Crowds gather in North East towns and cities to witness ancient accession ritual

Durham Proclamation ceremony
Ancient ceremony mixed with modern technology as people recorded the event on their phones. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Crowds have gathered across the North East and North Yorkshire for ceremonies proclaiming Charles III as the new King.

Morpeth, Newcastle, Sunderland and Middlesbrough were among the towns and cities where people came together to hear a formal proclamation read out loud.

In Durham, onlookers packed into the city's Market Place for the ceremony performed by the High Sheriff, Shona Harper-Wilkes.

The reading took place on the balcony of the town hall, where the High Sheriff was accompanied by her chaplain, Peter Fisher, Durham's Lord Lieutenant Sue Snowdon and the Bishop of Durham.

High Sheriff Shona Harper-Wilkes reads the proclamation, with her chaplain looking on. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Ms Harper-Wilkes said it was important to strike a balance between mourning the late Queen, Elizabeth II and rejoicing at the accession of the King.

She said: "It was so important to be here and to be joined by so many people. It was absolutely incredible, such an honour."

People were keen to witness a piece of history in the making. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Historically, proclamation ceremonies were designed to cascade the news of a change of monarch in an era long before mass media.

That is why, after initial ceremonies in Durham and other administrative centres, readings then took place in other communities.

Today in Durham, there was no shortage of people recording the event on mobile phones.

Despite so much modern technology, members of the crowd said they were delighted to be part of such an ancient ritual.

One woman, who had travelled from Redcar said: "I think because it's a very unusual event, it's the first time it's happened in my lifetime and I found it quite surreal thinking of the King.

"I thought coming to the proclamation might help it feel more real."

The crowd joined the High Sheriff in giving three cheers to His Majesty before a round of applause rounded off the ceremony.