Inside Keir Starmer and King Charles’ top secret meeting – and how Boris Johnson messed it up

By Staff

Keir Starmer will travel to Buckingham Palace today to meet with King Charles, who will formally ask him to form a Government after leading the Labour Party to victory

Keir Starmer has victoriously made it to No10 – but must first meet with King Charles to be formally appointed Prime Minister.

The Labour leader, 61, will travel to Buckingham Palace today where he will be asked to form a Government by the King, after bringing an end to 14 long years of Conservative rule. Mr Starmer will be the third PM during the monarch’s reign, after Tory’s Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss, whose stint in charge was the shortest in British history.

But it will be the first time Charles, 75, has appointed a prime minister following a general election. As Head of State, it is the King’s duty to appoint a PM and he must choose someone who can command the confidence of the House of Commons. This is usually the leader of the party with the overall majority of seats – in this case, Mr Starmer.

The King has travelled from Scotland to Windsor Castle, following a busy run of engagements in Edinburgh for Holyrood Week, to be on standby for the private meeting. The Court Circular, the official record of royal engagements which is published the next day, will record that the politician was requested to form ‘a new administration’ and ‘kissed hands on appointment’.

The kissing of hands is usually just a handshake, with the actual kissing of hands taking place later at a Privy Council meeting. But outgoing PM Mr Sunak will first travel to the Palace to formally hand in his resignation in front of an audience with the King. Ms Truss was the last PM to step down in October 2022, and the King was ‘graciously pleased’ to accept her resignation.

The aides will be hoping Mr Starmer’s first meeting goes more smoothly than Boris Johnson’s in July 2019, after the former PM broke a huge protocol just hours after taking the top job. During a tour of his new home after his royal meeting with the late Queen, he shared details of their conversation which should have been kept secret.

EuroNews journalist Vincent McAviney claimed Johnson admitted the Queen had made a brutally honest comment during their short chat. He claimed she said: “I don’t know why anyone would want the job.” According to McAviney, staff quickly scolded him and told Johnson “not to repeat those things so loudly”.

As Head of State, the monarch must remain politically neutral and does not vote in elections. Although the law does not stop them from voting, it is considered unconstitutional so the sovereign does not cast votes or make political opinions public at all.

It is also the duty of the monarch to hold a weekly audience with the PM to discuss Government matters. What is said in the meetings always remains private, with no other people present during it. The late Queen set the precedent of meeting every Wednesday, while parliament is in session.

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