King Charles III, in first address, vows ‘lifelong service’

Britain_Queen_65283 Mourners gather outside Buckingham Palace to pay their respect the Queen in London, Friday, Sept. 9, 2022. Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's longest-reigning monarch and a rock of stability across much of a turbulent century, died Thursday Sept. 8, 2022, after 70 years on the throne. She was 96.
Britain_Queen_69465 Mourners gather outside Buckingham Palace in London, Friday, Sept. 9, 2022. Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's longest-reigning monarch and a rock of stability across much of a turbulent century, died Thursday Sept. 8, 2022, after 70 years on the throne. She was 96.
Britain_Queen_10858 The Royal Artillery leaves after firing a gun salute to mark the Queen's death in Hyde Park in London, Friday, Sept. 9, 2022. Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's longest-reigning monarch and a rock of stability across much of a turbulent century, died Thursday Sept. 8, 2022, after 70 years on the throne. She was 96.
Britain_Queen_09391 Flowers are left at the gates as mourners gather outside Buckingham Palace in London, Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022. Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's longest-reigning monarch and a rock of stability across much of a turbulent century, died Thursday Sept. 8, 2022, after 70 years on the throne. She was 96.
Kenya_Britain_Queen_44184 A vendor reads a newspaper showing coverage of the death of Queen Elizabeth II, in downtown Nairobi, Kenya Friday, Sept. 9, 2022. Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's longest-reigning monarch and a rock of stability across much of a turbulent century, died Thursday after 70 years on the throne. She was 96.
Britain_Queen_46568 A man looks at framed portraits of Queen Elizabeth II in a shop window near Windsor Castle in Windsor, England, Friday, Sept. 9, 2022. Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's longest-reigning monarch and a rock of stability across much of a turbulent century, died Thursday after 70 years on the throne. She was 96.
Britain_Queen_03341 The Royal Artillery fires a gun salute to mark the Queen's death in Hyde Park in London, Friday, Sept. 9, 2022. Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's longest-reigning monarch and a rock of stability across much of a turbulent century, died Thursday Sept. 8, 2022, after 70 years on the throne. She was 96.
Britain_Queen_42941 Flowers and messages of condolence are laid underneath a tree, planted by Queen Elizabeth II for the Golden Jubilee, following the death of Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday, at the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas, Friday, Sept. 9, 2022. Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's longest-reigning monarch and a rock of stability across much of a turbulent century, died Thursday at the age of 96 after 70 years on the throne.
Britain_Queen_39980 Floral tributes are laid at the gates of Balmoral in Scotland, Friday, Sept. 9, 2022 to mark the death of Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday.
Britain_Queen_39915 A man looks at a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II in a shop window near Windsor Castle in Windsor, England, Friday, Sept. 9, 2022. Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's longest-reigning monarch and a rock of stability across much of a turbulent century, died Thursday after 70 years on the throne. She was 96.
Britain_Queen_82202 A flag flaps in the wind at half staff on Balmoral Castle in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, Friday, Sept. 9, 2022. Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's longest-reigning monarch and a rock of stability across much of a turbulent century, died Thursday after 70 years on the throne. She was 96.
Britain_Queen_Elizabeth_II_73053 FILE - In this Nov. 6, 2007 file photo Britain's Queen Elizabeth II leaves Buckingham Palace in the State Coach, to attend the State opening of Parliament in London. Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch and a rock of stability across much of a turbulent century, has died. She was 96. Buckingham Palace made the announcement in a statement on Thursday Sept. 8, 2022.
Britain_Queen_Elizabeth_II_12418 FILE - In this March 12, 2018 file photo Britain's Queen Elizabeth II leaves after attending the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey in London. Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch and a rock of stability across much of a turbulent century, has died. She was 96. Buckingham Palace made the announcement in a statement on Thursday Sept. 8, 2022.
Britain_Queen_47292 Mourners gather to pay their respects at Windsor Castle, following Thursday's death of Queen Elizabeth II, Friday Sept. 9, 2022.
Britain_Queen_32514 Wardens stand outside the gates of Windsor Castle in Windsor, England, Friday, Sept. 9, 2022. Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's longest-reigning monarch and a rock of stability across much of a turbulent century, died Thursday after 70 years on the throne. She was 96.
Britain_Queen_24133 Boquet's of flowers are left on the gate at Buckingham Palace, London, following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, Friday Sept. 9, 2022. The country began a 10-day mourning period Friday, with bells tolling around Britain and 96 gun salutes planned in London – one for each year of the queen’s long life. People around the globe gathered at British embassies to pay homage to the queen, who died Thursday in Balmoral Castle in Scotland.
Britain_Queen_Elizabeth_II_28346 FILE - Britain's Queen Elizabeth II silhouetted during welcoming ceremonies at the airport in Barbados around March 8, 1989. Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch and a rock of stability across much of a turbulent century, has died. She was 96. Buckingham Palace made the announcement in a statement on Thursday Sept. 8, 2022.
Britain_Queen_37499 A woman takes a picture after the Service of Prayer and Reflection, following the passing of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, at St Paul's Cathedral in London, Friday Sept. 9, 2022.
APTOPIX_Britain_Royals_66962 Britain's King Charles III during his first audience with Prime Minister Liz Truss at Buckingham Palace, London, Friday, Sept. 9, 2022 following the death of Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday.
Britain_Royals_94035 Britain's King Charles III during his first audience with Prime Minister Liz Truss at Buckingham Palace, London, Friday, Sept. 9, 2022 following the death of Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday.
APTOPIX_Britain_Queen_30669 People watch the televised speech of the new King Charles III inside a pub in London, Friday, Sept. 9, 2022. 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. Charles is making his first address to the nation as monarch Friday.
Britain_Queen_91024 People passing a picture of Queen Elizabeth, displayed at a house at a shopping street in London, Friday, Sept. 9, 2022. Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's longest-reigning monarch and a rock of stability across much of a turbulent century, died Thursday Sept. 8, 2022, after 70 years on the throne. She was 96.
Britain_Queen_73167 People passing a picture of Queen Elizabeth, displayed at a subway station in London, Friday, Sept. 9, 2022. Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's longest-reigning monarch and a rock of stability across much of a turbulent century, died Thursday Sept. 8, 2022, after 70 years on the throne. She was 96.
Raindrops are seen on a photograph left at the gates of Buckingham Palace by a mourner in London, Friday, Sept. 9, 2022. Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's longest-reigning monarch and a rock of stability across much of a turbulent century, died Thursday Sept. 8, 2022, after 70 years on the throne. She was 96.
People gather outside Buckingham Palace in London, Friday, Sept. 9, 2022. Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's longest-reigning monarch and a rock of stability across much of a turbulent century, died Thursday Sept. 8, 2022, after 70 years on the throne. She was 96.
Britain_Queen_40856 Raindrops are seen on a photograph left at the gates of Buckingham Palace by a mourner in London, Friday, Sept. 9, 2022. Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's longest-reigning monarch and a rock of stability across much of a turbulent century, died Thursday Sept. 8, 2022, after 70 years on the throne. She was 96.
Britain_Queen_88285 Mourners lay flowers outside Buckingham Palace in London, Friday, Sept. 9, 2022. Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's longest-reigning monarch and a rock of stability across much of a turbulent century, died Thursday Sept. 8, 2022, after 70 years on the throne. She was 96.
A dog owner pays her respect at the gates of Buckingham Palace in London, Friday, Sept. 9, 2022. Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's longest-reigning monarch and a rock of stability across much of a turbulent century, died Thursday Sept. 8, 2022, after 70 years on the throne. She was 96.
The European Union flag is at half staff as a double rainbow forms over the European Council building in Brussels, Friday, Sept. 9, 2022. Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's longest-reigning monarch and a rock of stability across much of a turbulent century, died Thursday after 70 years on the throne. She was 96.
Britain_Queen_97016 Flowers are seen at the gates of Buckingham Palace in London, Friday, Sept. 9, 2022. Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's longest-reigning monarch and a rock of stability across much of a turbulent century, died Thursday Sept. 8, 2022, after 70 years on the throne. She was 96.
The Sri Lankan national flag flies at half-mast following the passing of Queen Elizabeth II in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Friday, Sept. 9, 2022. Britain's longest-reigning monarch and a rock of stability across much of a turbulent century, died Thursday Sept. 8, 2022, after 70 years on the throne. She was 96.
Newspapers fronting pictures of Queen Elizabeth II are displayed on a newsstand following her passing, in Jakarta, Indonesia, Friday, Sept. 9, 2022. Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's longest-reigning monarch, died Thursday after 70 years on the throne. She was 96.
Britain_Queen_82752 Newspapers devoted to the death of Queen Elizabeth II are seen in Manchester, England, Friday, Sept. 9, 2022. Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's longest-reigning monarch, died on Thursday Sept. 8 aged 96.
Flowers and a message are seen outside Buckingham Palace, rear, in London, Friday, Sept. 9, 2022. Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's longest-reigning monarch and a rock of stability across much of a turbulent century, died Thursday Sept. 8, 2022, after 70 years on the throne. She was 96.
Britain_Queen_77394 A mourner puts flowers at the gates of Buckingham Palace in London, Friday, Sept. 9, 2022. Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's longest-reigning monarch and a rock of stability across much of a turbulent century, died Thursday Sept. 8, 2022, after 70 years on the throne. She was 96.
Britain_Queen_94435 Messages, flowers and candles are seen at the gates of Buckingham Palace in London, Friday, Sept. 9, 2022. Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's longest-reigning monarch and a rock of stability across much of a turbulent century, died Thursday Sept. 8, 2022, after 70 years on the throne. She was 96.
Britain_Queen_91649 Flowers and a message are seen outside Buckingham Palace, rear, in London, Friday, Sept. 9, 2022. Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's longest-reigning monarch and a rock of stability across much of a turbulent century, died Thursday Sept. 8, 2022, after 70 years on the throne. She was 96.
Britain_Queen_37228 The flag flies halfmast over Buckingham Palace in London, Friday, Sept. 9, 2022. Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's longest-reigning monarch and a rock of stability across much of a turbulent century, died Thursday Sept. 8, 2022, after 70 years on the throne. She was 96.
Britain_Queen_15437 The Royal Banner of Scotland above Balmoral Castle is flown at half-mast following the announcement of the death of Queen Elizabeth II, in Royal Deeside, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, Thursday, Sept. 8, 2022. Britain's longest-reigning monarch and a rock of stability across much of a turbulent century, has died. She was 96. Buckingham Palace announced Sept. 8 that she died at Balmoral Castle, her summer residence in Scotland, where members of the royal family had rushed to her side after her health took a turn for the worse.
Britain_Queen_32755 A woman lays flowers and leaves a letter at the gates of Buckingham Palace in London, Friday, Sept. 9, 2022. Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's longest-reigning monarch and a rock of stability across much of a turbulent century, died Thursday Sept. 8, 2022, after 70 years on the throne. She was 96.
Britain_Queen_72456 A draw of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II is placed with flowers outside Buckingham Palace in London, Friday, Sept. 9, 2022. Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's longest-reigning monarch and a rock of stability across much of a turbulent century, died Thursday after 70 years on the throne. She was 96.
Britain_Queen_75409 People gather outside Buckingham Palace in London, Friday, Sept. 9, 2022, after the death of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II was announced. Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's longest-reigning monarch and a rock of stability across much of a turbulent century, died Thursday after 70 years on the throne. She was 96.
Britain_Queen_10670 Policemen stand outside Buckingham Palace in London, Friday, Sept. 9, 2022, after the death of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II was announced. Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's longest-reigning monarch and a rock of stability across much of a turbulent century, died Thursday after 70 years on the throne. She was 96.
Britain_Queen_76321 A draw of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II is placed with flowers outside Buckingham Palace in London, Friday, Sept. 9, 2022. Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's longest-reigning monarch and a rock of stability across much of a turbulent century, died Thursday after 70 years on the throne. She was 96.
Britain_Queen_85860 Tributes and candles left outside Buckingham Palace, in London, following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, Thursday, Sept. 8, 2022.
Britain_Queen_43966 Mourners on Queen Victoria Memorial outside Buckingham Palace in central London, following the announcement of the death of Queen Elizabeth II, Thursday, Sept. 8, 2022. Britain's longest-reigning monarch and a rock of stability across much of a turbulent century, has died. She was 96.
Britain_Queen_64950 People gather on Queen Victoria Memorial outside Buckingham Palace in central London, Thursday Sept. 8, 2022. following the announcement of the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
Britain_Queen_54211 People gather outside Buckingham Palace in London, Thursday, Sept. 8, 2022, after the death of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II was announced. Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's longest-reigning monarch and a rock of stability across much of a turbulent century, died Thursday after 70 years on the throne. She was 96.
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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.

“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.”

The changing of the guard 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.

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Follow AP coverage of Queen Elizabeth II at https://apnews.com/hub/queen-elizabeth-ii

Copyright © 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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