King Charles III has held his first audience with prime minister Liz Truss at Buckingham Palace.
Ms Truss spoke briefly to the King by phone on Thursday evening to express her condolences over the death of his mother, the late Queen Elizabeth II.
But this was the first time the prime minister had spoken to him face-to-face since he became King on the death of his mother.
Throughout her reign, Elizabeth held weekly audiences with her 14 previous prime ministers, mostly in person at the Palace but sometimes by phone, as during the Covid pandemic.
Their discussions are kept rigorously private, but previous PMs have remarked how impressed they were by the late Queen’s grasp of current affairs and the detailed knowledge she displayed of topical issues.
Under the UK’s constitutional arrangements, although the Queen remains politically neutral on all matters, she is able to “advise and warn” her ministers – including the prime minister – when necessary.
Former PM Theresa May today recalled her experience of audiences with the Queen, telling MPs: “These were not meetings with a high and mighty monarch, but a conversation with a woman of experience and knowledge and immense wisdom.
“They were also the one meeting I went to, which I knew it would not be briefed out to the media.”
The comment was met with laughter by MPs, before Mrs May added: “What made those audiences so special was the understanding the Queen had of issues which came from the work she put into her red boxes, combined with her years of experience.”
It is believed that the regular weekly meetings will continue under Charles’s rule.
Ms Truss is due to give a reading from the Bible at this evening’s service of thanksgiving for the Queen’s life at St Paul’s Cathedral, and will on Saturday take part in an Accession Council to proclaim the succession of Charles to the throne.