King Charles officially proclaimed as Canada’s new monarch

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The House of Commons will be recalled Thursday to pay tributes to Queen Elizabeth after King Charles III was formally proclaimed Canada’s new monarch Saturday.

Government House Leader Mark Holland announced on Twitter that MPs will be back in Ottawa early due to the Queen’s death.

“I have spoken with all House leaders to hold a special session to commemorate Canada’s longest-reigning sovereign, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. We look forward to honouring her life of service, dedication and strength,” he tweeted.

The House had been scheduled to return on Sept. 19 — the date set for the Queen’s funeral, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted Saturday that the official opening session will be delayed until Sept. 20 out of respect for the funeral.

Gov. Gen. Mary Simon met with the prime minister and his cabinet Saturday to sign an order-in-council and a proclamation of accession that officially announced the Queen’s death and proclaimed King Charles III as Canada’s new monarch.

Charles automatically became King of Canada upon the death of Queen Elizabeth. But the accession proclamation is issued by the Governor General on the advice of the federal Privy Council Office, according to the book Canada’s Deep Crown, co-authored by David E. Smith, Christopher McCreery and Jonathan Shanks.

Trudeau and Simon signed the documents at Rideau Hall on Saturday surrounded by members of cabinet. The proclamation was then read aloud by Canada’s Chief Herald Samy Khalid and followed by a 21-gun salute.

“We … proclaim that His Royal Highness Prince Charles Phillip Arthur George is now, by the death of our late sovereign, Charles III, by the grace of God with the United Kingdom, Canada and his other realms and territories, King,” Khalid read in front of Rideau Hall.

WATCH | King Charles makes first public address as monarch:

King Charles makes first public address as monarch

In his first address to the nation and the Commonwealth, King Charles pays tribute to his ‘darling mama’ and pledges to serve with ‘loyalty, respect and love.’

Speaking to reporters outside Rideau Hall after the proclamation, Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc said Canadians should feel confident in King Charles’s ability to take on the role his mother held for 70 years.

“Canadians should be very proud that King Charles III will continue to exercise the constitutional responsibilities … in a way that will provide stability to Canadian institutions,” he said.

“We have every confidence that His Majesty will be very much present and involved in the life of our country, as was his mother.”

Trudeau spoke Saturday with new U.K. Prime Minister Liz Truss. A statement from 10 Downing Street said the two leaders talked about their shared “shock and sadness at the loss of Her Majesty.”

“They agreed a profound sense of loss is being felt by people in the U.K., Canada, the wider Commonwealth and across the world,” said the statement.

In a written statement, Simon expressed her condolences to the King on the passing of his mother.

“Our collective grief is a reflection of the deep and abiding affection we had for our Queen and the very real connection she had with Canada. On behalf of all Canadians, I offer my sincerest condolences to His Majesty The King,” she said.

The proclamation is simply “recognizing what’s already occurred in law,” Carleton University Professor Philippe Lagassé told CBC Radio’s The House.

Lagassé said the government is likely to publish the proclamation in the Canada Gazette, which should be followed by a statement from the prime minister in Parliament in the coming weeks.

“These are all sequences that are laid out in terms of how we typically go about doing these things, but because it’s been so long since we’ve done it, we can also see some variation,” Lagassé told host Catherine Cullen.

Simon looks on as Trudeau signs documents during the accession ceremony on Saturday. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

Lagassé said the ceremony is typically attended by all members of the King’s Privy Council, which includes former prime ministers, cabinet ministers and Speakers of the House.

But only members of Trudeau’s cabinet were at Rideau Hall to witness the signing of the proclamation — in order to have “a more intimate event,” according to the federal Privy Council Office.

“Over time, Canada has developed its own traditions,” a PCO spokesperson said in a statement to CBC. “There will be several opportunities in the coming days for more public mourning and commemoration.”

Dozens in attendance

Dozens of Canadians, including 11-year-old Megan Lamont, gathered outside Rideau Hall to witness the proclamation.

“I thought that it was a big part of history and I wanted to be here,” she told CBC News afterward.

Lamont attended the ceremony with her parents. Her father Todd is a civics teacher; he said he expects the ceremony will be a topic of conversation in his next class.

“Those traditions are still important for what they represent, but also as part of people’s identities … evolving and as our country’s identity evolved, I think it’s important to… have conversations about that,” he said.

Dozens of Canadians gathered outside Rideau Hall to listen to the accession proclamation which officially declared King Charles III as Canada’s new monarch. (Marin von Stackelberg/CBC)

Calgary’s Aldrin Gonsalves and his children, Camryn and Ethan, were flying to Ottawa when the Queen passed and decided to attend the proclamation and sign the book of condolences as part of their trip.

All three said it was a solemn moment but they were glad to witness the historic event in person.

“It’s bittersweet. It’s a really nice experience to see this in person instead of on the news, but the circumstances under which it’s happening isn’t the greatest, of course,” Camryn said.

The Royal Family announced Saturday that the Queen’s state funeral will take place at Westminster Abbey on Sept. 19.

King Charles III speaks during his proclamation as King during the accession council on Saturday in London. (Victoria Jones/WPA/Getty Images)

Earlier Saturday, Charles was proclaimed as Britain’s monarch during a ceremony at St. James’s Palace, a royal residence in London. The ceremony was attended by the Accession Council, made up of senior politicians and officials who advise the monarch.

In the United Kingdom, the Queen’s death triggers an official 12-day period of national mourning, while Canada has a 10-day period. Much of how Canada marks the Queen’s passing will be up to the current government.

At some point, according to the Manual of Official Procedure of the Government of Canada, the government will issue a declaration regarding the period of official mourning.

LeBlanc said the government is considering the most appropriate way for Parliament to mark the Queen’s passing. 

Protocol states the prime minister should reconvene Parliament and move a joint address of loyalty and sympathy and any messages of condolence. Trudeau is also expected to arrange for the motions to be seconded by the leader of the Official Opposition.

Late Friday, Trudeau spent several minutes writing a note in a book of condolences for the Queen at Rideau Hall after returning to Ottawa from a three-day cabinet retreat in Vancouver.

As Trudeau sat to sign the book — placed on a table draped with a black cloth — a photo of the Queen bearing a black ribbon stood behind him.

“Canada came of age during Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s time as Sovereign,” Trudeau wrote. “Generations of us have benefited, profoundly, from her steady, graceful leadership and service.”

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