Three cheers for His Majesty The King: How the UK Armed Forces supported The King’s proclamation
Following the death of The Queen, HM King Charles III was officially proclaimed sovereign this morning. In a ceremony rich in history and tradition, the military played a crucial role.
His Majesty The King was confirmed as King by the Accession Council on 10 September in the first of a wave of proclamations which take place across the country following the death of The Queen this week.
Supporting the new King formally for the first time, His Majesty’s Armed Forces played a crucial role in the ceremony.
The primary proclamation was read from the balcony at St James’s Palace by the Garter King of Arms, David White. He was accompanied by The Earl Marshal, Edward Fitzalan-Howard, and other Officers of Arms and Serjeants at Arms.
The Garter King of Arms proclaimed:
‘God Save The King.’
The State Trumpeters of the Band of the Household Cavalry sounded the Royal Salute and for the first time since 1952, the national anthem was played with the words ‘God Save The King,’ which was met with loud cheers from the watching crowds.
The anthem was performed by The Band of the Coldstream Guards. They were accompanied by The St James’s Palace Detachment of The King’s Guard made up of Number 7 Company Coldstream Guards who turned out in Friary Court.
The Coldstream Guards are responsible for the protection of the monarch and, consequently, they often play a central role in state ceremonial occasions. While The Coldstream Guards are well known for their high-profile ceremonial duties, they are infantry soldiers first and foremost, with a reputation as an elite fighting force.
Renowned for their discipline and courage, Coldstream Guards are infantry soldiers who specialise in light role operations: performing reconnaissance, operating machine guns and mortars, and are prepared to engage enemy troops on foot and in light vehicles. This versatility makes the regiment one of the most important fighting units in the British Army, and they have fought in most of the major conflicts that the British Army has been engaged in.
Coinciding with the Principal Proclamation, a Royal Salute of 41 rounds was fired by The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery (RHA) in Hyde Park, and a Royal Salute of 62 rounds from HM Tower of London was fired by the Honourable Artillery Company.
The King’s Troop, Royal Horse Artillery, in ceremonial dress, rode out on 71 horses, of which 36 pulled six First World War-era 13-pounder field guns.
The King’s Troop, Royal Horse Artillery is a British Army mounted ceremonial unit that fires Royal Salutes on Royal Anniversaries and State Occasions, such as state visits and royal birthdays. Permanently based in Woolwich, King’s Troop soldiers also have a vital operational role. They are trained as fighting soldiers first and foremost, and when the Army mobilises The King’s Troop provides drivers who deliver ammunition to artillery units around the battlefield.
The Troop received its title in 1947 when King George VI decided that, following the mechanisation of the last batteries of horse-drawn artillery, a troop of horse artillery should be kept to take part in the great ceremonies of state. He declared that the Riding Troop of the Royal Horse Artillery would be known as ‘The King’s Troop’ and enacted this by striking out the word ‘Riding’ in their Visitors’ Book and inserting ‘King’s’. On her accession, Queen Elizabeth II declared that the name ‘The King’s Troop’ would remain in his honour.
The Royal Regiment of Artillery
At HM Tower of London, the gun salutes were carried out by The Honourable Artillery Company (HAC) dressed in ceremonial attire. The Honourable Artillery Company are the City of London’s Reserve Army Regiment, one of just under 500 Reserve units and sub-units across the country.
The Royal Regiment of Artillery were responsible for the Royal Salutes around the country. Gun salute stations at Edinburgh Castle, Cardiff Castle and Hillsborough Castle in Belfast were fired at 10 second intervals, in a traditional marker of national events which dates back centuries.
The Royal Artillery provides firepower to the British Army, having been involved in almost every battle and operation the Army has fought in its 300-year history. Today’s gunners use a variety of high-tech equipment, including self-propelled guns and precision rockets as well as traditional artillery pieces.
Gun salutes are used to mark special occasions, particularly days with royal associations such as Coronation Day, Accession Day, and the monarch’s birthday. A traditional Royal Salute comprises 21 rounds. A further 20 rounds are fired in royal parks, such as Hyde Park. At the Tower of London, a royal salute comprises the traditional 21 rounds, a further 21 rounds to show the loyalty of the City of London to the Crown, and a final 20 rounds as the tower is a royal palace and fortress.
At midday, a second Proclamation was read from the steps of the Royal Exchange in the City of London by Clarenceux of Arms. The Band of The Coldstream Guards followed with the national anthem, and the Lord Mayor called for:
‘Three cheers for His Majesty The King!’
To read more about the UK Armed Forces’ involvement in commemorating the life of The Queen, head to: