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“I speak to you today with feelings of deep sorrow. All her life Her Majesty the Queen – my beloved mother – has been an inspiration and example to me and all my family, and we owe her the most sincere debt a family can owe to their mother; for her love, affection, guidance, understanding and example.
‘Queen Elizabeth had a life well lived; kept a promise with fate and she is most mourned in her passing. That promise of lifelong service I renew to all of you today.
“In addition to the personal grief my entire family feels, we share with so many of you in the UK, in all the countries where the Queen was Head of State, in the Commonwealth and around the world, a deep sense of gratitude for the more over 70 years in which my mother, as queen, has served the people of so many countries.
In 1947, on her 21st birthday, in a broadcast from Cape Town to the Commonwealth, she pledged to dedicate her life, whether short or long, to the service of her peoples. That was more than a promise: it was a profound personal commitment that characterized her entire life. She has made sacrifices for her duty.
Her devotion and devotion as Sovereign has never wavered, in times of change and progress, in times of joy and celebration, and in times of sorrow and loss.
“In her life of service, we saw that enduring love of tradition, along with that fearless embrace of progress, that make us great as nations. The affection, admiration and respect she inspired became the hallmark of her reign.
And as any member of my family can attest, she combined these qualities with warmth, humor and an unerring ability to always see the best in people.
“I pay tribute to the memory of my mother and I honor her life of service. I know her death brings great sadness to so many of you and I share that sense of loss, beyond measure, with all of you.
“When the Queen came to the throne, Britain and the world were still dealing with the hardships and aftermath of World War II, still living by the conventions of the past. Over the past 70 years we have seen our society become one of many cultures and many religions.
‘The institutions of the State have in turn changed. Yet despite all the changes and challenges, our nation and the wider family of empires – of whose talents, traditions and achievements I am so unspeakably proud – have prospered and prospered. Our values have remained constant and must remain constant.
“The role and duties of the monarchy also remain, as does the special relationship and responsibility of the Sovereign to the Church of England – the Church in which my own faith is so deeply rooted.
“In that belief and the values it inspires, I was raised to cherish a sense of duty to others and to cherish with the utmost respect the precious traditions, freedoms and responsibilities of our unique history and system of parliamentary government.
“As the Queen herself did with such unwavering devotion, I now also solemnly pledge myself, during the remaining time God bestows upon me, to uphold the constitutional principles at the heart of our nation.
And wherever you live in the UK, or in the realms and territories around the world, and whatever your background or beliefs, I will try to serve you with loyalty, respect and love, as I have all my life done. My life will of course change as I take on my new responsibilities.
“It will no longer be possible for me to devote so much of my time and energy to the charities and causes I care about so much. 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 assistance of my dear wife, Camilla. In recognition of her own loyal public service since our marriage 17 years ago, she becomes my Queen Consort.
“I know she will give to the demands of her new role the steadfast devotion to duty that I have come to rely on. As my heir, William now takes on the Scottish titles that have meant so much to me.
“He succeeds me as Duke of Cornwall and assumes the responsibilities for the Duchy of Cornwall, which I have assumed for over five decades. Today I am proud to have created him Prince of Wales, Tywysog Cymru, the country whose title I have been so immensely privileged to bear for much of my life and duty.
“With Catherine at his side, I know our new Prince and Princess of Wales will continue to inspire and guide our national conversations, helping to bring the marginalized to the center where essential help can be given. I also want to express my love for Harry and Meghan as they continue to build their lives abroad.
“In a little over a week, we will come together as a nation, as a Commonwealth and even a global community, to lay my beloved mother to rest. In our sorrows, let us remember and draw strength from the light of her example.
“On behalf of my entire family, I can only express the most sincere and sincere thanks for your condolences and support. They mean more to me than I can ever express.
“And to my dear mama, as you embark on your last great journey to join my dear daddy, I just want to say this: thank you.
“Thank you for your love and devotion to our family and to the family of nations you have served so diligently all these years. May ‘flights of angels sing to your rest’.