King Charles III promises to follow Queen’s selfless dutyon September 12, 2022 at 10:36 am

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The King hears condolences at Westminster before travelling to Edinburgh to mount a vigil for the Queen.

King Charles addressed 900 MPs and peers at Westminster Hall on MondayImage source, PA Media

King Charles III promised to follow the late Queen’s “selfless duty” in his first address to both Houses of Parliament as monarch.

The King said Parliament was the “living and breathing instrument of our democracy” as he spoke in front of 900 MPs and peers at Westminster Hall.

It followed condolences from speakers of the House of Commons and Lords.

Sir Lindsay Hoyle, House of Commons speaker, said “as deep as our grief is, we know yours is deeper”.

Addressing the King on behalf of MPs, Sir Lindsay added: “We know you hold the greatest respect, the precious traditions, the freedoms, and responsibilities of our unique history and our system of parliamentary government.

“We know that you will bear those responsibilities which fall to you with the fortitude, dignity, demonstrated by Her late Majesty.”

The King, in his response, said: “While very young, Her Late Majesty pledged herself to serve her country and her people and to maintain the precious principles of constitutional government which lie at the heart of our nation. This vow she kept with unsurpassed devotion.

“She set an example of selfless duty which, with God’s help and your counsels, I am resolved faithfully to follow.”

State trumpeters played a fanfare as King Charles made his way through Westminster Hall at 10:25 BST while the Royal Standard was raised in place of the half mast.

King Charles was accompanied by his wife the Queen Consort while he addressed MPs and peers

Image source, PA Media

At Westminster Hall – which is also where the Queen’s coffin will lie in state later this week – the monarch, accompanied by Camilla, Queen Consort, were offered condolences on behalf of both Houses of Parliament.

Lord McFall paid tribute to the late Queen and said she “captured the imagination of peoples across the globe”.

“We remember her commitment, her kindness, her humour, her courage and her fortitude as well as the deep faith which was the anchor in her life,” he added.

“We are proud and humbled to welcome you as King.”

Also among the attendees in the hall was Ugbana Oyet, the first black sergeant at arms in the role’s history.

Analysis box by Chris Mason, political editor

What an extraordinary ceremony to witness.

A home of history, it hosted Henry VIII’s Coronation Banquet in 1509.

The trial of Guy Fawkes in 1606.

Today, in front of me, row upon row of blue chairs, upon them an audience of around 900 in black.

During the addresses, a sea of expressionless, thoughtful, contemplative faces.

The King looked occasionally towards the two Speakers, occasionally towards the audience, occasionally the floor.

The Queen Consort looked straight ahead.

Afterwards, the King managed a few smiles as he acknowledged various familiar faces in the congregation.


Monday’s visit to Westminster also saw members of both houses pledging loyalty to the new monarch.

Ed Davey, leader of the Liberal Democrats, told BBC Breakfast he hoped the Queen’s passing would be a moment of “unity” for the UK.

“My sense is a real sense of unity, people coming together in their grief and gratitude to the Queen,” he said.

After the King flies to Scotland, there will be a procession along the Royal Mile to St Giles’ Cathedral. The trip will mark the start of a tour of all four nations of the UK.

His Majesty will lead members of the Royal Family – expected to include the Queen’s other children the Princess Royal, Earl of Wessex and Duke of York – as they walk behind the Queen’s coffin.

Large crowds are expected in the Scottish capital on Monday for the procession, with city council leader Cammy Day urging people to arrive in the city centre “as quickly and early as you can”.

At the cathedral, the Royal Family will be joined by a congregation drawn from all areas of Scottish society to attend a service of thanksgiving for her life.

Later in the evening, the King and his family will observe a vigil at the cathedral in honour of the Queen.

Her coffin will remain at the cathedral for 24 hours for members of the public to pay their respects, before being flown back to RAF Northolt and then travelling on to Buckingham Palace.

HM Queen Elizabeth II 640x55
HM Queen Elizabeth II black line

Before that, the King will return to the Palace of Holyroodhouse for an audience with Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

He and the Queen Consort will then attend the Scottish Parliament, where members will deliver a motion of condolence at 17:30 BST.

Since the Queen died at Balmoral on Thursday, thousands of mourners have laid flowers and tributes at places she lived, including Buckingham Palace, Sandringham House and Windsor Castle.

More than 750,000 could file past the Queen’s coffin in Westminster Hall during her lying-in-state later this week. Mourners wishing to do so have been warned queues could reach 20 hours.

King Charles III was accompanied by his wife the Queen Consort while he addressed MPs and peers

Image source, PA Media

The last member of the Royal Family to lie in state in the hall, the oldest part of the Palace of Westminster, was the Queen Mother in 2002 when more than 200,000 people queued to view her coffin.

Sir Peter Bottomley, father of the House of Commons, said he expected “we’ll see 10 times more than that” this week.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “It is a magnificent opportunity for people to come through Westminster Hall and actually feel the modernity of the monarchy and the tradition.”

Sir Peter said the events of the past few days showed how in the space of a week you can change the head of state and the prime minister and have people taking to the streets “with love and flowers”.

The lying-in-state begins at 17:00 BST on Wednesday and will last until 06:30 on Monday 19 September – the day of the Queen’s funeral at Westminster Abbey.

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