LONDON — King Charles III promised Thursday to uphold the system of British governance and praised his mother, the late Queen Elizabeth II, in his first official address as the new monarch of the United Kingdom.
In the pre-recorded speech, which lasted about ten minutes, Charles III paid homage to his mother for “a life well lived.” He called her an “inspiration,” and said that his family had as great a “heartfelt debt” as any family ever could to the late queen, who died Thursday at an estate in Scotland.
“I want simply to say this: Thank you,” he said. “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.”
Charles III added that throughout her reign, which was the longest in British history, Elizabeth II’s “dedication” and service “never wavered.” The new king also referenced the fact that his mother began her reign as the world was still experiencing the aftermath of World War II and then pivoted to celebrating multiculturalism.
He said that the values of Britain would remain consistent and the monarchy would still continue to play its role in the U.K, and took a vow of lifelong service to the British people. His promise echoes when his mother took that same vow of service at age 21, several years before becoming queen.
Charles III’s speech served as the first time the British public has heard a public address from a king since the mid-20th century, when King George VI, the late queen’s father, reigned. Most in Britain, however, have never known a monarch other than Queen Elizabeth II.
“Since I’ve been here, I’ve only known the queen,” one woman, 22, who immigrated to the U.K. from Congo in 2008, told The Daily Wire on the streets of London after the king’s speech. “To even say ‘the king’ is like ‘ooooh.”
Britain has now entered a 10-day period of mourning. For Charles III, the moment will be both personal and public.
“It’s clear that he misses his mum and obviously, it’s a deeply personal moment,” Krish, 28, told The Daily Wire after watching the speech in a London TV shop that he has a good feeling about the king. “I feel bad for him and his family, because they’ve lost someone important.”
Though the British monarchy is largely ceremonial from a legal standpoint, Queen Elizabeth II did wonders for national morale throughout her life, especially in times of political and cultural turmoil. She was also popular wherever she went. As of 2021, Queen Elizabeth II was named the third most admired woman in a global survey. She was the only royal on the list.
Leif Le Mahieu reported from Nashville, Tennessee.