Keir Starmer shakes hands with King as he becomes Prime Minister – before private meeting

By Staff

King Charles will officially appoint Keir Starmer as Prime Minister and ask him to form a government following a historic election which saw Labour take a landslide majority

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In full: Sir Keir Starmer says ‘change begins now’ after election win

Keir Starmer has met with King Charles at Buckingham Palace following Labour’s landslide election victory.

The men shook hands and posed for official photographs to mark the historic occasion. The meeting took place in one of the reception rooms at the Palace, surrounded by family photos including a snap of Charles with wife Queen Camilla.

The new Prime Minister wore a Labour red tie for the meeting. After the photographers left, the pair sat down for a private meeting.

During this the King officially asked Starmer to become Prime Minister and form a government. He does this in his role as Head of State.

Despite only being Monarch for two years, Starmer will be Charles’ third Prime Minister – however he’s the first he’s formally asked to form a government in his position as Head of State.

After the meeting, Starmer will be driven down the Mall to Downing Street to address the nation for the first time as prime minister.

For all the latest election news follow The Mirror’s live blog.

Earlier today the outgoing Prime Minister Rishi Sunak visited the Palace for a goodbye meeting with the King. During this chat, he formally handed in his resignation.

The King has met Starmer on numerous occasions and the pair appear to have a warm rapport. They were seen engrossed in conversation at a reception in St James’s Palace before the Ukraine Recovery Conference in 2023, and photographed exchanging friendly greetings in the aftermath of the late Queen’s death.

Sir Keir attended an audience between Charles and opposition leaders just two days after Elizabeth II died. The King and the Labour leader mirrored each other’s gestures, both smiling and placing a hand on the other’s arm as they greeted one another in the Palace’s 1844 Room.

In 2021, footage surfaced showing the then-human rights barrister telling a film-maker in 2005: “I also got made a Queen’s Counsel which is odd, since I often used to propose the abolition of the monarchy.”

But when Elizabeth II died, he paid a warm tribute, saying in the Commons: “For the 70 glorious years of her reign, our Queen was at the heart of this nation’s life. She did not simply reign over us, she lived alongside us, she shared in our hopes and our fears, our joy, and our pain. Our good times and our bad.”

He also spoke of the King’s new reign, praising Charles’s social and eco-credentials. “King Charles III has been a devoted servant of this country his entire life, he has been a powerful voice for fairness, and understood the importance of the environment long before many others,” Sir Keir said.

“As he ascends to his new role with the Queen Consort by his side, the whole House, indeed, the whole country, will join today to wish him a long, happy and successful reign.”

Liz Truss was King Charles’ first Prime Minister, as she was already in place when he became monarch in September 2022. However her stint in charge was the shortest in British history. The King then welcomed Rishi Sunak as his second PM – also a Conservative – in October the same year, just six weeks after acceding to the throne.

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