King Charles III hails inspirational mother during first address to the nation

·3-min read
AP - Yui Mok

King Charles III on Friday hailed Queen Elizabeth II as an inspiration and example as he vowed to continue her unswerving commitment to duty.

In his first televised address to Britain and the Commonwealth as King, the 73-year-old paid tribute to his mother who died at Balmoral Casle in Scotland on Thursday aged 96.

"Queen Elizabeth was a life well lived; a promise with destiny kept and she is mourned most deeply in her passing. That promise of lifelong service I renew to you all today."

The King recalled a speech his mother made in Cape Town in 1947 where she pledged to devote her life to the service of her peoples.

"That was more than a promise," the King added. "It was a profound personal commitment which defined her whole life. She made sacrifices for duty.

"Her dedication and devotion as sovereign never waivered, through times of change and progress, through times of joy and celebration, and through times of sadness and loss."

Recording

The address was recorded in the Blue Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace shortly after the King met the British prime minister Liz Truss.

"When the Queen came to the throne, Britain and the world were still coping with the privations and aftermath of the Second World War, and still living by the conventions of earlier times”, the King added.

"In the course of the last 70 years we have seen our society become one of many cultures and many faiths.

"The institutions of the state have changed in turn. But, through all changes and challenges, our nation and the wider family of realms - of whose talents, traditions and achievements I am so inexpressibly proud - have prospered and flourished. Our values have remained, and must remain, constant."

Earlier in the day after arriving from Scotland, the King stopped the royal motorcade just outside the gates of Buckingham Palace to meet well-wishers who had been gathering outside since Thursday.

The King and his wife, Camilla, the Queen Consort, toured the perimeter of the palace gates to admire the floral tributes. The display of affection was acknowledged during the eight-minute address.

"Alongside the personal grief that all my family are feeling, we also share with so many of you in the United Kingdom, in all the countries where the Queen was head of state, in the Commonwealth and across the world, a deep sense of gratitude for the more than 70 years in which my mother, as Queen, served the people of so many nations.

Devotion

"As the Queen herself did with such unswerving devotion, I too now solemnly pledge myself, throughout the remaining time God grants me, to uphold the Constitutional principles at the heart of our nation.

“And wherever you may live in the United Kingdom, or in the realms and territories across the world, and whatever may be your background or beliefs, I shall endeavour to serve you with loyalty, respect and love, as I have throughout my life."

The King formally anointed his eldest son, William, Prince of Wales.

“With Catherine beside him, our new Prince and Princess of Wales will, I know, continue to inspire and lead our national conversations, helping to bring the marginal to the centre ground where vital help can be given."

He also used the address to underline the rapprochement with his second son Harry who has moved away from the inner circle of the royal family.

After the address was broadcast, the royal couple joined senior politicians, leading clergy and nearly 2,000 members of the public for a service of remembrance at St Paul's Cathedral in London.

Following a meeting of the Accession Council on Saturday morning, the Principal Proclamation - announcing Charles as sovereign - will be read from the balcony overlooking Friary Court at St James's Palace.

While preparations continue over the precise date for the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, her coffin will lie at rest in Edinburgh.

It will then be moved to Westminster Hall in London where it will lie in state for members of the public to file past and pay their respects.