The Queen's Life


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Accession describes the event of a new Sovereign taking the throne upon the death of the previous King or Queen

A new Sovereign succeeds to the throne as soon as his or her predecessor dies and is at once proclaimed at an Accession Council in St James’s Palace.

All members of the Privy Council are summoned. The Lord Mayor and Aldermen of the City of London and High Commissioners of Realm Commonwealth countries are invited to attend.

Following the proclamation, the Sovereign reads a declaration and takes the oath to preserve the Church of Scotland. The oath known as the accession declaration – an oath to maintain the established Protestant succession – is normally made at the next State Opening of Parliament.

In London the public proclamation of the new Sovereign is first read out at St James’s Palace.

The proclamation is also read out publicly in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast. In each city the accession is traditionally proclaimed at several different spots.

If the monarch is under 18 on succeeding to the throne, there is provision for a regent to be appointed to perform the Royal functions. This can also happen if the monarch is totally incapacitated.

The Queen acceded to the throne on 6 February 1952 on the death of her father, King George VI.

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