Pomp, circumstance and gold braiding: King Charles proclaimed monarch

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“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 Great Britain and Northern Ireland is solely and rightfully come to Prince Charles Philip Arthur George,” the proclamation began.

“God save the king!” he declared.

In London and across the country, flags that had been lowered at public buildings after Elizabeth died were raised to full-staff.

Back at St. James’s Palace, a military band played the first verse of the national anthem, which for the 70 years of Elizabeth’s reign, was known as “God Save the Queen.”

Shortly afterward, a 41-gun salute erupted at London’s Hyde Park which was followed by a 62-gun salute at the Tower of London.

“Three cheers for his majesty the king,” White declared, while below the members of the Kings Guard removed their iconic bearskin hats. “Hip, hip!”

“Hooray,” they replied three times.

Outside the palace, three women who did not know each other before Saturday — Astrid Jacobs, Virginia Forbes and Penny McDermid — became fast friends as they waited for Charles to arrive. 

Virginia Forbes waits outside St James's Palace.
Virginia Forbes waits outside St James’s Palace. Amara Eno for NBC News

McDermid, who lives in London, said she feels an overwhelming sense of hope for the country’s future but acknowledged that Elizabeth will be a “tough act to follow.”

“She almost never put a foot wrong, was not a political figure, was basically universally loved,” she said. “It’s going to be very hard to live up to that.”

Jacobs, who lives in Cambridge, said she’s happy for Charles but still mourning the queen.

“It’s a mixed time I find, emotionally,” she said. “You’re trying to reconcile the future with the pain that you’re feeling at her loss. I wasn’t prepared.” 

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