Britons were greeted with the sight of their king on his throne on Monday (Sept. 12) as King Charles III sat on the throne for the first time since the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II. King Charles, 73, and his wife, Camila, Queen Consort, met with 900 members of the legislative body, as well as members of the House of Lords, all of which expressed their condolences following the queen’s death on Sept. 8. Charles said he was “deeply grateful” for the support. He also pledged support for the country’s constitutional monarch, per PEOPLE.
“I cannot help but feel the weight of history, which surrounds us,” said King Charles. “While very young, her late Majesty pledged herself to serve her country and her people and to maintain the precious principles of constitutional government which lie at the heart of our nation,” the new monarch said. “This vow, she kept with unsurpassed devotion. She set an example of selfless duty which with God’s help and your counsels I am resolved faithfully to follow.”
King Charles was reportedly emotional as England’s national anthem, “God Save The King,” was sung in his presence for the first time. From here, King Charles will undertake a four-nation mourning tour, marking the next part of the Queen’s journey towards her final resting place in Windsor Castle.
King Charles mourned his mother in his first speech since her passing at age 96. “Throughout her life, Her Majesty, the Queen, my beloved mother was an inspiration to all my family, and we owe her the most heartfelt debt any family can owe to their mother for her love, affection, guidance, understanding, and example,” he said. “Queen Elizabeth’s was a life well lived, a promise with Destiny kept, and she is mourned most deeply in her passing,”
“To my darling mama, as you begin your last great journey to join my dear lady. I want simply to say this: thank you,” he said at the end of his first address to the British public as their ruler. “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.”
During the speech, Charles expressed his for both Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle as they “continue to build their lives overseas. He also christened Prince William, and his wife Kate Middleton, the new Prince and Princess of Wales. “I know [William will] continue to inspire and lead our national conversations, helping to bring the marginal to the center ground where vital help can be given,” said Charles.