The Prince of Wales has paid a moving, personal tribute to the Queen at the Jubilee Party at the Palace, calling her “Mummy” and thanking her for being there for the nation in good times and bad for 70 years.
Heir to throne Charles, taking to the stage in front of Buckingham Palace, told how the Queen had laughed and cried along with the country through the decades, as he hailed her “lifetime of selfless service”.
Charles said the Queen was watching at home at Windsor with “much emotion” and “immense regret” at not being there.
He rallied the crowd into cheering the absent monarch 20 miles away, saying if they were “loud enough she might, might just hear us”.
The future king, who was joined by his wife the Duchess of Cornwall, said, addressing the Queen, who remains head of state at the age of 96 despite her mobility problems: “You pledged to serve your whole life – you continue to deliver.”
In a touching moment, Charles spoke of his “much missed” late father the Duke of Edinburgh, calling him “My Papa” and saying the Queen’s late husband Philip was there “in spirit” to cheers from the crowd.
The prince, who began his heartfelt speech with “Your Majesty, Mummy” just as he did at the Diamond and Golden Jubilee pop concerts, told the Queen: “You have been with us in our difficult times.
“And you bring us together to celebrate moments of pride, joy and happiness.”
He added: “You have met us and talked with us. You laugh and cry with us and, most importantly, you have been there for us, for these 70 years.
“You pledged to serve your whole life – you continue to deliver. That is why we are here. That is what we celebrate tonight.”
He reflected on the Queen’s every-growing family, which now stretches to 12 great-grandchildren, and on her dual role as sovereign and royal matriarch.
“Your family now spans four generations. You are our Head of State. And you are also our mother,” he said.
Of Philip, who died in April 2021 and had been married to the monarch for 73 years, Charles said: “Your ‘strength and stay’ is much missed this evening but I am sure he is here in spirit…
“My Papa would have enjoyed the show and joined us wholeheartedly in celebrating all you continue to do for your country and your people.”
As the prince delivered his Jubilee thank you toast, photographs of the Queen, personally selected by Charles, were projected onto the famous facade of Buckingham Palace.
Among them were ones he chose in honour of his late father showing Philip and the Queen as a young couple.
His images were also inspired by his own personal memories including when as a four-year-old, the same age his grandson Prince Louis is now, he watched his mother crowned at her Coronation.
Other historic moments included the Queen’s carriage ride down The Mall with Nelson Mandela in 1996 and the historic handshake between the Queen and the then-deputy first minister of Northern Ireland and former IRA commander Martin McGuinness 10 years ago.
Difficult times were referenced with a picture of the Queen’s “We will meet again” speech to the nation during the coronavirus pandemic, and celebratory occasions with the Queen presenting England captain Bobby Moore with the World Cup trophy in 1966.
The prince’s biggest tribute was paid to the Queen’s pledge to serve her whole life, with photos and video of the monarch over the years meeting people around the UK and around the world.
“These pictures on your house are the story of your life – and ours. So, Your Majesty, that is why we all say ‘thank you’,” he said.
It was the public, Charles said, who inspired the Queen to keep going.
“I know what really gets my mother up in the morning is all of you – watching at home,” he said.
The prince declared: “The outpouring of warmth and affection over this whole Jubilee weekend – is our way of saying thank you – from your family, the country, the Commonwealth, in fact the whole world.
“On behalf of us all, I wanted to pay my own tribute to your lifetime of selfless service.”
He prompted laughter when he spoke of the Queen’s dream of getting a Derby winner.
“There was still time for fun amongst the work. We might have been celebrating that Derby winner this evening… next year perhaps?”
And the audience backed Charles’s optimism for England’s hope of winning the World Cup, as he said: “Maybe this year it really is coming home.”
He prompted chuckles as he referred to the Queen’s sketch with Paddington bear at the start of the concert.
He said: “Ladies and gentlemen, I know the Queen is watching these celebrations which much emotion, having, I hope, finished her marmalade sandwich, including immense regret that she cannot be here in person with us this evening.
“But Windsor Castle is barely 20 miles away so if we cheer loudly enough, she might, might just hear us. So let’s all join together.”
It was an echo of the Diamond celebrations in 2012 when Charles called on the Jubilee pop concert audience to cheer loud enough so Philip might hear, while the duke was being treated in hospital for a bladder infection.