WATCH: 73-year-old Charles III pledged ‘service for life’ in his first speech as king



King Charles III pledged to follow his mother’s lead in “service for life” in his inaugural address to Britain and the Commonwealth of Nations on Friday, after ascending to the throne following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

Speaking for the first time as King of Buckingham Palace, the 73-year-old thanked his “dear mother” for her “love and devotion to our family and the family of nations”.

“I wish that the journeys of angels sing to you for your comfort,” Charles, dressed in a black suit and tie, said in a touching speech.

“As the Queen herself has done with such unwavering devotion, I also solemnly pledge now, for the remaining time God bestows upon me, to uphold constitutional principles in the heart of our nation.”

As Charles spoke, dignitaries attended a sombre mass commemorating the late Queen at St Paul’s Cathedral which marked the first official rendition of the updated national anthem “God Save the King”.

Earlier, Charles – the oldest heir to the throne – received flowers, cheers and even kisses as he greeted well-wishers outside Buckingham Palace on his return from Scotland, where his mother died “peacefully” at the age of 96 on Thursday.

Church bells and ceremonial cannon salutes to the late king have rung across the country to deal with the constant loss of existence over the past 70 years.

Charles – who had his first meeting with British Prime Minister Liz Truss as king – will be officially declared king to the public at 11:00 a.m. (1000 GMT) on Saturday.

In his address he said that his eldest son William, who had risen in the line of succession to become heir, would become the new Prince of Wales.

William’s wife Kate will also receive the title Princess of Wales, which was held by his mother, Princess Diana, who died in 1997.

Read also: Pictures: Queen Elizabeth with sports stars from South Africa

Charles also expressed his “love” to his youngest son Harry and Harry’s wife Meghan, who has drawn harsh criticism of the royal family as the couple split to start a new life in the United States.

– tears –

Reigning for a record-breaking 70 years, Elizabeth II was a source of stability in a period of extraordinary change whose death drew sincere praise from all over the world.

Buckingham Palace said the king and other members of the royal family would observe an extended period of mourning between now and seven days after her funeral.

The date of the funeral, which will be attended by heads of state and government, has not yet been officially announced, but is expected to be on Monday, September 19.

As the British coped with the shock of the passing of their only head of state since the aftermath of World War II, tributes poured in to one of the most famous people on the planet.

News of her death dominated global headlines, while the popular British tabloid Daily Mail declared: “Our hearts are broken.”

Flowers have also been left in British embassies around the world, including in Moscow – which is currently at odds with London over the war in Ukraine.

Buckingham Palace in London has become the center of thousands of mourners, as flowers piled up in a sign of the respect the Queen feels.

Joanne Russell, a 55-year-old project manager from North East London, tears running down her cheeks as she looks at the tribute lining the Gates.

“I came to say a prayer. She’s been ours all my life and she’s led by example, I’ve learned, I’ve listened, wherever I go, it’s our character,” she told AFP.

“Charles has such a wonderful example to follow.”

Prime Minister Truss offered the nation’s support to Charles as she said he now bears “a great responsibility” at the start of two days of special honors for his mother in Parliament.

“Even while he is grieving, his sense of duty and service is palpable,” she said.

Truss praised the Queen as “one of the greatest leaders the world has ever known”.

“Her legacy will continue through the countless people she has met, the world history she has witnessed and the life she has touched,” the prime minister said.

While the government has said there is no obligation for organizations to suspend their work during a period of national mourning, many do so as a sign of respect.

The Premier League postponed all matches this weekend, the Confederation of Trade Unions’ trade union body postponed its conference scheduled to start on Sunday, while railway and postal workers halted upcoming strikes over wages, as Britain is dominated by rising inflation and spiraling energy prices.

Read also: In pictures: Queen Elizabeth II’s most elegant looks

The Queen’s death and subsequent ceremonial ceremonies come as the government struggles to speed emergency law to address the kind of war-fueled economic deprivation that marked the beginning of Elizabeth’s reign in 1952.

– tearful salute –

Elizabeth’s public appearances have become rarer in the months since she spent an unscheduled night in the hospital in October 2021 for undisclosed health checks.

She was seen smiling in her last official photos from Tuesday when she named Truss the 15th prime minister in her tenure, which began with Winston Churchill in Downing Street.

But the Queen, who seemed to be skinny and bent, leaned on a walking stick. Her hand also had a dark blue-purple bruise, causing concern.

Jane Barlow, the photographer who took the Queen’s last public photos on Tuesday, said she was “weak” but “in good spirits”.

The Queen’s closest family members rushed to be at her bedside at Balmoral, a private dwelling nestled among thousands of acres of grouse and woodland swamps in the Scottish Highlands.

Her body is expected to remain there initially before being moved on Sunday to Holyrood House in Edinburgh.

And from the Scottish capital, her coffin is due to be flown to London on Tuesday in order to lie in a state accessible to the public.

Officials expect more than a million people to present the Catavalki pleading in Westminster Hall, the oldest part of the Parliamentary complex, before a televised funeral service at the opposite Westminster Abbey.

Queen Elizabeth II ascended the throne at just 25 years old in the aftermath of the debilitating World War II, joining a global stage dominated by political figures from Churchill to Mao Zedong and Joseph Stalin.

In the decades that followed, the last remnants of Britain’s vast empire collapsed.

At home, Brexit shook the foundations of her kingdom, and her family suffered a series of scandals.

But throughout, she has remained unwaveringly popular and has been the head of state of not only the United Kingdom but also 14 former British colonies, including Australia and Canada.

New Zealand declared Charles its new king. But Australia’s new government appears intent on reviving a drive to abandon the monarchy, casting doubt on his inheritance even as the Queen grieves.

The final public farewell at Westminster Abbey in London will be a public holiday in the form of a national day of mourning.

Charles’ coronation, an elaborate rite steeped in tradition and history, will take place in the same historical setting, as it has for centuries, at a date to be determined

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