King Charles Appoints Keir Starmer as New U.K. Prime Minister — the Third of His Less Than 2-Year Reign

King Charles continued a royal tradition by appointing the U

Published Time: 05.07.2024 - 15:31:09 Modified Time: 05.07.2024 - 15:31:09

King Charles continued a royal tradition by appointing the U.K.'s new prime minister Friday.

Following the results of the July 4 election, the King officially welcomed Labour Party leader Kier Starmer into the position following his landslide victory over Rishi Sunak.

According to the U.K. Parliament, the British monarch traditionally meets with the departing prime minister before the incoming premier comes in for a private audience. For the short period between the meetings, certain executive powers are vested in the monarch.

Charles experienced this on Friday after Sunak arrived at Buckingham Palace and tended his resignation at around 10.30 a.m. local time. Starmer traveled to the Palace shortly afterward, accompanied by his wife Lady Victoria Starmer.

The new British leader later had a private audience with Charles. The official Court Circular will now record that Starmer kissed the King's hands "on appointment" but this is not literally the case and just signifies the monarch's position as Head of State.

"The monarch appoints a prime minister under theRoyal Prerogativewhich forms part of common law," the U.K. Parliament website explains. "The monarch does so by asking the new prime minister to form an administration, to which they usually respond, 'Yes.' "

According to the Cabinet Manuel, "Historically, the sovereign has made use of reserve powers to dismiss a prime minister or to make a personal choice of successor, although this was last used in 1834 and was regarded as having undermined the sovereign. In modern times the convention has been that the sovereign should not be drawn into party politics."

Starmer is the third person to hold the position of prime minister since King Charles acceded to the throne less than two years ago upon the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth.

Queen Elizabeth's final royal duty was appointingLiz Trussas prime minister on Sept 6, 2022, just two days before the history-making monarch died. In a d -

eparture from tradition, the appointment occurred at Balmoral Castle in Scotland. A source told PEOPLE that the decision was made to host the audience at Balmoral to provide certainty for schedules amid the Queen's mobility issues, and outgoing Prime MinisterBoris Johnsonalso traveled to Scotland for the formal farewell from his post.

Queen Elizabethsawa total of 15 prime ministers, from Winston Churchill to Truss, during her 70 years on the throne.

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With Queen Elizabeth's death and King Charles' accession, Truss became the first U.K. prime minister since Churchill to serve under two different monarchs. Churchill served as prime minister from 1940 to 1945, during the reign of King George VI, then again from 1951 to 1955.

Truss delivered a reading at Queen Elizabeth’s funeral at Westminster Abbey on Sept. 19, 2022, and became the shortest-serving prime minister in U.K. history when she resigned45 daysinto her premiership the following month.

Sunakwas then selected as her replacement by the Conservative Party and welcomed into the position by King Charles during an audience at Buckingham Palace on October 25, 2022.

Buckingham Palace said in a statement following the meeting, "The King received in Audience The Right Honourable Rishi Sunak MP today and requested him to form a new Administration. Mr. Sunak accepted His Majesty's offer and kissed hands upon his appointment as Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury."

The King holds a private weekly audience with the prime minister "to discuss government matters."

"Though the King remains politically neutral on all matters, he is able to 'advise and warn' his ministers — including his prime minister — when necessary," according to the royal family's website.

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