Addressing the nation. King Charles III made his inaugural speech as the new monarch of the U.K. and its Commonwealth territories after the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II.
“I … 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 endeavor to serve you with loyalty, respect, and love as I have throughout my life,” Charles, 73 — who assumed the throne on Thursday, September 8 — stated in London on Friday, September 9.
“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,” he continued. “But I know this important work will go on in the trusted hands of others.”
The king specifically mentioned all of his immediate family members in the address, including son Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, with whom the family has been estranged since the Sussexes stepped down from their royal duties in 2020.
“I want also to express my love for Harry and Meghan, as they continue to build their lives overseas,” Charles noted, while officially bestowing royal titles upon his “loving” wife, Camilla, and eldest son, Prince William, and his wife, Kate. He declared Camilla as Queen Consort, per Her Majesty’s wishes, and announced William and Kate as Duke and Duchess of Cornwall, respectively. William also inherited Charles’ Prince of Wales title, while Kate will now be known as the Princess of Wales, earning the title of William’s late mother Princess Diana.
Charles returned from his late mother’s Balmoral estate in Scotland earlier that morning, where the queen died on Thursday after a historic 70-year reign. She was 96.
Upon his return to England, Charles viewed tributes to Her Majesty outside of Buckingham Palace and carried out his first order as king.
“Following the death of Her Majesty The Queen, it is His Majesty The King’s wish that a period of Royal Mourning be observed from now until seven days after The Queen’s Funeral,” the palace said in a statement on Friday. “Royal Mourning will be observed by Members of the Royal Family, Royal Household staff and Representatives of the Royal Household on official duties, together with troops committed to Ceremonial Duties.”
The seven-day period decreed by Charles is an extension of the country’s 12-day mourning period. A date for Elizabeth’s funeral has yet to be announced, as has a date for Charles’ coronation.
Charles, the eldest child of Elizabeth and the late Prince Philip, first broke his silence on his mother’s passing hours after her death on Thursday.
“The death of my beloved mother, Her Majesty The Queen, is a moment of the greatest sadness for me and all members of my family,” the sovereign said in a statement. “We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished Sovereign and a much-loved Mother. I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world.”
He continued: “During this period of mourning and change, my family and I will be comforted and sustained by our knowledge of respect and deep affection in which The Queen was so widely held.”
Elizabeth “died peacefully” at her Balmoral estate in Scotland on Thursday, per a statement released by Buckingham Palace, which noted at the time, “The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow.”
A source exclusively confirmed to Us Weekly that Charles’ sons arrived in Scotland after the queen had already passed. Her Majesty’s sons Prince Andrew and Prince Edward, along with Edward’s wife, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, also did not make it to Balmoral in time to say their final goodbyes.
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