences and stand together amongst residents and visitors who had turned out to honour Queen Elizabeth 11 for a “job well done” and the end of a wonderful life of service and acknowledge the beginning of a new era with King Charles 111 at the helm.
At part of the protocol, the Union Flag in Tower Gardens, Skegness, was raised to mast head for the reading of the proclamation.
After the ceremony, it was lowered to half-mast where it will remain until after the state funeral.
Coun Tye said it had been “an honour” to read the proclamation. He said: “I have always had a lot of time for the Royal family and Her Majesty was precious.
"Like for so many people, she has been the Queen all my life and her death has been so sad.
"I think the new King will do an excellent job – he has, after all, had 50 years to prepare for it.”
Coun Dick Edginton, who has become known as ‘farther of the council’ as the longest serving member of Skegness Town Council, said the Queen’s death had resulted in a massive outpouring of grief that was “bringing people together”. He said: "During her 70-year reign she has represented continuity, a sense of calm and a unifying force – and has been an example to follow.”
An area was set aside by the bandstand for the laying of flowers in memory of the Queen.
Amongst those reading the floral tributes were Paul and Diana Robinson of Skegness. It was a heartfelt moment for Diana, whose own mother is 96 – the same age as the Queen when she died. “The Queen was an amazing lady and everyone looked up to her,” she said.
"I think it was incredible that she kept on working right up to the end – meeting the new Prime Minister just two days before she died. She was very brave.”
Sue Jones also lit a tea light on the steps of the bandstand in memory of the Queen. She said: “I wanted to come along because it is an historic moment.
"The Queen was an important figure to us all – she has always been there. I lit the candle for her and other members of family I have lost.”
Louise Smith, who was on holiday from Northampton, was laying flowers. "I have celebrated every jubilee and I just wanted to be here,” she said. “The Queen did so much for our country and when I heard she had died it was such a shock.
"I think losing his mother must be so hard for King Charles – but she died in her happy place and I am lighting a candle for her in mine.”
A room was also set aside in the Tower Gardens Pavilion for quiet reflection and for people to sign the Book of Condolence.
Amongst the many tributes was one from Kate Ford, deputy town clerk of Skegness Town Council.
In sending the Royal family condolences from herself and her family, she spoke of the inspiration the Queen had been to her “both professionally and personally”. She said: "Her ability to offer reassurance whilst uniting the nation in troubling times has been unparalleled and I know we all feel the loss of her constant presence in our lives.”
During the morning, ‘a service of Holy Communion for use during a period of national mourning’ took place at St Matthew’s Church, Skegness.
In his address, the Rector of the Skegness Group of Parishes the Rev Richard Holden spoke of the emphasis that had been made on the Queen’s deep Christian faith since her passing.
The Rev Holden quoted the commitment she made on her 21st birthday: ’I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service .... God help me to make good my vow, and God bless all of you who are willing to share in it.’
He asked: "I wonder how many of us when we look back on our lives will be able to see that the promises and ideals by which we intended to live our lives were made and kept in such a determined fashion as by the Queen?”