How the world has changed in seven decades – the period that Queen Elizabeth II was on the British throne – was a key theme today in the first national speech by her son, King Charles III, since his death. “When the Queen came to the throne, Britain and the world were still dealing with the hardships and consequences of the Second World War, and still living by the conventions of old,” he said, making reference to his ascension in 1952.
She died Thursday at the age of 96.
Without mentioning colonialism, which ended in the first decades of Queen Elizabeth’s reign, the new monarch explained how multicultural Britain is now. “Over the past 70 years we have seen our society become one of many cultures and many religions,” he said.
He acknowledged that institutions have also changed. “But, through all the changes and challenges, our nation and the great family of Kingdoms…have prospered and prospered.”
King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla arriving at Buckingham Place.
The monarchy in the UK was merely ceremonial long before Queen Elizabeth took the throne. But it was under his rule that a large number of colonies became independent and democratic countries.
The British monarch leads the Commonwealth, a group of 56 countries from former colonies. And 14 of them are “Commonwealth realms”, like the UK, meaning the monarch is the ceremonial head of state. These include some Caribbean island nations such as Grenada and Jamaica, as well as major powers such as Canada and Australia, and smaller countries like Tuvalu.
King Charles said that, despite the changes, “our values have remained and must remain constant”.
He said the leadership role of the Church of England also remains constant, “the Church in which my own faith is so deeply rooted”.
“In this faith and the values it inspires, I was raised to cherish a sense of duty to others and to hold with the utmost respect the treasured traditions, freedoms and responsibilities of our unique history and system of parliamentary government,” he said.
“Queen Elizabeth was a life well lived; a promise with fate kept and she is deeply mourned in her passing. This promise of lifelong service that I renew to you today.
His Majesty the King addresses the Nation and the Commonwealth. pic.twitter.com/xQXVW5PPQ2
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) September 9, 2022
King Charles will be officially crowned on Saturday.
In other parts of the speech, he remembered, with gratitude, his “beloved mother”.
Citing Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”, he concluded with “Let ‘flights of angels sing thee to thy rest’”.