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Accession ceremony for King Charles III to happen Saturday at Rideau Hall

Parliament Hill is bathed in purple light and the Royal Cypher of Queen Elizabeth II is projected on the Peace Tower, following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, in Ottawa, on Thursday, Sept. 8, 2022.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

OTTAWA - King Charles III will be proclaimed Canada's new head of state at an accession ceremony at Rideau Hall on Saturday morning, while the federal government rolls out a series of events to commemorate the legacy of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II.

The date of Canada’s national commemoration ceremony for the Queen is up in the air as officials eagerly await public confirmation of when her state funeral will be held in London.

The Heritage Department says the national ceremony will start with a memorial parade composed of Canadian Armed Forces members and RCMP officers along with a 96-gun salute — one for each year of her life — and a CF-18 flypast.

That will be followed by a service at the Anglican Christ Church Cathedral in downtown Ottawa, which will be attended by government officials and other dignitaries and nationally televised for all Canadians.

While planning for the actual ceremony has been underway for years, Beth Bretzlaff, rector of Christ Church Cathedral and dean of the Anglican diocese of Ottawa, said the devil is in the details. And the biggest missing detail now is the date.

“We don't know when it is in England yet,” Bretzlaff said in an interview. “So it's all kind of resting on them.”

Protocol calls for 10 days of mourning following the Queen's death, but the rules around the actual funeral are not as rigid. British officials are expected to announce the date in short order.

The longest-serving British monarch and Canadian head of state died Thursday.

Despite the uncertainty, Bretzlaff said preparations are proceeding.

“There's a lot of details, specifically around components of the service,” she said. “Who is doing what and how people line up and where they go and who sits where .… You've also got the music, and all the people who may be participating, let alone the guests.”

Christ Church is not new to such ceremonies; it hosted a similar national commemoration for the Queen’s late husband, Prince Philip, last year and another for the Queen Mother in 2002.

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip actually worshipped at the 750-seat cathedral on two occasions in 1957 and 1961.

“And on one of those occasions, the power went out,” Bretzlaff said. “The service continued on, but there was no organ. They sang without music and lit the candles. It was rather an intimate relationship with the Queen herself in this place.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and members of the federal cabinet and Privy Council were also expected to meet as part of the protocol needed to formally proclaim the new sovereign.

Trudeau was scheduled to sign the book of condolences for the Queen on Friday evening, after returning to Ottawa from a three-day cabinet retreat in Vancouver, and is expected to attend the state funeral in London.

The book of condolences at Rideau Hall is available to Canadians mourning the Queen's death, and an online version is available from Canadian Heritage.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 9, 2022.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2022
The Canadian Press

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