In his first speech as the new monarch, King Charles III bestowed titles and vowed his “unswerving devotion” to upholding the constitutional principles of the United Kingdom and the realm.
His comments come roughly 24 hours after Buckingham Palace announced the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, which spurred his accession to the throne.
“Queen Elizabeth was a life well lived, a promise with destiny kept, and she is mourned most deeply in her passing,” King Charles said in the speech.
“That promise of lifelong service I renew to you all today.”
At age 73, King Charles becomes the oldest person to ever assume the throne.
The new King gave some glimpses into how he intends to serve in the new role, pointing out that the U.K.’s values “have remained and must remain constant.”
“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,” King Charles said.
“Whatever may be your background or beliefs, I shall endeavour to serve you with loyalty, respect and love, as I have throughout my life.”
With an eye to plans for future successions, King Charles also used the speech to bestow new titles on his son, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and his wife Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge.
Prince William will become Prince of Wales, and Kate will become the Princess of Wales — a title last held by her husband’s late mother, Princess Diana.
The new King did not announce any title changes for his other son, Prince Harry, nor for the prince’s wife, Meghan and their children. The couple, known as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, walked away from official royal duties and now live in California.
Instead, King Charles expressed his “love” for the couple “as they continue to build their lives overseas.”
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While detailing his promises of devotion to the countries he now serves, the King also made a point of paying tribute to his mother.
He called the late queen and “inspiration” and an “example.”
“We owe her the most heartfelt debt,” he said.
King Charles described how, in a 1947 speech at just 21 years old, then-Princess Elizabeth pledged to “devote her life” to serving the people.
“That was more than a promise, it was a profound personal commitment which defined her whole life,” he said.
“Her dedication and devotion as sovereign never wavered.”
At the end of his speech, as the King’s eyes were tinged with sadness, he also spoke of the queen not just as a ruler — but as a parent he loved.
“To my darling mama, as you begin your last great journey to join my dear late papa, I want simply to say this: thank you,” King Charles 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.”
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