King Charles is officially declared King of Australia and New Zealand

SYDNEY ( – Ceremonies were held in the capitals of Australia and New Zealand on Sunday to officially proclaim King Charles III as King of both countries.

In New Zealand, Parliament in Wellington witnessed the ceremony proclaiming Charles king to succeed Queen Elizabeth, who died on Thursday at the age of 96.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in a speech from the steps of Parliament that the ceremony was held to recognize the Queen’s son, “His Majesty King Charles III as our king.”

Addressing a crowd after the Queen’s death, she said New Zealand had entered a period of change.

“King Charles… has consistently shown his deepest care for our nation,” she said. “Our people value this relationship and I have no doubt that it will only deepen.”

In Australia, Governor-General David Hurley, the British monarch’s representative in Australia, officially declared King Charles the country’s king in a ceremony at Parliament House in Canberra. The event was marked by a 21-gun salute.

The British monarch heads 14 countries other than the United Kingdom, including Australia and New Zealand, but it is largely ceremonial.

Earlier, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said that Australia will hold a national day of mourning on September 22 for the soul of Queen Elizabeth, declaring that it will be a public holiday.

He added that he would travel to London on Thursday to attend the Queen’s funeral on September 19 and return to Australia on September 21.

“After that, the following day is scheduled to be a day of national mourning and memorial services,” he told ABC television.

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“This is to allow people to mourn the passing of Queen Elizabeth,” the prime minister said.

Australia’s national flags were flown at half-mast, Parliament was suspended and a huge portrait of the Queen was displayed at the Sydney Opera House.

Queen Elizabeth visited Australia frequently during her reign, with the first 16 visits in 1954 and the last in 2011.

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