The next monarch
As we pay tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II after the news of her passing at the age of 96, all eyes now inevitably turn to her son, Prince Charles, who has immediately succeeded her place on the throne to become King Charles III. Unlike his mother, who unexpectedly became queen at just 25 years old when her father, King George VI, died suddenly, 71-year-old Prince Charles has spent his entire life in preparation to wear the crown. He’s the longest waiting heir apparent and will be the oldest British monarch to ever take the throne.
Following Queen Elizabeth’s death, Prince Charles immediately became king
At the moment of Queen Elizabeth’s death, Prince Charles became king. An ‘Accession Council’, consisting of the group of advisors to the sovereign known as the Privy Council, will convene at St James’s Palace, London, to formally recognise the transition and to proclaim Charles as the monarch. The King will then take an oath to, interestingly enough, preserve the Church of Scotland (this is because the sovereign is only the head of the Church of England, not the Presbyterian Church of Scotland). Parliament will then be recalled for its members to take oaths of allegiance.
It wasn't a given that Prince Charles would become King Charles
‘Charles’ was an interesting choice for Queen Elizabeth to name her future heir, because the first two King Charles are associated with the 17th-century English Civil War, when the monarchy was ousted for the first and only time in British history. Charles I was beheaded, although Charles II was eventually restored to the throne and well-liked. But Elizabeth, who kept her given name as Queen, was actually unusual in doing so: most other British monarchs changed their names upon taking the throne. For example, Queen Victoria’s first name was Alexandrina. That said, given the Prince of Wales was known by the public as Prince Charles his whole life, it makes sense for him to retain Charles as his regnal name as King, making him King Charles III.