Grieving son | 

Britain’s new king Charles thanks his ‘darling mama’ and pledges to follow her lead

Charles III spoke movingly of his late mother’s “love, affection, guidance, understanding and example”

Throne: King Charles III delivers his address from Buckingham Palace yesterday. Photo: PA© REUTERS

Britain’s new king Charles has paid a deeply personal tribute to his “darling Mama” as she begins her “last great journey”, pledging, as she did, to devote the rest of his life to service.

In his first speech as sovereign, Charles III spoke movingly of his late mother’s “love, affection, guidance, understanding and example”, describing a “sense of loss, beyond measure” felt by all.

“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,” he said.

Addressing his “darling Mama”, who died on Thursday at the age of 96, he fought to contain his emotions as he said: “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.”

He announced that Prince William and Kate were now Prince and Princess of Wales, thanked his “darling wife, Camilla”, describing her for the first time as “my Queen Consort”, and also expressed his love for Prince Harry and Meghan.

Today, at 10am, he will be formally proclaimed monarch at an Accession Council in the State Apartments of St James’s Palace.

Buckingham Palace has confirmed the king’s wish that the royal family observe seven days of mourning, following his mother’s funeral, which is expected to be held on Monday September 19.

Yesterday, it was confirmed that Joe Biden, the US president, would be among those attending what is expected to be one of the largest gatherings of world leaders in history.

Earlier in the day, the king greeted well-wishers outside Buckingham Palace who offered their condolences but also cheered his arrival.

Then, at 4pm, he had his first meeting with the Prime Minister Liz Truss at the palace.

The king told the prime minister he had been “dreading” his mother’s death.

In a clip released of the meeting he said: “It’s the moment I’ve been dreading, as I know a lot of people have, but we try to keep everything going.”

Queen Elizabeth’s death had been marked by a 96-gun salute from the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery at Hyde Park at 1pm, in unison with salutes across the UK.

Guidance from the British cabinet office issued yesterday stated that there was “no obligation” for events or sporting fixtures to be cancelled or for entertainment venues to be closed, but recommended doing so on the day of the state funeral “as a mark of respect”.

The Football Association announced that all English fixtures this weekend would be postponed.

Rugby matches will go ahead, with a minute’s silence and black armbands.

The king’s speech was recorded in the Blue Drawing Room of Buckingham Palace, where Queen Elizabeth recorded some of her Christmas messages.

It formed a blueprint for Charles’s reign to come, confirming his “particular relationship and responsibility towards the Church of England” as well as his decision to step back from his own campaigning causes and charities as his life inevitably changes.

In the nine-and-a-half-minute and nearly 1,000-word speech, he announced new titles for the former Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who became the Prince and Princess of Wales as of 6pm.

He expressed, too, his “love for Harry and Meghan as they continue to build their lives overseas”.

Of his wife, who became Queen Consort at the moment he ascended the throne, in accordance with Queen Elizabeth’s wishes, he said he could “count on [her] loving help”.

The words were written to help unify and console a grieving nation following the death of Queen Elizabeth at Balmoral.

Wearing black mourning clothes, and appearing occasionally emotional as he spoke directly to camera for a broadcast beamed into homes around the country and to the St Paul’s service, the new king called the “affection, admiration and respect she inspired” the “hallmark of her reign”.

“And, as every member of my family can testify, she combined these qualities with warmth, humour and an unerring ability always to see the best in people,” he said.

He ended with a quote from Hamlet: “May ‘flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.’”

On the desk at Buckingham Palace, now his, was a vase featuring three corgis, synonymous with the late queen.

It contained a posy of sweet peas mixed with rosemary, representing remembrance.

The late queen’s coffin remains at Balmoral, before beginning the journey to London and Windsor via Edinburgh tomorrow. (© Telegraph Media Group Ltd 2022)

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