UK's Rishi Sunak officially becomes prime minister amid economic crisis

King Charles III invited Rishi Sunak to become UK prime minister

Former finance minister Rishi Sunak met with King Charles III as he officially entered the top job as the U.K.’s newest prime minister Tuesday.

The meeting with the Charles and Sunak, the first British Asian to hold the high office, is part of the ceremonial transfer of power known as "kissing hands" and followed Liz Truss’ announced resignation last week.

Sunak is now the third U.K. leader in seven weeks and the first prime minister to be welcomed into office by Charles since the passing of his mother Queen Elizabeth II.

King Charles III welcomes Rishi Sunak during an audience at Buckingham Palace, London, where he invited the newly elected leader of the Conservative Party to become prime minister and form a new government, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2022.

King Charles III welcomes Rishi Sunak during an audience at Buckingham Palace, London, where he invited the newly elected leader of the Conservative Party to become prime minister and form a new government, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2022. (Aaron Chown/Pool photo via AP)

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The pair met at Buckingham Palace where the King invited Sunak to form a government – a process that his mother carried out for the final time less than 50 days ago with Truss – officially allowing Sunak to take up the top job.

Truss held her final cabinet meeting Tuesday morning at 10 Downing Street before she officially handed in her resignation. 

Truss, the shortest serving prime minister in British history, met with the King at Buckingham Palace for the last time where she formally resigned. 

Sunak made his first address to the nation outside 10 Downing Street where he pledged to prioritize getting the economy back on track and rebuilding public trust in the government. 

Prime Minister Liz Truss shook hands with King Charles III during their weekly meeting at Buckingham Palace.

Prime Minister Liz Truss shook hands with King Charles III during their weekly meeting at Buckingham Palace. (Kirsty O'Connor - WPA Pool)

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Britain’s newest leader acknowledged the tough legacies left behind by his predecessors, including Boris Johnson, and promised "to put money above politics to reach out and build a government that represents the very best traditions of my party."

Tories leaders have held power in the U.K. for 12 years but the Conservative Party was plunged into crisis earlier this year when several scandals involving COVID-19 and allegations of sexual misconduct with former Tory Deputy Chief Whip Chris Pincher divided the party and forced Johnson to resign.

New British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak arrives at Downing Street in London, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2022, after returning from Buckingham Palace where he was formally appointed to the post by Britain's King Charles III. 

New British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak arrives at Downing Street in London, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2022, after returning from Buckingham Palace where he was formally appointed to the post by Britain's King Charles III. 

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Sunak was not only one of the top government officials to resign in protest during Johnson’s tenure, but he also warned Truss against the disastrous economic plan that tanked her favor as prime minister.

"I fully appreciate how hard things are and I understand too that I have work to do to restore trust," Sunak said Tuesday. "After all that has happened all I can say is that I am not daunted."