I speak to you today with feelings of deep sadness. 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 the most heartfelt debt any family owes to their mother; For her love, affection, guidance, understanding and example. Queen Elizabeth’s life was good; A promise is placed with Destiny and she mourns most deeply at her death. I renew to all of you today the promise of lifelong service.
In addition to the personal grief that all my family are feeling, we share it with many of you in the United Kingdom, in all countries where the Queen is Head of State, in the Commonwealth and around the world. For more than seventy years my mother served the people of many nations as a queen. In 1947, on her twenty-first birthday, she pledged to devote her life, be it short or long, to the service of her people in a broadcast from Cape Town to the Commonwealth. It was more than a promise: it was a deeply personal commitment that defined her entire life. She sacrificed for duty. Her dedication and devotion to the sovereign never wavered, through times of change and progress, through times of joy and celebration and through times of sorrow and loss. In her service life, we have seen a love of tradition, coupled with that fearless embrace of progress, which makes us great as nations. The love, admiration and respect she inspired became the hallmark of her reign. And, as every member of my family can testify, he combined these qualities with warmth, humor, and the ability to always see the best in people. I pay tribute to my mother’s memory and honor her life of service. I know her death brings great sorrow to many of you and I share that sense of loss with you all, beyond measure.
When the Queen came to the throne, Britain and the world were still dealing with the privations and aftermath of the Second World War and still living according to the traditions of the past. Over the past seventy years we have seen our society become one of many cultures and many faiths. State institutions have changed in turn. But, through all the vicissitudes and challenges, our nation and the vast family of empires – of whose talents, traditions and achievements I am indescribably proud – have prospered and flourished. Our values remain and must remain constant.
The role and duties of the monarchy also remain, the specific relationship of sovereignty and responsibility to the Church of England – my own belief is very deeply rooted. In that belief, and the values it inspires, I have been raised to cherish a sense of duty to others and to hold with the utmost respect the precious traditions, freedoms and responsibilities of our unique history and our system of parliamentary government. As the Queen has done with such unwavering devotion, I now pledge myself to uphold the constitutional principles at the heart of our nation for the rest of the time God grants me. And wherever you live in the United Kingdom or in the regions and territories around the world, and whatever your background or beliefs, I will strive to serve you with loyalty, respect and love as I have throughout my life.
My life will naturally change as I take on my new responsibilities. I will no longer be able to give so much of my time and energy to charities and issues that I care about so deeply. But I know this important work goes into the trusted hands of others.
It was a time of change for my family. I trust in the loving help of my dear wife Camilla. In recognition of his own faithful public service since our marriage seventeen years ago, he will be my Queen Consort. I know she will bring to the demands of her new role the steadfast devotion to duty that I have come to rely on so much. As my heir, William will now inherit the Scottish titles that mean so much to me. He succeeds me as Duke of Cornwall and takes over the responsibilities of the Duchy of Cornwall, which I have carried on for more than five decades. Today, I am proud to create him Prince of Wales, Tywysagh Cymru, a title that I am very privileged to bear during my life and duty. With Catherine at his side, our new Prince and Princess of Wales will continue to inspire and lead our national conversations, helping to bring the marginalized to center ground where vital assistance can be provided. I want to express my love for Harry and Meghan as they continue to build their lives abroad.
In one week’s time, we will come together as a nation, a Commonwealth and a global community to lay my beloved mother to rest. In our grief, may we remember and draw strength from the light of her example. On behalf of my family, I can only offer my most sincere and heartfelt thanks for your condolences and support. They mean more to me than I can express. And to my dear Mom, as you embark on your last great journey to join my beloved late Papa, I simply want to say this: Thank you. Thank you for your love and devotion to our family and the family of nations that you have served so diligently all these years. “Let the planes of angels sing to thy rest.”