Prince William leaves Balmoral to be with family ahead of accession council

The Duke of Cornwall and Cambridge has left Balmoral Castle after Queen Elizabeth II's death

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The Duke of Cornwall and Cambridge, who is a Privy Counsellor, will attend the Accession Council, Kensington Palace said.

The heir to the throne's trip south of the border follows on from his father King Charles III, and his brother Prince Harry, making the same journey.

Following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, her son automatically ascended the throne.

But an Accession Council will be convened at St James’s Palace in London at 10am on Saturday.

Prince William
Prince William
King Charles III leaving Balmoral on Friday
King Charles III leaving Balmoral on Friday

Historically, the entire Privy Council is summoned to the Accession Council to oversee the formal proclamation of a new monarch.

But with the number of privy counsellors – who are lifetime members and mostly past and present politicians – now standing at more than 700, restrictions have been put in place.

Just 200 will be summoned, and those cut will be asked to enter an annual ballot for a few remaining seats.

The Accession Council must take place before Parliament meets, and Parliament should meet as soon as practicable after the death of a sovereign.

The Council is divided into two parts, and is presided over by the Lord President, who has ministerial responsibility for the Privy Council Office.

Penny Mordaunt was appointed Lord President of the Council, and Leader of the House of Commons, on September 6 in Liz Truss’s new cabinet, in place of Mark Spencer, with the Queen officially approving the appointment.

Ms Mordaunt is yet to be “declared” Lord President at a Privy Council meeting because the event was postponed on Wednesday when Queen Elizabeth II was urged to rest.

The chosen Privy counsellors – without the King – will gather at St James’s Palace to proclaim the new sovereign, joined by Great Officers of State, the Lord Mayor and City Civic party, Realm High Commissioners and some senior civil servants.

If any of the counsellors summoned are not able to attend at short notice, the Council can still take place.

Camilla – the new Queen Consort – and the Duke of Cornwall and Cambridge are already privy counsellors so will be present.

When the meeting begins, the Lord President announces the death of the sovereign and calls upon the Clerk of the Council to read aloud the text of the Accession Proclamation.

It will include the monarch's chosen title – King Charles III.

The platform party – made up of Camilla and William, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Lord Chancellor, the Archbishop of York, the Prime Minister, the Lord Privy Seal, the Lord Great Chamberlain, the Earl Marshal and the Lord President – sign the Proclamation.

The Lord President then calls for silence and reads the remaining items of business, which deal with the dissemination of the Proclamation and various orders giving directions for firing guns at Hyde Park and the Tower of London.

The King then enters and holds his first Council, which is only attended by Privy Counsellors.