Today King Charles addressed both Houses of Parliament for the first time as sovereign. The House of Commons and House of Lords are separate but for special occasions like the Opening of Parliament or a visiting head of state, both houses come together.
But of course our monarchy is a constitutional monarchy, not an absolutist monarchy. It was back in King Henry VIII’s reign when Parliament became the supreme authority. In a few short years Parliament made laws affecting all aspects of public life. Even religious practices and doctrine, that had previously been under the church, were now under the authority of Parliament. Of course this was all done under the direction of the King but Parliament now became the ruling body within England. Five hundred years later the new King, Charles III, meets with Parliament.
As he addressed Parliament, King Charles thanked those present for their condolences. He talked about the weight of history that “reminds us of vital Parliamentary traditions, to which MPs and peers dedicate themselves”. It was a short ceremony in which Crown and Parliament united in grief.
In two short days this same space, Westminster Hall, will be the resting place for 96 hours for the Queen. Her body will lie-in-state just as the Queen Mother did 20 years ago. This will give the public a chance to walk past the coffin and pay their respects. It’s expected the public will queue for hours to have a glimpse of the Queen’s coffin.
Yesterday and Today the focus has been on Scotland, where the Queen spent so much of her time. Her coffin rested overnight in the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, the official residence of Her Majesty in Scotland. Today she will move to St Giles Cathedral, processing along the Royal Mile where she will lie-in-state. A service will be held known as the Vigil of the Princes where Royals stand guard around the coffin.
To those outside the UK this pomp and ceremony will seem strange and part of a bygone era. But these days show the traditions that lie at the heart of the British system. For better or for worse, they are part of what makes the British British. They combine and connect the four Kingdoms of the United Kingdom in grief and unity and nationalism.
And then we look towards the funeral when millions of her loyal subjects and others will make their way to London to witness the end of an era in Britain and look forward to the beginning of something new and unknown. The reign of Charles the King.
Long live the King.
Peter Mcilvenna is the co-founder of Hearts of Oak, a UK based freedom of speech alliance. Guest interviews each Monday and Thursday and News Reviews each Saturday. Peter has also worked for Lord Pearson of Rannoch in the House of Lords for the last ten years. In 2019 he served as UKIP’s national Campaign Manager during the local and European Election. He is married with two children and has a strong Christian faith. https://gettr.com/user/heartsofoak