King Charles Honors "Darling Mama" Queen Elizabeth in First Speech After Her Death

·4 min read
King Charles Honors "Darling Mama" Queen Elizabeth in First Speech After Her Death

In his first speech as sovereign, King Charles III paid a heartfelt tribute to his late mother, his "darling mama," Queen Elizabeth II.

Appearing in a pre-recorded address broadcast around the world and streamed online on Sept. 9, the new British monarch praised her lifelong commitment to Royal service, pledged to continue her work in the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth of Nations, and spoke about his personal relationship with her.

"To my darling Mama [pronounced "Mama")], as you begin your last great journey to join my dear late Papa, I want simply to say this: Thank you," Charles said, sitting at a desk where a framed portrait of the queen rested. "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 73-year-old, the eldest of the queen's four children, became king upon her passing at age 96 on Sept. 8 at her home in Balmoral Castle, Scotland.

Queen Elizabeth II Celebrated Across the World as Mourners Pay Tribute

Britain's longest-reigning monarch, who ascended to the throne 70 years ago, was preceded in death by her husband, Prince Philip, who passed away at age 99 in 2021.

Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles
Tim Graham Picture Library/Getty Images

"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 can owe to their mother; for her love, affection, guidance, understanding and example," Charles said in his speech. "Queen Elizabeth was a life well lived; a promise with destiny kept and she is mourned most deeply in her passing. That promise of lifelong service I renew to you all today."

Charles continued, "In her life of service we saw that abiding love of tradition, together with that fearless embrace of progress, which make us great as Nations. 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 always to see the best in people. I pay tribute to my Mother's memory and I honor her life of service."

The king noted that his life "will of course change as I take up my new responsibilities," adding, "It will no longer be possible for me to give so much of my time and energies to the charities and issues for which I care so deeply. But I know this important work will go on in the trusted hands of others."

Charles, who became heir to the throne at age 3 after his mother became queen and was the Britain's longest-ever king-in-waiting prior to her death, also praised his "darling wife," Camilla, who now becomes Queen Consort. He said, "I know she will bring to the demands of her new role the steadfast devotion to duty on which I have come to rely so much."

Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles, 1952
Lisa Sheridan/Studio Lisa/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Charles also confirmed that his eldest son and heir, Prince William, would assume his former title of Prince of Wales, while daughter-in-law Catherine "Kate" Middleton would become the new Princess of Wales, a title formerly held by the King's late ex-wife, Princess Diana.

"With Catherine beside him, our new Prince and Princess of Wales will, I know, continue to inspire and lead our national conversations," Charles said, "helping to bring the marginal to the center ground where vital help can be given."

The king also mentioned his younger son Prince Harry, and his wife, Meghan Markle, who left their roles as senior royals in 2020 and moved to California, but retained their titles, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Charles said in his speech, "I want also to express my love for Harry and Meghan as they continue to build their lives overseas."

King Charles, Prince Charles
Jane Barlow-WPA Pool/Getty Images

The queen is set to be honored with a state funeral later this month. "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," Charles said in his speech. "In our sorrow, let us remember and draw strength from the light of her example."

Following the queen's death, scores of people flocked to Buckingham Palace, her historic London home, to leave flowers and other gifts. Charles and Camilla greeted the mourners hours before his speech aired. Following its release, a prayer service for the queen was held at St. Paul's Cathedral in London.

"On behalf of all my family, I can only offer the most sincere and heartfelt thanks for your condolences and support," the king said in his speech. "They mean more to me than I can ever possibly express."

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