King Charles III on his mother’s death: “It’s the moment I’ve been dreading”

King Charles III told British Prime Minister Liz Truss Friday that the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, was a moment he’s been “dreading” but said he had to “keep everything going.”

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.

King Charles III
Britain’s King Charles looks on outside Buckingham Palace, following the passing of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth, in London, September 9, 2022.

TOBY MELVILLE / REUTERS


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.

“It has been so touching. … All those people, come to give their condolences,” he told Truss during their meeting.

“It’s the moment I’ve been dreading, as I know a lot of people have,” he added, referring to his mother’s death. “But you try and keep everything going.”

Britain's King Charles meets with Prime Minster Liz Truss
Britain’s King Charles III during his first audience with Prime Minister Liz Truss at Buckingham Palace in London, on Sept. 9, 2022, following the death of Queen Elizabeth II the day before.

POOL / REUTERS


Charles, who spent much of his 73 years preparing for the role of king, also 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.

Charles said that he had given his heir, William, his former title of Prince of Wales, and expressed his support for his younger son Harry and his wife Meghan.

The new king concluded his speech with more warm words for his departed mother, Queen Elizabeth II.

“To my darling mama, as you begin your last great journey to join my late papa, I must say only 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 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 Truss and officials in her government, along with hundreds of members of the public who lined up for tickets.

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