Bermuda today marked the ascension of King Charles III to the throne vacated by his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, with a Proclamation Ceremony on Front Street, presided over by Governor Rena Lalgie and attended by a host of Members of Parliament, the Bermuda Regiment and various local dignitaries.
Governor Lalgie offered the official public declaration from the podium at the City’s heart, noting the glorious reign of the late Queen Elizabeth II, while welcoming in the era of King Charles III.
Said the Governor:
“Whereas it has pleased Almighty God to call to his mercy our late sovereign, Lady Queen Elizabeth II, of blessed and glorious memory, by who’s decease the crown is solely and rightfully come to the Prince Charles Philip Arthur George, I, Rena Lalgie, Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Bermuda do now hereby, with one voice, and consent of tongue and heart, publish and proclaim that the Prince Charles Philip Arthur George is now, by the death of our late sovereign of happy memory, become our only lawful and rightful liege, Lord Charles III by the grace of God of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland and of his other realms and territories, King, head of the Commonwealth, defender of the faith to whom we do acknowledge all faith and obedience, with humble affection, beseeching God, by whom kings and queens do reign, to bless His Majesty with long and happy years to reign over us, given at the City of Hamilton Bermuda this 11th day of September in the year of our Lord 2022.”
The Governor’s speech was followed by a royal salute performed by the Bermuda Regiment, after which Ms Lalgie departed and the gathered crowd dispersed, but not before TNN’s intrepid man on the scene, Trevor Lindsay, gathered a few comments from some of those in attendance.
Speaker of the House of Assembly Dennis Lister spoke respectfully of the monarchy, while noting his desire that King Charles be the final royal Bermuda might serve under at the behest of.
“We’ve opened a new era of the reign of the King, versus the long reign of his mother and, you know, it’s one of those times where we go through the ceremonial process and pay respect of the fact that we’re still a colony, and I emphasise that, as the reason we’re here today,” said Mr Lister. “We like to think that by the time his reign ends we wouldn’t still be standing here as a colony, but we are a colony, so we have to pay the due respects that a colony is entitled to pay to a monarch.
“But I’m one of those who looks forward to seeing another day.”
Bermuda’s longest ever serving Premier Sir John Swan, one who staked and lost the Premiership on the results of an independence referendum, offered a more congenial take on the ceremony and Bermuda’s status as a Dependent Territory.
“The ceremony was very dignified,” began Sir John. “It spoke well for Bermuda. It spoke of the fact that we too, as a Commonwealth country and a Dependent Territory, are a part of the process of the ceremony taking place in London.
“We have ourselves exemplified, by the proclamation spoken by the Governor and the attendance by all members of the aspects of Government, through to the judiciary and various other functions of the Government and members of the public, we are today celebrating the beginning of the reign of the former Prince Charles as the King of England
“I, in all regard, wish him well, and I’m sure the people wish him well, as he really is the custodian, just as his mother was, to set the values and standards for us to respect and to respect each other.
“So, this is truly a celebration of a new beginning and, hopefully, something that speaks well for us as a country around the world in our affairs, because they do represent us around the world, as Britain is responsible for our external affairs.
Former United Bermuda Party MP Gerald Simons offered how the occasion highlighted Bermuda as a integral part of the Commonwealth.
“I thought this ceremony showed us the consistency across the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth of the proclamation process,” said Mr Simons, a former Minister of Education responsible for the establishment of Cedarbridge Academy as Bermuda’s first mega-school.
“The formal announcement, something that dates from times of yore, when we didn’t have modern communications.
“It reminded me that rights of passage celebrations are important, whether it’s birthdays or retirements and, in this case, the death of a monarch and the accession of a new monarch. I think these functions are important.”
Finally, Mr Simon’s wife told of her own fond memories of the Queen and her contribution to a changing society over the years.
“One of my earliest memories as a child was watching the Queen’s coronation in England,” said Ms Simons. “And as I watch all of the ceremonies associated with her passing I can’t help but think about the tremendous social and political change the world has gone through during her reign, during which time she provided a sense of constancy and continuity, which I think will be missed.”
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