Saturday January 28th, 2023 6:59PM

King Charles III, in first address, vows `lifelong service'

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

LONDON (AP) — King Charles III vowed in his first speech as monarch Friday to carry on Queen Elizabeth II's “lifelong service” with his own modernizing stamp, as Britain entered an uncertain new age under a new sovereign. Around the world, the queen's exceptional reign was commemorated, celebrated and debated.

Charles, who spent much of his 73 years preparing for the role of king, addressed a nation grieving the only British monarch most people alive today had ever known. He takes the throne in an era of unease for both his country and the monarchy itself.

He spoke of his “profound sorrow” over the death of his mother, calling her “an inspiration and example to me and to all my family.”

“That promise of lifelong service I renew to all today,” he said in the 9 1/2-minute address, recorded earlier in the day and delivered with a framed photo of the queen on a desk in front of him.

“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.

The king's speech was broadcast on television and streamed at St. Paul’s Cathedral, where some 2,000 people attended a service of remembrance for the queen. They included Prime Minister Liz Truss and officials in her government, along with hundreds of members of the public who lined up for tickets.

As the country began a 10-day mourning period, people around the globe gathered at British embassies to pay homage to the queen, who died Thursday at Balmoral Castle in Scotland after an unprecedented 70 years on the throne.

In London and at military sites across the United Kingdom, cannons fired 96 shots in an elaborate, 16-minute salute marking each year of the queen’s life.

The widespread admiration for Elizabeth in Britain and across its former colonies was occasionally mixed with scorn for the institution and the imperial history she symbolized.

Charles, who became the monarch immediately upon his mother’s death, will be formally proclaimed king at a ceremony on Saturday. He is expected to tour the United Kingdom in the coming days.

The queen’s coffin will be brought to London, where she will lie in state before a funeral at Westminster Abbey, expected around Sept. 19.

On the king's first full day of duties, Charles left Balmoral and flew to London for a meeting with Truss, appointed by the queen just two days before her death.

He arrived at Buckingham Palace, the monarch's London home, for the first time as sovereign, emerging from the official state Bentley limousine alongside Camilla, the queen consort, to shouts from the crowd of “Well done, Charlie!” and the singing of the national anthem, now called “God Save the King.” One woman gave him a kiss on the cheek.

Under intense scrutiny and pressure to show he can be both caring and regal, Charles walked slowly past flowers heaped at the palace gates for his mother. The mood was both grieving and celebratory.

The seismic change of monarch comes at a time when many Britons are facing an energy crisis, the soaring cost of living, the war in Ukraine and the fallout from Brexit.

In his speech, Charles looked to both the past — noting his mother's unwavering “dedication and devotion as sovereign” — and the future, seeking to strike a reassuring note of constancy while signaling that his will be a 21st-century monarchy.

He reflected on how the country had changed dramatically during the queen's reign into a society “of many cultures and many faiths," and pledged to serve people in Britain and the 14 other countries where he is king “whatever may be your background or beliefs.”

The lifelong environmentalist said he was confident work on “the issues for which I care so deeply” would “go on in the trusted hands of others.”

He spoke of his son Prince William, now heir to the throne and formally given the title that Charles long held, Prince of Wales. William and his wife, Catherine, Princess of Wales, will "continue to inspire and lead our national conversations, helping to bring the marginal to the center ground where vital help can be given,” Charles said, referring to the couple's work on homelessness, mental health and other issues.

He also struck a note of reconciliation after a raw family rift when he said, “I want also to express my love for Harry and Meghan as they continue to build their lives overseas."

Prince Harry and wife Meghan have been in a tense relationship with the royal family since they stepped away from their official duties and left the country in 2020, citing what they said were the unbearable intrusions and racist attitudes of the British media toward the biracial American actress.

As the second Elizabethan Age came to a close, throngs of people arrived all day to grieve together and lay flowers outside the gates of Buckingham Palace and other royal residences.

Finance worker Giles Cudmore said the queen had “just been a constant through everything, everything good and bad.”

At Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh, mourner April Hamilton stood with her young daughter, struggling to hold back tears.

“It’s just such a momentous change that is going to happen,” she said. “I’m trying to hold it together today.”

Many sporting and cultural events were canceled as a mark of respect, and some businesses — including Selfridges department store and the Legoland amusement park — shut their doors. The Bank of England postponed its meeting by a week.

Elizabeth was Britain’s longest-reigning monarch and a symbol of constancy in a turbulent era that saw the decline of the British empire and upheaval in her family, including the messy divorce of Prince Charles and Princess Diana.

The public’s affection for the queen had helped sustain support for the monarchy amid complaints in some quarters that it had outlived its usefulness. But Charles does not command that kind of popularity.

“Charles can never replace her, you know," said 31-year-old Londoner Mariam Sherwani.

Like many, she referred to Elizabeth as a grandmother figure. Others compared her to their mothers, or great-grandmothers.

But around the world, her passing revealed conflicting emotions about the nation and institutions she represented.

In Ireland, some soccer fans cheered.

For some, Elizabeth was a queen whose coronation glittered with shards of a stunning 3,106-carat diamond pulled from grim southern African mines, a monarch who inherited an empire they resented. Across Africa, nations rejected British rule and chose independence in her first decade on the throne.

In India, once the “jewel in the crown” of the British empire, entrepreneur Dhiren Singh described his own personal sadness at her death, but added: “I do not think we have any place for kings and queens in today’s world.”


Associated Press writer Cara Anna in Nairobi, Kenya, and AP journalists from around the world contributed to this report.


Follow AP coverage of Queen Elizabeth II at

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP World News, AP Entertainment, APOnline Celebrity News
© Copyright 2023
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
King Charles III, in first address, vows `lifelong service'
King Charles III says he feels “profound sorrow” over the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, and vows to carry on her “lifelong service” to the nation
1:08PM ( 9 minutes ago )
Noem sought to avoid ethics hearing, seal off records
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem asked a state ethics board to dismiss a complaint against her without a public hearing and to seal off certain records
1:01PM ( 16 minutes ago )
Ukraine players, amid war, drawing inspiration from homeland
Ukraine’s national basketball team gathered this summer tasked with lifting the spirits of those back home in a war-torn country
12:56PM ( 21 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
'A servant queen': World pays tribute to Queen Elizabeth II
Across the globe, the death of Queen Elizabeth II has prompted reflections on the historic sweep of her reign and how she succeeded in presiding over the end of Britain’s colonial empire and embracing the independence of her former dominions
12:11PM ( 1 hour ago )
Board puts abortion rights question on Michigan fall ballot
A Michigan election board has placed an abortion-rights proposal on the fall ballot
12:03PM ( 1 hour ago )
Ukraine claws back some territory; nuclear plant in peril
Ukrainian forces are claiming new success in their counteroffensive against Russian forces in the country’s east, taking control of a sizeable village and pushing toward an important transport junction
12:01PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
Judge tosses Trump's Russia probe suit against Clinton, FBI
A federal judge in Florida has dismissed Donald Trump’s lawsuit against 2016 Democratic rival Hillary Clinton and former top FBI officials, rejecting the former president’s claims that they and others acted in concert to concoct the Russia investigation that shadowed much of his administration
10:10AM ( 3 hours ago )
UN chief asks world for 'massive' help in flood-hit Pakistan
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has appealed to the world for “massive" help for cash-strapped Pakistan after arriving in the country to see the devastation from months of deadly floods
10:09AM ( 3 hours ago )
Wall Street opens broadly higher and is set for weekly gains
Stocks are opening broadly higher on Wall Street, keeping the S&P 500 on track to break a three-week losing streak
9:48AM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Online National News
Noem sought to avoid ethics hearing, seal off records
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem asked a state ethics board to dismiss a complaint against her without a public hearing and to seal off certain records
1:01PM ( 17 minutes ago )
Live updates: Charles back in London as king; queen mourned
The death of the British monarch Queen Elizabeth II was frontpage news in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, biggest economy and former British colony
12:58PM ( 20 minutes ago )
Ukraine players, amid war, drawing inspiration from homeland
Ukraine’s national basketball team gathered this summer tasked with lifting the spirits of those back home in a war-torn country
12:56PM ( 22 minutes ago )
From Eisenhower to Biden, queen met every US president but 1
She went horseback riding with Ronald Reagan
12:55PM ( 23 minutes ago )
Ga State welcomes Power Five team to the former Turner Field
When Georgia State moved into the ballpark formerly known as Turner Field, it was hoping for a day such as this
12:42PM ( 36 minutes ago )