Mark McGowan has revealed he expects King Charles III is likely to visit our shores next year as he joined with Governor Chris Dawson to officially proclaim him as the ruling monarch of WA.
Speaking after a special meeting of the Executive Council held on Sunday to recognise the new Sovereign in WA’s legal framework, the Premier said he had been “impressed” when he first met the King on his last visit to WA in 2015.
“I would have thought by next year he will probably come to Australia, and if he comes to WA, that would be terrific,” he said.
Mr McGowan also confirmed West Australians will have two public holidays this month within the space of five days.
As well as a national day of mourning announced for September 22, WA will retain the Queen’s Birthday public holiday scheduled for September 26.
“What’s occurring is there will be a public holiday on the 22nd, which will be a national one-off event to acknowledge the life of the Queen, and then there will be the normal West Australian Queen’s Birthday holiday a few days later, so both of those public holidays will take place,” Mr McGowan said.
In front of scores of people gathered at Government House to witness the historic proclamation of a new monarch, Mr Dawson promised “faith and obedience” to the King with “humble and hearty affection”.
Mr Dawson, who was sworn in as the Queen’s representative in WA just two months ago, said September 8 had marked the end of the second Elizabethan age, with the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and the beginning of the reign of His Majesty King Charles III.
“It is a role that he was born to fill, and has been preparing for his whole life,” he said. “In models of royal duty, decency and service, he has the fine example of his parents to follow, but will add his own vision and purpose to the role.”
He said West Australians had, in great numbers, expressed their grief at her passing by laying flowers and signing the condolence books at Government House.
“In times of loss and transition, as we are now experiencing, we draw comfort from continuity as embodied in the strong and long-standing foundations that underpin our democracy and its values,” he said. “In my role as Governor of Western Australia, I will do my best to inspire faith in those institutions. And I am proud to serve as the King’s representative.”
Mr McGowan said the last time such a proclamation was issued was when the late Queen ascended to the throne 70 years ago.
He said she had been a constant figure in people’s lives and history, someone who “never was in any way controversial” but could always be relied upon.
“The world has changed a great deal since she took the throne in 1952,” he said. “Technological change has accelerated. Empires have risen and fallen. Attitudes and social norms have been transformed.
“But through it all, for so many, she has been a symbol of dignity, grace and compassion in an era of great change and tumult, synonymous with the post-World War II era in a way that no other head of state could ever be.”
Mr McGowan said the King was someone who was “very familiar” with Australia and WA. “I have every confidence he will fulfil his duty to our State, Australia and the Commonwealth with dignity and valour in years ahead,” he said.
A mound of flowers outside Government House continued to grow as mourners visiting to sign the official condolence book also paused to lay floral tributes.
Self-professed royalist Bev Chiera said she and her mother, Lorri Spring, and daughter, Jaida Haylett, 10, had made the journey from Fremantle to pay their respects.
“For her to work right up until two days before she died, continuously until she’s 96, I don’t know of anyone else who’s done that,” Ms Chiera said. “We came in to sign the book and it was just amazing this (event) was going on at the time.”
Melbourne residents holidaying in Perth John and Ann Shackleton said they had been out for a walk when they realised what was happening and joined members of the public streaming through the gates.
Born in England, they said their childhoods had been steeped in memories of the royal family.
“The Queen was always there,” Mr Shackleton said. “Through thick and thin, didn’t matter what was going on politically, she was rock solid.”
Condolence books filling up with heartfelt messages will later be bound and stored in the State archives, with a smaller selection forwarded to Buckingham Palace.
“It has been an honour to serve the public of UK and Australia whilst wearing your emblem on my uniform,” one mourner wrote.
“You lived your life so selflessly for the betterment of humanity,” another wrote. “Thank you Ma’am, for everything. May you rest in peace with the love of your life.”
Flags on State buildings were flown at full mast on Sunday to mark the proclamation of the new King, but will return to half mast until the day after the Queen’s funeral on September 19.