“Long live the King”: Bedford ceremony recognises the accession of King Charles III

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(l-r) HM Lord-Lieutenant of Bedfordshire Susan Lousada and the High Sheriff of Bedfordshire Lady Jane Clifford read the proclamation of King Charles III's accession to the throne in Harpur Square, Bedford
(l-r) HM Lord-Lieutenant of Bedfordshire Susan Lousada and the High Sheriff of Bedfordshire Lady Jane Clifford read the proclamation of King Charles III's accession to the throne in Harpur Square, Bedford

HM Lord-Lieutenant and the High Sheriff of Bedfordshire read the proclamation formally announcing King Charles III’s accession to the throne in Bedford, the county town of Bedfordshire, yesterday (Sunday).

It followed the same reading by the Garter King of Arms from a balcony above London’s St James’ Palace the day before.

Harpur Square in Bedford town centre was packed with young and old people who witnessed the ceremony, which last happened over 70 years ago when HM Queen Elizabeth accessioned the throne in 1952.

“Whereas it has pleased Almighty God to call to His Mercy our late Sovereign Lady Queen Elizabeth the Second of 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,” read the High Sheriff of Bedfordshire Lady Jane Clifford.

The Proclamation in full (click/tap to enlarge)

Once the proclamation had ended, local dignitaries, including Bedfordshire MPs, the Mayor, elected councillors, representatives from Bedfordshire Police and Fire service and armed forces shouted “God save the King”.

The crowd then repeated “God save the king” before collectively singing the national anthem.

As the ceremony ended, some filed into the Harpur Suite to sign the official book of condolence that will be entered into the national archive after the Queen’s funeral on 19 September.

Read: Bedfordshire’s book of condolence for Her Majesty the Queen

Others headed to Russell Park to lay flowers, and pay their respects.

Flowers in the park

There, Jo Midgely said she was still “shocked and surprised” at how emotional she was following the Queen’s death.

“It’s caught me by surprise that I feel so fondly of her… it feels like losing a family member… she was everybody’s granny,” she said.

Jo believes King Charles will be more modern and that is “what’s needed now”.

“I think it [his reign] needs to be slightly more modern, I think they need to be a little bit more approachable as a family and show their human side… They need to be more in touch with the people.”

Katie High and Jessica Staley who also came to look at the flowers said they were “sad” and that it felt “odd” reading about the King as they’ve only ever known the Queen who they called “the grandmother of the United Kingdom.”

Katie says she thinks this will be a time of healing for the Royal Family.

“I read this morning that he’s issued a statement about William, Kate, Harry and Meghan and hopefully that will be different.

“I think the death of the Queen will bring them closer together,” said Katie.

Jessica says she’s interested to see how King Charles may do things differently, but feels it must also be quite difficult for him to become King at a time of personal grief.

“It must be quite weird for Charles to have lived to the age of 70 or so and all of a sudden he becomes the monarch.

“It must also be a rough time for him to go through [while grieving the death of his mother].

“I feel very sad for the family that is grieving so publicly.”

Flags across the Borough have been at half-mast since Her Majesty The Queen passed away last week (8 September), but have been raised briefly in recognition of the proclamation of the new King.

Read: Church bells, flags and flowers – How Bedford is paying respects to Her Majesty the Queen

They were lowered again at 1pm today until 8am on the 20 September.