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King Charles III welcomes Sir Keir Starmer during an audience at Buckingham Palace, London, where he invited the leader of the Labour Party to become Prime Minister © Alamy

King Charles appoints Keir Starmer as prime minister after general election - all the photos

The monarch also met with outgoing premier, Rishi Sunak

Danielle Stacey
Online Royal CorrespondentLondon
Updated: July 5, 2024
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The King has welcomed his third prime minister in his 22-month reign as Labour won a landslide victory in the UK general election.

Charles, 75, greeted Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer during an audience at Buckingham Palace, where he was invited by the King to form a government and become prime minister.

Following the meeting, the Court Circular will record that “the Prime Minister kissed hands on appointment”. This is not literally the case, and it is usually a handshake.

Mr Starmer then addressed the nation for the first time as prime minister outside 10 Downing Street, joined by his wife, Victoria. 

Before Charles greeted the new premier, he held a meeting with the outgoing prime minister, Rishi Sunak.

Mr Sunak became prime minister on 25 October 2022 when Liz Truss resigned after just 49 days in office.

WATCH: King Charles III meets the new Prime Minister Sir Keir Stamer

King Charles does not vote and is a constitutional monarch who must remain politically neutral.

MORE: King Charles prepares for new relationship 

The State Opening of Parliament and the King's Speech under the new Labour government is expected to take place on Wednesday 17 July. 

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Outgoing Conservative Prime Minister Rishi Sunak gives a speech in Downing Street,© Getty

Outgoing prime minister gives final speech

Rishi Sunak appeared outside 10 Downing Street to give his final speech as prime minister before making his way to Buckingham Palace. 

Speaking about his defeat, he said: "I have given this job my all but you have sent a clear signal that the government of the United Kingdom must change and yours is the only judgment that matters. I have heard your anger, your disappointment. And I take responsibility for this loss."

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Outgoing Conservative Prime Minister Rishi Sunak with his wife Akshata Murty leaving after giving a speech in Downing Street© Getty

The Sunaks leave Downing Street

Rishi revealed his plans to resign as leader of the Conservative party, saying: "Following this result, I will step down as party leader, not immediately, but once the formal arrangements for selecting my successor are in place.

"It is important that after 14 years in government, the Conservative party rebuilds, but also that it takes up its crucial role in opposition professionally and effectively."

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Sir Clive Alderton, Principal Private Secretary to The King and Queen(right) with Commander William Thornton, Royal Navy, Equerry to The King (2nd right) greet Rishi Sunak and his wife Akshata Murty© Getty

Rishi Sunak arrives at Buckingham Palace

Rishi was accompanied by his wife, Akshata Murty, as the couple were greeted at the palace by Sir Clive Alderton, Principal Private Secretary to The King and Queen. 

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 Sir Clive Alderton, Principal Private Secretary to the King and Queen (right) greets Sir Keir Starmer, and his wife Victoria Starmer© Getty

The Starmers arrive at Buckingham Palace

Keir Starmer was accompanied by his wife, Victoria, for his audience at the palace with the King. 

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King Charles III welcomes Sir Keir Starmer during an audience at Buckingham Palace, London, where he invited the leader of the Labour Party to become Prime Minister © Alamy

Meeting the King

The official moment that Keir was invited to become prime minister by the King. The pair shook hands as the monarch requested that he form a new administration. 

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Keir Starmer sitting down with King Charles at Buckingham Palace © YUI MOK

58th prime minister

The audience took place privately, with only photographs released from the meeting.

Keir has become the third prime minister of the King's reign, after Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak. 

The former lawyer has become the country's 58th prime minister.

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King Charles and Keir Starmer laughing together© Getty

When was Sir Keir knighted?

Keir was knighted by then Prince Charles in 2014 for his services to criminal justice.

He revealed that his parents, Rodney and Josephine, brought their Great Dane along to the investiture ceremony, convincing a royal guard to look after their dog while they saw their son being knighted.

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Keir Starmer smiling off camera with the King© Getty

Keir's family life

Keir and his wife, Victoria, who works for the NHS, share a 16-year-old boy and a 13-year-old girl, neither of whom have ever been named or pictured publicly before. 

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Victoria and Keir Starmer leave palace © Getty

Leaving the palace as PM

Keir pictured for the first time as prime minister as he and Victoria left Buckingham Palace to be driven to 10 Downing Street

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Britain's incoming Prime Minister Keir Starmer and leader of the Labour Party, addresses the nation after his general election victory© Getty

First speech as prime minister

The new PM vowed to deliver change in his first speech to the nation, saying: "You have given us a clear mandate, and we will use it to deliver change. To restore service and respect to politics. End the era of noisy performance. Tread more lightly on your lives. And unite our country.

"Four nations standing together again. Facing down, as we have so often in our past, the challenges of an insecure world. Committed to a calm and patient rebuilding. So with respect, and humility I invite you all to join this government of service, in the mission of national renewal.

"Our work is urgent and we begin it today. Thank you very much."

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Keir Starmer and wife Victoria wave from the steps of 10 Downing Street© Getty

Moving in

Keir and Victoria waved as they posed for photographs outside the famous black door at 10 Downing Street. 

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