Britain’s King Charles III, in his first national address after succeeding his mother Queen Elizabeth II, remembered his “darling Mama” as “an inspiration and example to me and to all my family”.
“We owe her the most heartfelt debt any family can owe to their mother,” he said in the eight-minute, pre-recorded address, which he concluded with a quote from William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, “May ‘flights of Angels sing thee to thy rest’.”
The Queen died at Balmoral Castle in Scotland yesterday at the age of 96.
King Charles said hers was “a life well-lived” and “a promise with destiny kept”. “She is mourned most deeply in her passing. That promise of lifelong service I renew to you all today,” he added.
“Alongside the personal grief that all my family are feeling, we also share with so many of you in the United Kingdom, in all the countries where The Queen was Head of State, in the Commonwealth and across the world, a deep sense of gratitude,” he added.
He mentioned how in 1947, “on her 21st birthday, she pledged in a broadcast from Cape Town to the Commonwealth to devote her life, whether it be short or long, to the service of her peoples”. That, he said was “more than a promise”. She made sacrifices to duty, he said, which didn’t waver “through times of change and progress… joy and celebration… through times of sadness and loss”.
He also remembered his father — Prince Philip, who died at 99 last year — while saying goodbye: “And 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. 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’.”
During the address, he also spoke about his own life now changing. “It will no longer be possible for me to give so much of my time and energies to the charities and issues for which I care so deeply. But I know this important work will go on in the trusted hands of others.”
“I count on the loving help of my darling wife Camilla,” he said, “In recognition of her own loyal public service since our marriage 17 years ago, she becomes my Queen Consort.”
“I know she will bring to the demands of her new role the steadfast devotion to duty on which I have come to rely so much.”
Of his two sons, he first spoke of his heir, Prince William, and his wife Kate Middleton, and declared them Prince and Princess of Wales, besides their other titles. “With Catherine [Kate’s full name] beside him… I know (Prince William will) continue to inspire and lead our national conversations, helping to bring the marginal to the centre ground where vital help can be given,” he said.
About younger son William and his wife, Meghan Markle, he said, “I express my love for Prince Harry and Meghan as they continue to build their lives overseas.” The couple left the royal household two years ago to live in Canada, a move that was seen as a scandal by many and continues to drive tabloid coverage in the UK.