WELL-wishers insist they are firmly behind King Charles as they hailed the "special" moment he was proclaimed monarch in Southend yesterday.

Among those attending yesterday's ceremony was Debbie Madigan, 61, who had the honour of meeting the new king when he visited in March to declare Southend a city.

Debbie, who is from Leigh, says she was keen to be at the proclamation yesterday to witness the historic moment.

She said: "It is an important part of history, for our city of Southend and across the country.

"I have always supported the Royal Family and been to lots of different occasions such as the Platinum Jubilee, Silver Jubilee, and the Queen's mother's funeral.

"We came to Southend when Charles and Camilla visited too, it was a fantastic day.

"It was a special occasion, and I even got to shake hands with Prince, now King, Charles as well, and speak to him.

"At the time I was like I have shaken hands with our future King, I couldn't believe it, but little did I know this would happen within months.

"Charles and Camilla were both very down-to-Earth, they were lovely, and said they loved there visit to Southend."

She added: "It is so sad about The Queen, she was so special to me and this country, but I still feel positive about the future with the King, I think he will follow in the Queen's suit."

Another visitor, Patricia Shead, 82, and her husband Tony, 88, were also among the crowd yesterday.

"I just had to be here," Patricia said.

"We need to show our love and appreciation while supporting the new king.

"Southend has been our home for 50 years, so we couldn't miss the proclamation.

"I thought it was beautifully done.

"I think the new king will be wonderful, bring all his own gifts into the role and our country and follow the footsteps of his mother.

She continued: "My husband and I have loved the Royal Family and visited many events over the years too.

"Today is a really special moment."