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Not many people start fulfilling their destiny and potential at the age of 73, but King Charles is no mere mortal.
His long journey from boyhood to full bloom spanned more than half a century, but here he was at last, claiming his birthright and his first address to the nation as king.
Until this moment, which was broadcast on all news channels at 6 pm last night, we knew the man but not the monarch. Sitting at a desk decorated with a picture of his mother and a vase of white funeral flowers, he spoke the words that would set the tone for days and years to come.
“It is with deep sadness that I speak to you today,” he said, paying tribute to the woman he called “my dear mama.”
There was a moment when he looked almost in tears as he promised to try and match the devotion and devotion she had shown to her subjects.
“I, too, now solemnly pledge that, for the remainder of the time God bestows upon me, I will uphold the constitutional principles at the heart of our nation … I will seek to serve you with loyalty, respect, and love.”
JAN MOIR: Not many people start fulfilling their destiny and potential at the age of 73, but King Charles is no ordinary mortal. In the photo addressing the nation from Buckingham Palace on Friday 9 September
The King spoke from the gold-encrusted depths of the Blue Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace, still hung with the wallpaper chosen by his great-grandmother, Queen Mary. Amid the grandeur of the high ceilings and faux onyx columns, the occasion was filled with sadness.
“I know her death is very sad,” he said of his mother, “and I share that feeling of loss with all of you.”
In his dark suit and dreary tie, a monochromatic handkerchief tucked into his breast pocket, King Charles – to write it, say or think it still seems amazing – dug deep and conveyed a message that was both heartfelt and surprisingly intimate. .
He paid tribute to both his sons and also to the Queen Consort. “I am counting on the loving assistance of my dear wife, Camilla…I know she will give the demands of her new role a steadfast devotion to duty.”
The King spoke from the gold-encrusted depths of the Blue Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace
Earlier in the day, Kirsty Wark was outside Balmoral Castle for the BBC, pointing out that it was “a very terribly sad moment for the Royal Family”.
BBC News Royal Correspondent Sarah Campbell agreed, outlining the emotional minefield ahead for King Charles. “People are celebrating the fact that he’s the new king,” she said. “But it’s not even 24 hours since his mother died.”
Indeed. How his life has changed in such a short time, with the dawning of a day that must have been longed for and, as he pointed out yesterday outside Buckingham Palace, equally dreaded.
For Charles the son, his mother’s death brings an eclipse of light into his own life. For Charlemagne the monarch, the death of a queen heralds the quickening glow that only a kingdom brings.
Yet the day-to-day trade and industry of being a royal means that there is little time for personal grief.
One can only guess at the wave of emotions behind his calm, friendly demeanor as the new king shook hands with the crowd gathered at the palace gates. Or stared into the lens as the camera focus got closer and closer as he delivered his speech to the nation.
For Charles the son, his mother’s death brings an eclipse of light into his own life. For Charlemagne the monarch, the death of a queen heralds the quickening glow that only a kingdom brings. Charles is in the picture with his mother in 2017
He spoke of the duty of the monarchy, affirming his deep faith in the Church of England and assuring viewers that his values would remain constant. “My life will of course change,” he said, and no one doubted that.
It was no surprise that his composure was impeccable. Now his decades of royal training and statesmanship will surely become a reality and that he will have the strength of body and soul to meet what is now demanded of him.
We all know that King Charles has a lot to do. His mother, God rest her soul, always understood the double burden of privilege and sacrifice – and that one should never overshadow the other.
Her sure instincts as a diplomat, stateswoman and monarch have never failed her – but what about her son? Some who get a coveted starring role falter in the promotion and find that they don’t come into the limelight after all.
And some seize the opportunity, like drowning men clambering aboard a lifeboat called destiny.
After a few touching words from a palace hut, King Charles has finally begun his journey.