In his inaugural address to Britain and the Commonwealth on Friday, King Charles III promised to follow his mother’s example of “lifelong service” after ascending to the throne upon her death.
During his first official address as monarch, the 73-year-old thanked his “darling mama” for her “love and devotion to our family and to the family of nations” from Buckingham Palace.
Charles, dressed in a black suit and tie, gave an emotional address in which he wished the deceased “may flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.”
“As the queen herself did with such unwavering devotion, I now solemnly pledge myself, throughout the time God allows me to remain in office,” she said.
During Charles’s speech, dignitaries attended a somber memorial service for the late queen at St. Paul’s Cathedral, where the new version of “God Save the King” was performed for the first time.
Charles, the oldest heir to the throne, was greeted with flowers, cheers, and even kisses by well-wishers as he returned to Buckingham Palace from Scotland, where his mother had died “peacefully” on Thursday at the age of 96.
Nationwide, people mourned the loss of a constant figure for the past seventy years by ringing church bells and firing ceremonial gun salutes in honor of the late monarch.
On Saturday at 11:00 am (1000 GMT), Charles will be formally proclaimed king to the public. He met with British Prime Minister Liz Truss for the first time as monarch earlier in the day.
In his speech, he announced that his eldest son William would succeed to the throne of England and Wales.
After William’s mother, Princess Diana, passed away in 1997, Kate will also take on the title of Princess of Wales.
In addition, Charles said he “loves” his younger son Harry and Harry’s wife Meghan, who has made damaging criticisms of the royal family as the couple has set out to start a new life in the United States.
– Tears –
After her death, people all over the world expressed their deepest condolences to the people of the United Kingdom and to the rest of the Commonwealth. Elizabeth II reigned for a record-breaking 70 years.
According to Buckingham Palace, the king and other members of the royal family will be in deep mourning for the next week, until the seventh day after her funeral.
The funeral, which will be attended by world leaders, has not been officially scheduled but is widely anticipated to take place on September 19.
Tributes poured in for one of the world’s most recognizable people as the British recovered from the shock of losing their only head of state since the end of World War II.
The world was stunned by the news of her death, and the widely read British tabloid Daily Mail wrote, “Our hearts are broken.”
Russians, who are at odds with the British government over the Ukrainian conflict, have been leaving bouquets at British embassies around the world, including in Moscow.
Thousands of people gathered at London’s Buckingham Palace to pay their respects to the queen, and flowers began to pile up in front of the palace as a symbol of the respect people had for her.
Seeing the memorials at the gates brought tears to the eyes of Joan Russell, a 55-year-old project manager from northeast London.
“I came to say a prayer,” she told AFP. “She has been our monarch all my life, and she has led by example, she has learned, and she has listened.”
To quote one admiring Charles fan: “Charles has had such a great example to follow.”
At the beginning of two days of special tributes to his mother in parliament, Premier Truss offered Charles the nation’s support as she said he now bore a “awesome responsibility.”
“Even in his sorrow, his sense of duty and service is evident,” she said.
“One of the greatest leaders the world has ever known,” Truss gushed about the queen.
The premier said that her legacy would live on in the countless people she met, the global history she witnessed, and the lives she touched.
Many businesses are closing their doors out of respect during this time of national mourning, despite the fact that the government has said they are under no legal obligation to do so.
As Britain is gripped by soaring inflation and spiraling energy prices, the Premier League canceled all matches for this weekend, the TUC umbrella body of trade unions canceled its congress scheduled to begin on Sunday, and railway and postal workers halted upcoming strikes over pay.
The government is trying to rush through emergency legislation to address the kind of war-fueled economic privation that marked the beginning of Elizabeth’s reign in 1952, and the death of the queen and the ceremonies that followed it only add fuel to the fire.
Since Elizabeth spent an unplanned night in the hospital in October 2021 for mysterious medical tests, she has made fewer public appearances.
On Tuesday, she appointed Truss as the 15th prime minister of her reign, which began with Winston Churchill in Downing Street. In her final official photos, she can be seen smiling.
However, the monarch was noticeably frailer and stooped, and she used a walking stick. In addition, she had a dark blue-purple bruise on her hand, which caused alarm.
She was frail but in good spirits, according to Jane Barlow, the photographer who took the final public photos of the queen on Tuesday.
Members of the royal family had rushed to be by the queen’s side at Balmoral, her private residence in the Scottish Highlands surrounded by thousands of acres of rolling grouse moors and forests.
Her body will likely stay there until Sunday, when it will be moved to the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh.
Her body will be flown from Edinburgh to London on Tuesday for a public viewing of her lying in state.
More than a million people are expected to line up to view the catafalque in Westminster Hall, the oldest part of the parliamentary complex, before the televised funeral service in Westminster Abbey, directly across the street.
At the young age of 25, Queen Elizabeth II ascended to the throne in the weary aftermath of World War II, entering a political world dominated by figures such as Winston Churchill, Mao Zedong, and Joseph Stalin.
The remnants of Britain’s once vast empire began to disintegrate in the decades that followed.
Back at home, her kingdom was rocked by Brexit, and she and her family were hit by a series of scandals.
She ruled over not only the United Kingdom, but also 14 former British colonies, including Australia and Canada, and maintained her popularity throughout.
Charles was officially named king of New Zealand. But even as it mourns the queen, the new government in Australia appears poised to renew a push to abolish the monarchy, putting doubt on his inheritance.
A Day of National Mourning will be declared so that the nation can come together for one last public farewell at Westminster Abbey in London.
On a date yet to be determined, the same historic setting will play host to Charles’ coronation ceremony, an intricate ritual steeped in custom and history.
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