King Charles III has described a sense of “loss, without measure” at the passing of “my darling mama” in his first address in which he promised to devote the rest of his life to serving with “loyalty, respect and love”.
The new king spoke solemnly and personally about his family’s sorrow at Queen Elizabeth’s death and expressed gratitude for her 70 years serving the people of many nations in a “life well-lived”.
King Charles vowed to continue the late Queen’s “unswerving devotion” to duty as he takes on the role of monarch at the age of 73 and said his and his family’s lives would change.
He spoke to the nation and Commonwealth from Buckingham Palace on Friday evening (local time).
As he takes to the throne, the King named his son and heir William and daughter-in-law Catherine as the new Prince and Princess of Wales, taking on Charles’s former title which he held for more than 50 years.
Charles, who became Prince of Wales in 1958, automatically became king on the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth, on Thursday (local time).
“As my Heir, William now assumes the Scottish titles which have meant so much to me,” said King Charles.
“He succeeds me as Duke of Cornwall and takes on the responsibilities for the Duchy of Cornwall which I have undertaken for more than five decades.
“Today, I am proud to create him Prince of Wales, Tywysog Cymru, the country whose title I have been so greatly privileged to bear during so much of my life and duty.
“With Catherine beside him, our new Prince and Princess of Wales will, I know, continue to inspire and lead our national conversations, helping to bring the marginal to the centre ground where vital help can be given.”
The Prince and Princess of Wales’s Twitter account was changed to reflect their new titles.
King Charles said his “darling wife Camilla” now becomes his Queen Consort “in recognition of her own loyal public service since our marriage seventeen years ago”.
King Charles also expressed his love for son Harry and daughter-in-law Meghan “as they continue to build their lives overseas”.
Earlier, King Charles paused outside Buckingham Palace to share the grief of mourners after flying back to London from Scotland where the Queen died at home in Balmoral Castle on Thursday (local time).
The King shook hands with dozens of well-wishers and looked at floral tributes for at least ten minutes.
He met UK Prime Minister Liz Truss, a video of which was circulated, and told the new British leader his mother’s passing was “the moment I’ve been dreading”.
Later, in his first televised words as sovereign, King Charles sat and addressed the camera from behind a table on which was placed a portrait of his smiling mother.
King Charles said the pledge young Elizabeth made in 1947 on her 21st birthday was “more than a promise” but a “profound personal commitment which defined her whole life”.
“She made sacrifices for duty. Her dedication and devotion as Sovereign never waivered, through times of change and progress, through times of joy and celebration, and through times of sadness and loss,” he said.
“In her life of service we saw that abiding love of tradition, together with that fearless embrace of progress, which make us great as Nations.
“The affection, admiration and respect she inspired became 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.”
King Charles solemnly pledged himself to continue the Queen’s example of unswerving devotion.
“Queen Elizabeth was a life well-lived; a promise with destiny kept and she is mourned most deeply in her passing. That promise of lifelong service I renew to you all today,” he said.
“And wherever you may live in the United Kingdom, or in the Realms and territories across the world, and whatever may be your background or beliefs, I shall endeavour to serve you with loyalty, respect and love, as I have throughout my life,” he said.
King Charles said the nation would come together in little over a week’s time “to lay my beloved mother to rest”.
“In our sorrow, let us remember and draw strength from the light of her example. On behalf of all my family, I can only offer the most sincere and heartfelt thanks for your condolences and support. They mean more to me than I can ever possibly express.”
The King ended his address by saying: “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’.”
The audio of King Charles’s address was also played at St Paul’s Cathedral in London where a service of prayer and reflection was taking place, with Prime Minister Liz Truss among the congregation.
In Australia, Governor-General David Hurley, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and others will lay wreaths at Parliament House on Saturday.
On Sunday, a Proclamation of the King ceremony will be held outside Parliament House in Canberra, followed by a 21-gun salute.
Late Friday, Mr Hurley made a nationally televised address in Australia to reflect on the life and death of Queen Elizabeth II.
Mr Hurley said while inevitable, news of her passing had shocked Australians and prompted an outpouring of affection.
He spoke of a kind and caring Queen who took a genuine interest in the lives of Australians.
When he and his wife first spoke with the Queen after the death of her husband Prince Philip, her first question was about the welfare of Western Australians reeling from the devastation of a tropical cyclone.
“She was mourning the death of her husband of 73 years yet her first question was to know how Australians in need were faring,” Mr Hurley said.
“The care and compassion was sincere.”
Mr Hurley said the Queen had left a legacy that few in history had been able to match.
“We mourn her passing, we are grateful that we have witnessed, and benefited from, her remarkable life,” he said.
“May she rest in peace.”
Mr Hurley and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will fly to London on Thursday to attend the Queen’s funeral.