Prince William: Queen was by my side 'during the saddest days of my life'

The Prince of Wales has paid tribute to his grandmother, the Queen, saying that she was by his side "during the saddest days of my life".

William, who is now heir to the throne, said he was still grieving the loss but that he also felt "incredibly grateful" to have had the "benefit of the Queen's wisdom and reassurance into my fifth decade".

In his first public statement since her death, William said: "On Thursday, the world lost an extraordinary leader, whose commitment to the country, the Realms, and the Commonwealth was absolute.

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"So much will be said in the days ahead about the meaning of her historic reign.

"I, however, have lost a grandmother. And while I will grieve her loss, I also feel incredibly grateful. I have had the benefit of The Queen's wisdom and reassurance into my fifth decade."

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He also spoke of the support and love that the Queen had for his wife and children over the last couple of decades.

"My wife has had 20 years of her guidance and support. My three children have got to spend holidays with her and create memories that will last their whole lives.

"She was by my side at my happiest moments. And she was by my side during the saddest days of my life. I knew this day would come, but it will be some time before the reality of life without Grannie will truly feel real.

"I thank her for the kindness she showed my family and me. And I thank her on behalf of my generation for providing an example of service and dignity in public life that was from a different age, but always relevant to us all.

"My grandmother famously said that grief was the price we pay for love. All of the sadness we will feel in the coming weeks will be testament to the love we felt for our extraordinary Queen. I will honour her memory by supporting my father, The King, in every way I can."

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Prince William was among the Privy Counsellors who met in London earlier on Saturday morning to declare King Charles III the new sovereign.

The ceremony, which dates back to Saxon times, saw the King pay tribute to his "beloved" mother and vow to follow her "inspiring" example for "what remains of his life".

William later joined his wife, as well as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, to greet crowds in Windsor.

Other members of the Queen's family inspected floral tributes outside Balmoral, the Royal Family's Scottish residence where she died.