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Charles III promises ‘lifetime service’ in his first speech as king

Britain’s King Charles III delivers his address to the nation and Commonwealth from Buckingham Palace, London, Friday, September 9, 2022, following the death of Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday. (Yui Mok/Pool Photo via AP)

King Charles III promised “lifetime service” to his subjects in his first televised address to the nation as monarch, in which he paid tribute to his late mother, Queen Elizabeth II.

“To my darling mum, as you begin your last great journey to join my dear late dad, I just want to say this: thank you,” he said. “Thank you for your love and devotion to our family and the family of nations you have served so diligently for all these years. May ‘flights of angels sing to your rest.’”

In the pre-recorded message to Britain and the Commonwealth, the King also acknowledged the moment of change felt by the British and in his own royal family. He hinted that given his new responsibilities, his own public speaking — he made his views known on issues ranging from architecture to the environment — would become a thing of the past.

Yet he also said his heir Prince William would take on the role of trying “to inspire and lead our national conversations, helping to bring the marginalized to the center where vital help can be given”.

He continued: “I also want to express my love for Harry and Meghan as they continue to build their lives overseas.”

Earlier, Charles had arrived at Buckingham Palace as the UK entered a period of national mourning, stopping his car before it passed through the gates and walking among those gathered, shaking hands and receiving their condolences . It was a notable and deliberate decision, signaling that the new head of state is determined to show that he would follow his mother’s example in maintaining a close relationship between the royal family and the public.

Charles automatically became king upon the Queen’s death, but official recognition will come at a meeting of the so-called Membership Council at 10am on Saturday. Buckingham Palace will also announce the date and details of the Queen’s funeral arrangements on Saturday, it said in the statement.

US President Joe Biden will be among world leaders attending his funeral.

“In just over a week, we will come together as a nation, as a Commonwealth and indeed as a global community, to rest my beloved mother,” Charles said in his speech. “In our grief, let us remember and draw strength from his example.”