The King’s Accession Proclamation

On Sunday 11th September 2022 in Solihull High Street, the Worshipful the Mayor of Solihull, Councillor Ken Meeson, read the official Proclamation of the Accession of King Charles III. It seems that this was the first local Accession Proclamation ever to have been officially read in Solihull.

The accession of a new sovereign happens immediately on the death of the reigning monarch, and formal proclamations are subsequently made to announce the fact. Local Proclamations take place on the day following the Principal Proclamation at the Accession Council.

Following the death of Queen Elizabeth II on 8th September 2022, the Accession Council met at St James’s Palace in London at 10am on Saturday 10th September 2022 and the Privy Council officially proclaimed “The Prince Charles Philip Arthur George” as the new sovereign. After the Accession Council, the Principal Proclamation was made from the balcony overlooking Friary Court at St James’s Palace. The Proclamation was read by Garter King of Arms.

Following the Principal Proclamation, High Sheriffs across the country were instructed “forthwith do cause it to be proclaimed and published in the usual places within your jurisdiction with the traditional Solemnities and Ceremonies.”

In Solihull, the Proclamation was read on Sunday 11th September by the Mayor of Solihull, in the presence of the Deputy Lieutenant of the West Midlands (Professor Sir Nigel Thrift), MPs, Honorary Aldermen, Councillors, Parish Councillors, members of Solihull Faith Forum, and members of the public.

The civic dignitaries assembled at the Civic Suite at 12:30pm and made the short procession to the High Street via Manor Way, led by Superintendent Rich Harris from Solihull Police.

The Mace

The Mace, which is the symbol of Royal authority delegated to the Mayor, was carried during the Proclamation ceremony by the mace-bearer. This role has existed in Solihull since the district became a Borough in 1954. Solihull was the first Urban District – jointly with Luton – to be created a Borough by Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

The Mace was a gift to the new Municipal Borough of Solihull by Captain Oliver Bird, of The Chase, Bentley Heath. Weighing 90 ounces, the silver-gilt mace was designed by Mr H. G. Roscoe, a craftsman member of the old-established Birmingham company, Thomas Fattorini Ltd., and made at the firm’s Regent Street works.

The work took more than two months to complete, and the Mace was ready for inspection by Charter Day, 11th March 1954, when the Urban District of Solihull received its Charter of Incorporation as a Borough.

The Mace

The knop (or ornamental knob) is divided into four panels. Superimposed on these are:

  • the Arms of the Solihull Urban District, enamelled in full heraldic colours;
  • the bear and ragged staff of Warwickshire;
  • a view of the parish church of St Alphege,
  • an inscription: Presented by Capt. Oliver Bird, MC, JP, to the Borough of Solihull on the occasion of its incorporation 24th May, 1954.

As the Mace pre-dates the creation of Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council, the Mace bears the armorial bearings granted to Solihull Urban District Council in 1948 rather than the Coat of Arms of the present Metropolitan Borough, which were granted in 1975.

Below the knop are symbols of town and country – spears of corn and civic crown.

At the top of the shaft are oak leaves, suggesting that Solihull is part of the old Forest of Arden.

On the octagonal part of the base are fleuron and engraved words to commemorate Solihull’s incorporation.

A Saxon crown at the base indicates that Solihull had its origin in Saxon times.

During the presence of the monarch or their immediate family representative, the Mace is redundant and is therefore carried inverted, as can be seen in this photograph of the mace-bearer with H. M. Queen Elizabeth II when she officially opened Solihull Civic Hall in 1962.

The Mace is inverted, or reversed, in the presence of H.M. Queen Elizabeth II, 1962

On all occasions of public mourning, when the Mace is in use or on public display, the head of the Mace should be draped in black or a black bow tied around the shaft.

During the Local Proclamation the black mourning drape covering the Mace during the period of National Mourning is temporarily removed. The Mace is then temporarily inverted as a signal of recognition that the Crown has passed from the late Sovereign to her Successor, as can be seen in the video below, showing the Local Proclamation in Solihull of the Accession of His Majesty King Charles III.

The Local Proclamation

The Mayor of Solihull, Councillor Ken Meeson read the Proclamation text:

Whereas it has pleased Almighty God to call to His Mercy our late Sovereign Lady Queen Elizabeth the Second of Blessed and Glorious Memory, by whose Decease the Crown of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is solely and rightfully come to The Prince Charles Philip Arthur George: We, therefore, the Lords Spiritual and Temporal of this Realm and Members of the House of Commons, together with other members of Her late Majesty’s Privy Council and representatives of the Realms and Territories, Aldermen and Citizens of London, and others, 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 the Third, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain 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 St. James’s Palace this tenth day of September in the year of Our
Lord two thousand and twenty-two.


Accession Proclamation

After three cheers for His Majesty the King, the assembled dignitaries and members of the public then sang The National Anthem – the first time for 70 years that the words were not “God Save the Queen.”

Prior to the Accession of Queen Elizabeth in 1952, the last Queen Regnant in the UK was Queen Victoria, who reigned from 1837 until 1901.

The Proclamation of the Accession of King Charles III seems likely to have been the first time an Accession Proclamation was officially read out in Solihull. However, parish records do show that in 1727, 4s 6d was expended from parish funds for “ale that was drunk in the Church House when the King was proclaimed.” (Birmingham Daily Gazette, 11 May 1934). The King in question was King George II.

Proclamation of the Accession of Queen Elizabeth II, 1952

Local Proclamations of the Accession of Queen Elizabeth II were read across the country on Friday 8th February, 1952. However, there was no Local Proclamation in Solihull, which was not a Borough at the time.

Mr W. Maurice Mell, Town Clerk of Solihull Urban District Council, explained to the Birmingham Daily Post, that not being a Borough meant that Solihull did not receive an official copy of the Proclamation from the Crown Office:

[the Proclamation] for the county was read by the High Sheriff at the Shire Hall, Warwick. Other urban districts and smaller towns may have read theirs from newspaper copies but we decided that to do that would not have been our right and proper duty or in keeping with tradition.

Birmingham Daily Post, 9th February 1952

We haven’t been able to find any evidence that Accession Proclamations have been officially read in Solihull at any time before 2022, but if you know differently, please let us know!

Library Specialist: Heritage and Local Studies


© Solihull Council, 2023.
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