King Charles III paid tribute to his mother Queen Elizabeth II and vowed to serve the British people with “loyalty, respect, and love” in his first televised speech as monarch.

“I speak to you today with feelings of profound sorrow. Throughout her life, Her Majesty the Queen, my beloved my mother was an inspiration and example to me and my family,” he began the speech. “And we owe her the most heartfelt debt any family could owe to their mother for her love, affection, guidance, understanding, and example.”

He continued: “Queen Elizabeth was a life well lived, a promise that destiny kept. And she is mourned most deeply in her passing. That promise of lifelong service I renew to you all today.”

Later during the speech, King Charles spoke directly about Prince William, who has now succeeded his father as the Duke of Cornwall. The monarch also dedicated a short piece of his speech to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

“I express my love for Prince Harry and Meghan as they continue to build their lives overseas,” he said.

The message was prerecorded in the Blue Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace earlier Friday afternoon.

The new King arrived in London from Balmoral early Friday morning alongside Camilla, now Queen Consort. He immediately greeted crowds gathered outside Buckingham Palace upon his arrival and the couple was met with cheers and cries of “God Save the King”.

Charles was with his mother, alongside his sister Princess Anne when the monarch died on Thursday afternoon. And he has already undertaken his first constitutional duties as monarch after holding a meeting with British Prime Minister Liz Truss at Buckingham Palace. Earlier in the day, the British Parliament gathered for an impromptu session where MPs paid tribute to Queen Elizabeth II. Speaking at the dispatch box, Truss told MPs that the Queen was “one of the greatest leaders the world has ever known.”

Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the late Queen was “as radiant, knowledgeable and fascinated by politics as ever I can remember and as wise in her advice as anyone I know, if not wiser.”

Britain has officially entered 10 days of mourning, ahead of a state funeral held at Westminster Abbey. The Queen’s coffin is expected to lie in state for three days before the ceremony and thousands of mourners will line up at Westminster Hall to pay respects.

This is all part of the aforementioned Operation London Bridge (aka ‘London Bridge Is Down’) — a set of detailed and intricate protocols impacting everyone from government ministers to broadcasters, dictating how to react in the event of the Queen’s passing.

While Charles technically became King the moment his mother died, he will not be formally proclaimed the new monarch until Saturday following a meeting of The Accession Council, a group made up of senior civil servants and officials.

More follows. 

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