The monarch, 73, and his wife, 75, met with 900 members of Parliament at Westminster Hall on Monday, September 12, to receive their formal condolences following the death of his mother. According to the Guardian, the couple entered the hall to a fanfare of trumpets, before taking their seats on the throne at the head of the room. Charles also appeared to get visibly emotional as the crowd sang United Kingdom’s national anthem, “God Save the King”.
During his first address to Parliament as king, Charles thanked them for paying tribute to “the late sovereign, my beloved mother, the Queen,” before promising to “follow” in her footsteps during his own reign. “As I stand here today, I cannot help but feel the weight of history, which surrounds us,” the sovereign said while addressing the relationship between the royal family and the Houses of Parliament.
“While very young, her late Majesty pledged herself to serve her country and her people and to maintain the precious principles of constitutional government which lie at the heart of our nation,” Charles continued. “This vow, she kept with unsurpassed devotion. She set an example of selfless duty which with God’s help and your counsels I am resolved faithfully to follow.”
Charles’ speech comes in the midst of the queen’s journey to Westminster Hall, where her coffin will lie in state later this week. She died on Thursday, September 8, at the age of 96.
“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 — who assumed the throne following his mother’s death — said in his first address to the nation the following day.
The king has been visibly emotional in the days following her death and was photographed wiping away tears while arriving at Buckingham Palace on Friday, September 9. He also appeared to be overcome with emotion while greeting mourners outside the palace gates later that day.
“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,” Charles said in his first speech as king. “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.” He was officially declared king on Saturday, September 10.
Queen Elizabeth, who was the longest reigning monarch in modern history, will receive a state funeral, which includes a procession through Edinburgh, London and Windsor. Shortly after Charlies addressed Parliament, the first procession — from the Palace of Holyroodhouse to St. Giles’ Cathedral in the Scottish capital — began. Her coffin was accompanied on the journey by Charles’ sister, Princess Anne.
Keep scrolling to see more photos of Charles and Camilla as they sat on the throne for the first time: