The Daily Telegraph
‘To my darling Mama, thank you’
King Charles III makes ‘solemn pledge’ to follow his mother’s example in first address to nation
‘It’s the moment I’ve been dreading, as I know a lot of people have, but we try to keep everything going’
THE King has paid a deeply personal tribute to his “darling Mama” as she begins her “last great journey”, pledging, as she did, to devote the rest of his life to service.
In his first speech as sovereign, Charles III spoke movingly of his late mother’s “love, affection, guidance, understanding and example”, describing a “sense of loss, beyond measure” felt by all.
“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,” he said.
Addressing his “darling Mama”, who died on Thursday at the age of 96, he fought to contain his emotions as he said: “As you begin your last great journey to join my dear late Papa, I want simply to say this: thank you.
“Thank you for your love and devotion to our family and to the family of nations you have served so diligently all
years.” He announced that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were now Prince and Princess of Wales, thanked his “darling wife, Camilla”, describing her for the first time as “my Queen Consort”, and also expressed his love for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
Today, at 10am, he will be formally proclaimed monarch at an Accession Council in the State Apartments of St James’s Palace.
Buckingham Palace has confirmed the King’s wish that the Royal family observe seven days of mourning, following his mother’s funeral, which is expected to be held on Monday Sept 19.
Yesterday, it was confirmed that Joe Biden, the US president, would be among those attending what is expected to be one of the largest gatherings of world leaders in history.
Earlier in the day, the King greeted well-wishers outside Buckingham Palace who offered their condolences but also cheered his arrival. Then, at 4pm, he had his first meeting with Liz Truss, the Prime Minister, at the palace.
The King told the Prime Minister he had been “dreading” his mother’s death.
In a clip released of the meeting he said: “It’s the moment I’ve been dreading, as I know a lot of people have, but we try to keep everything going.”
Ms Truss had earlier welcomed his “sense of duty and service” in her address to the House of Commons, as MPS from across the political spectrum paid tribute, calling it the beginning of “our new Carolean age”.
Later, the first official rendition of God Save the King was heard at St Paul’s Cathedral at the end of a memorial service for the late Queen.
Queen Elizabeth’s death had been marked by a 96-gun salute from the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery at Hyde Park at 1pm, in unison with salutes across the UK.
Guidance from the Cabinet Office issued yesterday stated that there was “no obligation” for events or sporting fixtures to be cancelled or for entertainment venues to be closed, but recommended doing so on the day of the state funeral “as a mark of respect”.
The Football Association announced that all English fixtures this weekend would be postponed. Rugby matches will go ahead, with a minute’s silence and black armbands.
The King’s speech was recorded in the Blue Drawing Room of Buckingham Palace where Queen Elizabeth recorded some of her Christmas messages.
It formed a blueprint for the King’s reign to come, confirming his “particular relationship and responsibility towards the Church of England” as well as his decision to step back from his own campaigning causes and charities as his life inevitably changes.
In the nine-and-a-half-minute and nearly 1,000-word speech, he announced new titles for the former Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who became the Prince and Princess of Wales as of 6pm.
He expressed, too, his “love for Harry and Meghan as they continue to build their lives overseas”.
Of his wife, who became Queen Conthese sort at the moment he ascended the throne, in accordance with Queen Elizabeth’s wishes, he said he could “count on [her] loving help”.
The words were written to help unify and console a grieving nation following the death of Queen Elizabeth at Balmoral.
Wearing black mourning clothes, and appearing occasionally emotional as he spoke directly to camera for a broadcast beamed into homes around the country and to the St Paul’s service, the King called the “affection, admiration and respect she inspired” the “hallmark of her reign”.
“And, as every member of my family can testify, she combined these qualities with warmth, humour and an unerring ability always to see the best in people,” he said.
He ended with a quote from Hamlet: “May ‘flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.’”
On the desk at Buckingham Palace, now his, was a vase featuring three corgis, synonymous with the late Queen.
It contained a posy of sweet peas mixed with rosemary, representing remembrance.
The speech, which was pre-recorded, came at the end of a day which began in Scotland and ended in his first night of sleep on English soil as monarch.
He and the Queen Consort were seen for the first time en route to Aberdeen airport for a midday flight, dressed in black to walk across the tarmac in wet and windy weather for the poignant journey to Buckingham Palace and their new lives. Landing at RAF Northolt at 1.34pm, they transferred to the state Rolls-royce and made their way to the Palace, taking in crowds lining the streets as they neared their new headquarters.
In a walkabout, well-wishers broke into an impromptu rendition of God Save the King, with one woman shouting “We love you, King Charles, and we loved your mum.”
At times, the King and Queen seemed overwhelmed by the sight of tearstained faces in the crowd.
In the most striking sight of the day, the King and Queen walked through the Buckingham Palace gates and into the home they now inherit.
Staff could be seen waiting to greet them, ushering in a new era with a warm but solemn welcome.
The late Queen’s coffin remains at Balmoral, before beginning the journey to London and Windsor via Edinburgh tomorrow.
The Royal family, who had congregated at Balmoral as news of the Queen’s serious condition reached them on Thursday, began making their way home. The Duke of Sussex, who did not arrive at the Scottish estate until after news of his grandmother’s death had been announced, left at around 8am.
The new Prince of Wales departed Balmoral at lunchtime yesterday, making his way home to his family in Windsor before attending the Accession Council today.
Ispeak to you today with feelings of profound sorrow. Throughout her life, Her Majesty The Queen – my beloved Mother – was an inspiration and example to me and to all my family, and we owe her the most heartfelt debt any family can owe to their mother; for her love, affection, guidance, understanding and example.
Queen Elizabeth’s 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.
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.
The late Queen’s service and pledge
In 1947, on her 21st birthday, she pledged in a broadcast from Cape Town to the Commonwealth to devote her life, whether it be short or long, to the service of her peoples.
That was more than a promise: 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.
In her life of service we saw that abiding love of tradition, together with that fearless embrace of progress, which make us great as nations. The affection, admiration and respect she inspired became the hallmark of her reign.
And, as every member of my family can testify, she combined these qualities with warmth, humour and an unerring ability always to see the best in people.
I pay tribute to my mother’s memory and I honour her life of service. I know that her death brings great sadness to so many of you and I share that sense of loss, beyond measure, with you all.
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.
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.
Church of England
The role and the duties of monarchy also remain, as does the Sovereign’s particular relationship and responsibility towards the Church of England – the Church in which my own faith is so deeply rooted.
In that faith, and the values it inspires, I have been brought up to cherish a sense of duty to others, and to hold in the greatest respect the precious traditions, freedoms and responsibilities of our unique history and our system of parliamentary government.
The King’s pledge
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.
My life will, of course, change as I take up my new responsibilities.
It will no longer be possible for me to give so much of my time and energies to the charities and issues for which I care so deeply. But I know this important work will go on in the trusted hands of others.
‘My darling wife, Camilla’
This is also a time of change for my family. I count on the loving help of my darling wife, Camilla.
In recognition of her own loyal public service since our marriage 17 years ago, she becomes my Queen Consort.
I know she will bring to the demands of her new role the steadfast devotion to duty on which I have come to rely so much.
The Prince of Wales
As my heir, William now assumes the Scottish titles which have meant so much to me.
He succeeds me as Duke of Cornwall and takes on the responsibilities for the Duchy of Cornwall which I have undertaken for more than five decades.
Today, I am proud to create him Prince of Wales, Tywysog Cymru, the country whose title I have been so greatly privileged to bear during so much of my life and duty.
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.
Harry and Meghan
I want also to express my love for Harry and Meghan as they continue to build their lives overseas.
My darling Mama, thank you
In a little over a week’s time we will come together as a nation, as a Commonwealth and indeed a global community, to lay my beloved mother to rest.
In our sorrow, let us remember and draw strength from the light of her example.
On behalf of all my family, I can only offer the most sincere and heartfelt thanks for your condolences and support.
They mean more to me than I can ever possibly express.
And to my darling Mama, as you begin your last great journey to join my dear, late Papa, I want simply to say this: thank you.
Thank you for your love and devotion to our family and to the family of nations you have served so diligently all these years.
May “flights of angels sing thee to thy rest”.