King Charles promises to serve ‘with loyalty, respect and love’
Charles III addressed his nation for the first time, promising to emulate the “lifelong service” of his late mother, Queen Elizabeth, ahead of his official proclamation as king on Saturday.
The new monarch’s words came after a day of parliamentary tributes, gun salutes and raw emotion, as thousands gathered at the gates of Buckingham Palace to leave floral tributes for Elizabeth II, some in tears.
“Queen Elizabeth’s life has been well lived, a promise with fate kept and she is deeply mourned by her passing,” the King said on Friday, in his first national address.
On Saturday, Charles III will be officially “proclaimed” king at an accession council in London, a constitutional formality to recognize his sovereignty in the presence of members of the Privy Council, which includes senior politicians and clergy.
The new king, heir to the throne for 70 years, is now at the center of an elaborately choreographed series of events, encompassing 10 days of national mourning and the widely expected Queen’s funeral in Whitehall on September 19.
Echoing the promise made by his mother before ascending the throne, the king promised “lifelong service. . . Whatever your origins or beliefs, I will strive to serve you with loyalty, respect and love.
The King said he was bestowing the title of Prince of Wales on his son and heir, William, and expressed his deep sense of loss following the death of his “beloved mum” at Balmoral Castle in Scotland on Thursday.
“Thank you for your love and devotion to our family and the family of nations you have served so diligently all these years,” he said of his mother. “Let ‘flights of angels sing unto thee to thy rest’.”
King Charles arrived in London from Balmoral early Friday afternoon and ordered his car to pull up outside Buckingham Palace in a sign of his desire to forge an immediate connection with his people.
He shook hands and exchanged words with dozens of his new subjects to cries of “God Save the King.”
The monarch held her first audience with Liz Truss, the new British Prime Minister, who arrived in black at Buckingham Palace for a highly symbolic moment in the life of the nation.
Truss became Queen Elizabeth’s 15th Prime Minister at Balmoral just three days ago, succeeding Boris Johnson.
Parliament convened at midday for a 10-hour session for MPs to pay their respects to the Queen as the bells rang at St Paul’s Cathedral, Windsor Castle and Westminster Abbey.
Truss told MPs the Queen was ‘one of the greatest leaders the world has ever known’, while Opposition Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer said her death ‘robs our country of its point the most immobile, of its greatest comfort”.
Johnson said the Queen had been ‘as radiant, knowledgeable and fascinated by politics’ as he could remember when they last met on Tuesday, when she ‘saw her 14th Prime Minister and welcomed her 15th’ .
A prayer and reflection service then took place at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, where mourners delivered the first official rendition of God Save the King.
The new monarch has said he will now step down from the many charities and causes he supported as Prince of Wales, a recognition that as king he will have to avoid politically contentious issues.
Elsewhere, plans were made for features of the new monarch to appear on the country’s coins, stamps and letterboxes; Queen’s Counsel at the Bar will now become King’s Counsel.
Some sporting events, including Premier League football matches and Test cricket, were canceled at the start of the national mourning period. The next meeting of the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee, which was to be held next Thursday, has been postponed until the following week.
London retailers Selfridges and Liberty closed, music was halted in Wetherspoons-owned pubs and sporting and corporate events were canceled across Britain as businesses paid tribute to the life of the Queen Elizabeth II.
During a day of tributes, Emmanuel Macron, President of France, captured a global sense of loss: “For you, she was your queen. For us, she was the queen. For all of us, she will be with us all forever.