King Charles III has paid tribute to his late mother Queen Elizabeth II in his first King’s Speech.
On Christmas Day, the monarch opened his inaugural festive address as king, which marks the first time a King’s Speech has ever been televised, with a moving tribute to the Queen.
Stood in front of the festive scenes at St George’s Chapel in Windsor, Charles began: “I am standing here in this exquisite Chapel of St George at Windsor Castle, so close to where my beloved mother, the late Queen, is laid to rest with my dear father.
“I am reminded of the deeply touching letters, cards and messages which so many of you have sent my wife and myself and I cannot thank you enough for the love and sympathy you have shown our whole family.”
He continued: “Christmas is a particularly poignant time for all of us who have lost loved ones. We feel their absence at every familiar turn of the season and remember them in each cherished tradition.
“In the much-loved carol “O Little Town Of Bethlehem”, we sing of how ‘In thy dark streets shineth the everlasting light.’ My mother’s belief in the power of that light was an essential part of her faith in God, but also her faith in people and it is one which I share with my whole heart.”
Charles then praised the armed forces and emergency services for “working tirelessly”, in particular during the nationwide mourning period.
He alluded to the cost-of-living crisis and the way that everyone has the “extraordinary” power to “shine a light in the world around them”.
“At this time of great anxiety and hardship, be it for those around the world facing conflict, famine or natural disaster, or for those at home finding ways to pay their bills and keep their families fed and warm, we see it in the humanity of people throughout our nations and the Commonwealth who so readily respond to the plight of others,” Charles said.
“With all my heart, I wish each of you a Christmas of peace, happiness and everlasting light,” he concluded the message.
You can read the full speech here.
Queen Elizabeth II died on 8 September after more than 70 years on the British throne. The late monarch’s committal service was held at the place of worship. She was laid to rest in the George VI Memorial Chapel, within St George’s, with her husband the Duke of Edinburgh.
In his first broadcast as King screened the day after her death on 8 September, Charles spoke with emotion about his mother.
“We owe her the most heartfelt debt any family can owe to their mother; for her love, affection, guidance, understanding and example,” he told the nation.
This year’s King’s Speech was pre-recorded by the King on 13 December.
This Christmas, the royal family spent their Christmas Day at Sandringham, with the Prince and Princess of Wales sharing a piece of Prince George’s festive artwork on social media.