The 73-year-old royal addressed the nation following the death of his mother.
King Charles III publicly addressed the nation and the world following the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II. The 73-year-old former Prince of Wales, who will officially be proclaimed as the new sovereign king on Saturday, spoke about his late mother’s historic legacy in a public address on Friday evening in a pre-recorded message from Buckingham Palace.
In the speech, Charles acknowledged the "profound sorrow" both he and his family and the world were feeling in the wake of the queen's death. He also vowed as king to "endeavor to serve you with loyalty, respect and love as I have throughout my life." On a personal note, he proudly announced that his eldest son, Prince William, and daughter-in-law, Kate Middleton, would be the new Prince and Princess of Wales, titles he and the late Princess Diana previously held. He also referenced his younger son, Prince Harry, who stepped down from royal life in 2021, saying, "I want to also express my love for Harry and Meghan as they continue to build their lives overseas."
Read King Charles III's speech in full:
I speak to you today with feelings of profound sorrow.
Throughout her life, Her Majesty the queen, my beloved mother was an inspiration and example to me and to all my family, and we owe her the most heartfelt debt any family could owe to their mother for her love, affection, guidance, understanding and example.
Queen Elizabeth's was a life well lived, a promise of destiny kept and she is mourned most deeply in her passing. That promise of lifelong service, I renew to all today.
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 is head of state in the Commonwealth and across the world, a deep sense of gratitude for the more than 70 years in which my mother as queen served the people of so many nations.
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 was more than a promise, it was a profound personal commitment, which defined her whole life. She made sacrifices for duty. Her dedication and devotion for sovereign, never wavered through times of change and progress, through times of joy and celebration, and through times of sadness and loss.
In her life of service, we saw that abiding love of tradition along with that fearless embrace of progress, which makes us great as a nation. 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, humor and an unerring ability to always see the best in people.
I pay tribute to my mother's memory and I honor her life of service. I know that her death brings great sadness to so many of you. And I share that sense of loss beyond measure with you all.
When the queen came to the throne, Britain and the world was still coping with the privations and aftermath of the second World War and still living with the conventions of earlier times.
In the course of the last 70 years, we have seen our society become one of many cultures and many faiths. The institutions of the state have changed in turn, but through all changes and challenges, our nation and the wider family of realms of whose talents, traditions and achievements I'm so inexpressibly proud of, have prospered and flourished. Our values have remained and must remain constant.
The role and the duties of monarchy also remain, as does the sovereign's particular relationship and responsibility toward the Church of England, the church in which my own faith is so deeply rooted. In that faith, and the values it inspires, I've been brought up to cherish a sense of duties to others and to hold in the greatest respect, the precious traditions, freedoms and responsibilities of our unique history and our system of Parliamentary government.
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. And wherever you may live in the United Kingdom or in the realms or territories across the world and whatever may be your background or beliefs, I shall endeavor to serve you with loyalty, respect and love as I have throughout my life.
My life will, of course, change as I take up my new responsibilities. It will no longer be possible for me to give so much of my time and energies to the charities and issues to which I care so deeply, but I know this important work will go on in the trusted hands of others.
This is also a time of change for my family. I count on the loving help of my darling wife, Camilla, 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 of which I have come to rely so much.
As my heir, William now assumes the Scottish titles which have meant so much to me. He succeeds me as Duke of Cornwall and takes on the responsibilities to 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've been so proud to bear. 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 center ground where vital help can be given.
I want to also express my love for Harry and Meghan as they continue to build their lives overseas.
In a little over a week's time, we will come together as a nation, as a Commonwealth, and indeed a global community 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 my most sincere and heartfelt thanks for your condolences and support. They mean more to me than I can ever possibly express. And to my darling, Mama to join my 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 send thee to thy rest.'
The speech came after Charles left Balmoral Castle in Scotland, traveling to London to greet mourners outside of Buckingham Palace. He also met with British Prime Minister Liz Truss at Buckingham Palace for the first time as king. ET previously confirmed that Charles and his wife, Camilla, who is now the Queen Consort, were two of just three members of the royal family to see the queen before she died. Her Majesty’s death was confirmed by Buckingham Palace on Sept. 8. She was 96.
"The death of my beloved Mother, Her Majesty The Queen, is a moment of the greatest sadness for me and all members of my family," Charles said in a statement on Thursday after the news was announced. "We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished Sovereign and a much-loved Mother. I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world."
Prior to his speech on Friday, King Charles declared a period of royal mourning, which will last until seven days after the queen's yet-to-be-announced funeral date. Flags on royal residences are flying at half-mast and there was a gun salute at two locations in London on Friday, one round fired for each year of the queen's reign.
The queen celebrated her Platinum Jubilee in June 2022, marking 70 years on the throne. The honor made her the first monarch in the U.K. to celebrate the occasion. Her Majesty succeeded to the throne at the age of 25 in 1952, following the death of her father, King George VI. She held the title until her death.
For updates on Queen Elizabeth's death, check out ET's ongoing coverage here.