Charles III will be publicly proclaimed king a week late in Petersfield this Sunday after residents reacted angrily to being denied a public proclamation event last weekend.
Petersfield’s proclamation of the accession will be given in The Square just after 8pm on Sunday, September 18, immediately following a short service at St Peter’s Parish Church.
At 7.50pm or thereabouts, the congregation will move out of St Peter’s into the Square, for a short programme including reading of the proclamation. All members of the public are welcome.
The proclamation, declaring that King Charles III has acceded the throne after the Queen’s death, was read in towns and villages across the nation last Sunday.
Residents of Alton, Whitehill & Bordon, Liss, Four Marks and Medstead were all invited to attend public gatherings to mark the momentous occasion.
In Liss, the proclamation was read by the chair of Liss Parish Council, Cllr Keith Budden, followed by a resounding rendition of the national anthem by villagers and the Liss Band.
However, Petersfield residents were denied such an event after the town council opted not to host its own public proclamation, as East Hampshire District Council (EHDC) was hosting a private event at its Penns Place offices.
A spokesman for the town council said the town clerk and mayor reached a consensus that EHDC, “as the principal authority”, would make the local proclamation.
EHDC videoed the proclamation – read by Cllr Sally Pond, chairman of the council, and Sir James Scott, the Deputy Lieutenant of Hampshire, and also attended by MP Damian Hinds – live on Facebook.
But the decision to host the event behind-closed-doors was criticised by residents.
“I am so cross we didn’t know this was happening,” said Jacqueline Barnes, who added the council was an “out-of-touch council”.
Susan Terry said: “So sad. The Square is the place for such things, not in private – it wasn’t proclaimed to the people if it’s done privately.”
“The public have a right to hear it,” added Kathy Cook.
Na Brien said: “Surely such an important event should have included the local people?”
Chris Geal said: “Why would they hide it away like that?”
“The proclamation is to tell the public, in public, not locked away for the privileged few,” added Rob Parkhouse.
While Elaine Worsdale said: “How disgusting. It’s a public event, not just for EHDC ‘dignitaries’.”
Elizabeth Noble said: “So unfair the public weren’t given the opportunity to attend – incredibly disappointing.”
“What an opportunity missed,” said Mark Knowles, “a chance for young people to be part of history, but instead the ceremony is conducted in private. No wonder our young people feel disengaged when they don’t even get to see what goes on.”
Jannette Upfield said: “Why was this not a public event? Extremely disappointing that such an historic event took place in private.”
Petersfield mayor Councillor Peter Clist did though lead the town’s tributes to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, who he described as a “remarkable woman”.
“As a nation, we have so much to thank her for,” said Cllr Clist. “Our overriding reaction is to note her simple and continuing devotion to her duty and her people.
“In a famous broadcast at the age of 21, she pledged herself to a life of service, no matter how long that would be. As a young wife and mother, when she learned of the death of her beloved father, she unhesitatingly accepted her new role.
“We are grateful that she lived to see and celebrate her Platinum Jubilee. As always, the nation celebrated with her, not least here in Petersfield.
“It is a remarkable woman that the nation now mourns. The key to her surviving many difficult times in the lives of her people and of her family has been her basic human decency and integrity. We will miss her.
“We send our condolences to the royal family and especially to His Majesty King Charles III.”
Flowers and tributes can be left outside St Peter’s Church.