In his first address after becoming king following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, Charles paid a heartfelt tribute to his mother, pledging a lifelong service to the people of the United Kingdom and the countries of the Commonwealth.
Speaking on Friday Sep. 9, a day after the Queen’s death, he spoke of his sorrow and the “heartfelt debt” his family owed her – for her love, affection, guidance, understanding and example.
He praised her dedication and devotion to the role throughout both joyous and difficult times, and her “abiding love of tradition, together with that fearless embrace of progress.”
“The affection, admiration and respect she inspired became the hallmark of her reign,” he said. “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.”
“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. “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.”
In his address, he passed on the Prince and Princess of Wales – the titles he and his late wife Diana previously held – onto his eldest son William and daughter-in-law Kate.
He also expressed his love for his second son Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, whose relationship with the royal family have become strained.
“I want also to express my love for Harry and Meghan as they continue to build their lives overseas,” Charles said.
Charles automatically became king following the death of his mother and was formally proclaimed King at St. James’ Palace in London on Saturday Sep. 10 in front of a ceremonial body called the Accession Council.
He will be formally crowned at a coronation but that is not expected to happen until a much later date due to the amount of preparations required, according to the BBC.