All the Royal Details on King Charles III's Reign Following Queen Elizabeth's Death

King Charles III, formerly Prince Charles, succeeds Queen Elizabeth II as U.K. monarch following her death. Find out more about him and what will change during his reign.

By Corinne Heller Sep 09, 2022 10:48 PMTags
Watch: King Charles Speaks Out After Queen Elizabeth II's Passing

Big changes are coming to the royal family with the rise of King Charles III.

Following the death of his mother Queen Elizabeth II on Sept. 8, Charles automatically inherited the British throne. The royal turnover, which is set to made official in am Accession Council ceremony in London on Sept. 10, ushers in a new era for the connotational monarchy, made up of the United Kingdom and the 14 Commonwealth realms, including Australia and Canada.

Prior to her death at age 96 on Sept. 8, the queen held the record for being the longest-reigning monarch in British history, ruling for 70 years. And Charles, 73, is the oldest person to assume the British throne.

It's been a long time coming. Prior to the queen's death, Charles was the longest-waiting British heir, sitting second in line to the throne since his mother's accession in 1952 when he was 3 years old.

70 Facts About Queen Elizabeth II

Find out more facts about the new king and what changes await the monarchy:

The King's Title

Prime Minister Liz Truss was the first to use the name King Charles III to refer to the new British monarch, saying his name in a televised speech outside her headquarters at 10 Downing Street in London on Sept. 8, hours after Buckingham Palace announced Queen Elizabeth II's passing. She had assumed office just two days prior, and met the queen at her home at Balmoral Castle, Scotland in what marked the late monarch's final public appearance.

Several minutes after she gave her speech, a spokesperson for Clarence House, which represented Charles when he was the Prince of Wales, confirmed the new monarch will be known as King Charles III.

But the King Could've Chosen a Different Title

Charles, christened Charles Philip Arthur George by England's archbishop of Canterbury, could have chosen a royal name other than King Charles III, and for years, many people speculated he would choose to use one of his middle names. Because...

...His Royal Title Is Controversial

The monarch is Britain's first King Charles in more than 300 years. His two predecessors' reigns in the 17th century were marred by scandals.

King Charles I (ruled from 1625 to 1949) and King Charles II of England (1660-1685) were both criticized for dissolving their Parliaments. Charles Sr. remains the only British monarch to be tried and executed for treason, having been accused of instigating England's second civil war.

Upon his death, the monarchy was abolished and his son spent several years in exile. Charles II was appointed king when the monarchy was restored in 1660, after which he was dubbed "The Merry Monarch" for leading what many considered a hedonistic court and for allegedly fathering several children out of wedlock.

A New (Old) National Anthem

With Charles' reign comes a slight tweak to the British de facto national anthem. Its title and lyrics, last amended when Elizabeth ascended the throne, will change from "God Save the Queen" back to "God Save the King." All female pronouns will revert to male. The original song debuted in 1745 and its title and pronouns changed over the years with the changing of the monarchs.

Show Me the Money

Newly minted coins and printed cash in British currency are set to feature Charles' image, although current ones will remain in circulation until they are gradually replaced, Reuters reported.

"As the first monarch to feature on Bank of England banknotes, the Queen's iconic portraits are synonymous with some of the most important work we do," the Bank of England said in a statement. "Current banknotes featuring the image of Her Majesty The Queen will continue to be legal tender. A further announcement regarding existing Bank of England banknotes will be made once the period of mourning has been observed."

Since Charles II's reign, it has become traditional for the monarch to face in the opposite direction to their predecessor. Therefore, the new king's face on money is expected to now face left, Reuters said.

Meanwhile, the Reserve Bank of Australia announced that its "$5 banknotes featuring the image of Her Majesty The Queen can continue to be used," adding, "They will not be withdrawn and are likely to remain in circulation for years to come."

With New Power Come New Responsibility

Charles now takes his mother's place as head of the British Armed Forces, the judiciary and the civil service, and as Supreme Governor of the Church of England, CNN reported, adding that the king is also the Fount of Honour, which means all honors, such as knighthoods, will now be given in his name.

Outspoken Prince, Outspoken King?

As heir to the throne, Charles was known as a staunch environmentalist and often voiced his concerns about climate change. But as king, his days of advocacy may come to an end. In a 2018 BBC interview, he acknowledged that the responsibilities of his then-current role as Prince of Wales was different from that as a monarch. Asked whether his public campaigning will continue, he said, "No, it won't. I'm not that stupid." 

He expressed similar sentiment, less abrasively, in a pre-recorded, first public address as king on Sept. 9. "My life will of course change as I take up my new responsibilities," Charles said. "It will no longer be possible to give so much of my time and energies to the charities and issues for which I cared so deeply, but I know this important work will go on in the trusted hands of others."

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