At 7 p.m. German time, millions of Britons looked into the sad face of their new head of state…

Charles delivered his first speech as King of Great Britain and Northern Ireland on Friday – almost 23 hours and 30 minutes after the palace announced the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth († 96).

From Buckingham Palace in London, he tried to offer comfort to his grieving compatriots, although he himself was marked by the greatest loss of his life. King Charles III fought back tears as he paid tribute to his mother’s life and made a promise to the Brits.

BILD shows Charles III’s first speech. literally.

“It is with deepest sadness that I speak to you today. Throughout her life, Her Majesty the Queen – my beloved mother – was an inspiration and example to me and all my family, and we owe her from the heart as much as any family can owe their mother; for their love, affection, advice, understanding and example.

Queen Elizabeth embodied a life well lived, a promise kept by fate, and is deeply mourned in her passing. Today I renew that promise of lifelong service with all of you.

King Charles was always on the verge of tears as he paid tribute to his mother

King Charles was always on the verge of tears as he paid tribute to his mother

Photo: The Royal Family Channel The Royal Family Channel

As well as the personal sorrow felt by my whole family, we also share with so many of you in the UK, throughout the countries where the Queen has been Head of State, in the Commonwealth and around the world, a deep sense of gratitude for the more than 70 years that my mother, as Queen, has served the people of so many nations.

In 1947, on her 21st birthday, in a transmission from Cape Town to the Commonwealth, she pledged to devote her life, short or long, to the service of her peoples. This was more than a promise: it was a deep personal commitment that defined her entire life. She made sacrifices for duty.

Her dedication and devotion as leader has never faltered, through times of change and progress, through times of joy and celebration, and through times of sorrow and loss. In their life of service we saw that enduring love of tradition, along with that fearless embrace of progress that makes us great as nations. The affection, admiration, and respect she aroused became the hallmark of her reign.

In a London pub, guests listen to the new king's speech

In a London pub, guests listen to the new king’s speech

Photo: Getty Images

And – as any member of my family can attest – she combined those virtues with warmth, humor and an unerring ability to see the best in people.

I honor my mother’s memory and honor her life of service. I know her passing brings great sadness to so many of you, and I share this sense of immeasurable loss with you all.

When the Queen ascended the throne, Britain and the world were still dealing with the hardships and aftermath of World War II and still living by the conventions of yesteryear.

The Queen at her coronation in 1953

The Queen at her coronation in 1953

Photo: Pa/dpa

Over the past 70 years, we have seen our society evolve into one of many cultures and beliefs. The institutions of the state have changed accordingly. But through all of these changes and challenges, our nation and the greater family of the rich—of whose talents, traditions, and achievements I am so unspeakably proud—have thrived and prospered. Our values ​​have remained constant and must remain so.

The role and duties of the monarchy remain, as does the sovereign’s special relationship and responsibility to the Church of England – the Church in which my own faith is so deeply rooted. In this belief and the values ​​that it inspires, I have been raised to have a sense of obligation to others and to have the utmost respect for the precious traditions, freedoms and responsibilities of our unique history and parliamentary system of government.

The Queen and Charles - then a prince - at the opening of Parliament in 2019

The Queen and Charles – then a prince – at the opening of Parliament in 2019

Photo: Getty Images

And like the Queen herself, with such unwavering devotion, I now pledge to uphold constitutional principles in the heart of our nation for the rest of the time God grants me. And wherever you may live in the UK, or in the kingdoms and territories of the world, and whatever your background or beliefs, it will be my endeavor to serve you, as I do, with loyalty, respect and love have done it all my life.

My life will of course change when I take on my new tasks. I will no longer be able to devote as much of my time and energy to the charities and causes that are so close to my heart. But I know that this important work will continue in the trusted hands of others.

This is also a time of change for my family. I am counting on the loving help of my dear wife Camilla. She will become my royal consort in recognition of her own faithful public service since we married 17 years ago. I know she will approach the demands of her new role with the unwavering dedication to duty I rely on so much.

Camilla and Charles at Buckingham Palace in London the day after the Queen's death

Camilla and Charles at Buckingham Palace in London the day after the Queen’s death

Photo: Getty Images

As my heir, William now takes on the Scottish titles that have meant so much to me. He is my successor as Duke of Cornwall and takes over the responsibilities of the Duchy of Cornwall that I have held for more than five decades.

I am proud today to appoint him Prince of Wales, Tywysog Cymru – the country whose title I have been so honored to hold for much of my life and duties. With Catherine by my side, I know our new Prince and Princess of Wales will continue to inspire and lead our national conversations, helping to bring those on the fringes of society front and center where vital aid can be given.

I also want to express my love for Harry and Meghan as they continue to build lives overseas.

The royal family on the balcony of Buckingham Palace in 2018 – Harry and Meghan (3rd and 4th from right) had not yet broken with the royal family

The royal family on the balcony of Buckingham Palace in 2018 – Harry and Meghan (3rd and 4th from right) had not yet broken with the royal family

Photo: Matt Dunham/AP

In just over a week we will come together as a nation, as a commonwealth and even as a global community to bury my beloved mother.

In our sorrow we should remember and draw strength from the light of their example. On behalf of my entire family, I can only sincerely and wholeheartedly thank you for your condolences and support. You mean more to me than I can ever express.

Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth used to vacation at Balmoral Castle in Scotland every year - like here in 1972

Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth used to vacation at Balmoral Castle in Scotland every year – like here in 1972

Photo: Getty Images

And dearest mom, as you begin your final great journey to my dear late dad, I just want to say one thing: thank you. Thank you for your love and devotion to our family and to all the nations you have so diligently served over the years. May swarms of angels sing you to rest.”

King Charles had already recorded the speech at Buckingham Palace in the afternoon.

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