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King invites leading institutions to reaffirm loyalty to him at historic ceremony

The King is to embrace a 17th century tradition to mark his reign with a special ceremony in which key British institutions reaffirm their loyalty to the monarch at Buckingham Palace.

Charles will receive the “privileged bodies” – a group of 27 organisations and corporations – which will present loyal addresses to the sovereign in person in the Ballroom of the historic royal residence on Thursday.

Buckingham Palace said the privileged bodies are “culturally significant organisations and institutions that reflect the United Kingdom’s diverse society”.

Queen loyal addresses
The late Queen accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh receives a copy of the loyal address from Boris Johnson, during the event in 2012 (John Stillwell/PA)

Drawn from the education, science, arts and religious sectors, those invited include the General Synod of the Church of England, the universities of Oxford and Cambridge as well as of Edinburgh, London, St Andrews, Glasgow and Aberdeen, the Bank of England, City of London Corporation, the Royal Society, the Royal Academy of Arts, the Military Knights of Windsor and the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales.

The loyal addresses – in the form of a speech – serve to “emphasise and reaffirm their loyalty to the monarch”, the Palace said.

Charles will deliver a response at the end.

According to the Royal Encyclopaedia, a certain number of bodies enjoy the prescriptive right of presenting addresses to the sovereign seated on the throne and “of receiving a reply from the sovereign’s lips”.

In centuries past, this important function allowed the groups to publicly declare their loyalty to the crown and have the “ear” of the monarch, while also allowing the king or queen to hear grassroots opinions.

Queen loyal addresses
The Queen receives a copy of the loyal address from the Military Knights of Windsor in 2012 (John Stillwell/PA)

The long-held custom takes place to mark significant royal occasions and the event is in recognition of Charles’s accession to the throne.

The late Queen received the privileged bodies on five occasions during her reign, including for her accession in 1952.

The last time the ceremony took place was to celebrate Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012, when Boris Johnson – then the London mayor – took the opportunity to present her with a commemorative Oyster travel card.