The King is dead. Long live the King!

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The King is dead. Long live the King![1] is a traditional proclamation made following the accession of a new monarch in various European countries, particularly in the United Kingdom. The original phrase was translated from the French Le Roi est mort. Vive le Roi!, which was first declared upon the coronation of Charles VII following the death of his father Charles VI in 1422. In France, the declaration was traditionally made by the Duc d'Uzès, a senior Peer of France, as soon as the coffin containing the remains of the previous king descended into the vault of Saint Denis Basilica. The phrase arose from the law of le mort saisit le vif—that the transfer of sovereignty occurs instantaneously upon the moment of death of the previous monarch.

At the time, French was the primary language of aristocrats in England, and the proclamation was quickly taken up as ideally representing the same tradition — which in England dates back to 1272, when Henry III died while his son, Edward I, was abroad in Palestine. To avoid any chance of a civil war erupting over the order of succession, the Royal Council proclaimed "The throne shall never be empty; the country shall never be without a monarch." Thus, Edward was declared king immediately, and he ruled "in absentia" until news of his father's death reached him and he returned to England.

While "The King is dead. Long live the King" is commonly believed to be part of the official text of the Proclamation of Accession read out following the decision of the Accession Council as to the rightful heir to the throne, it is in fact only tradition that causes it to be recited immediately after the proclamation is read aloud in many villages and towns.

Due to the memorable nature of the phrase (due to its epanalepsis), as well as its historic significance, the phrase crops up regularly as a headline for articles, editorials, or advertisements on themes of succession or replacement, as well as being linked to the continued commercial success of Elvis Presley, thanks to his moniker of "The King of Rock 'n' Roll".

[edit] Notes

 The exact punctuation used when written varies from source to source, with the full stop on occasion being replaced by a comma, a colon, or a dash.

The King is dead. Long live the King!

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