The King has used his first Christmas broadcast to pay tribute to "selfless dedication" of heroic NHS workers and the armed forces, while sympathising with families struggling with the cost-of-living crisis.
The monarch spoke about the "great anxiety and hardship" experienced by many trying to "pay their bills and keep their families fed and warm" during his televised message which aired around the world at 3pm on Sunday.
Charles dedicated a large part to the life and legacy of his mother, the late Queen, saying how she embodied the values of "selfless dedication", which is reflected across the nation in the actions of so many helping to build and strengthen our communities.
His Majesty broke tradition of recording the monarch’s annual speech from behind a desk at Buckingham Palace, instead choosing to mirror the late Queen’s 1999 address from the stunning Quire at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.
In the broadcast, alongside footage of a food bank and scenes of meals being distributed to the homeless, Charles reflected on how he was standing "so close to where my beloved mother, the late Queen, is laid to rest with my dear father" in the King George VI Memorial Chapel.
Charles, 74, thanked the public for the "love and sympathy" expressed in thousands of cards and messages of condolence since her passing on September 8.
On Christmas Eve, Buckingham Palace announced that His Majesty had kicked off the Christmas festivities by making financial contributions to the Fuel Bank Foundation.
The King added his own personal cash donation to thousands sent in cards after the Queen’s death, passing them onto the charity which provides relief to people in fuel poverty.
Following his mother’s passing, Charles began his reign visiting charities and religious organisations around the UK alongside the Queen Consort.
A Buckingham Palace source said: “The King’s own faith is a central part of his identity, yet the message shows his strong support for all faiths which we all have noticed over the decades.”
Charles also described how the festive period was a "poignant time" for bereaved families, adding "We feel their absence at every familiar turn of the season and remember them in each cherished tradition".
He said he shared the late Queen's "faith in people" who can touch the lives of others with "goodness and compassion", something he described as the "essence of our community and the very foundation of our society".
These qualities were reflected in the "selfless dedication" of the Armed Forces, health and social care professionals, teachers and all those who work in public service.
He added: "And 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.”
But the King also recognised other faiths, highlighting how religious communities were helping those in financial difficulties and, like Christians, believed in the "power of light overcoming darkness".
Charles’s speech is the first time a male monarch has made a Christmas Day address since the death of Queen Elizabeth's father 70 years ago - he was the last king to make such an address, in 1951.
King George VI spoke on 25 December it was broadcast on the wireless: the television was still a relatively new and not widely owned piece of technology.
A few days before the late Queen's funeral on October 19, Charles told faith leaders gathered at Buckingham Palace, as monarch he had an important role to discharge "...the duty to protect the diversity of our country, including by protecting the space for faith itself and its practise through the religions, cultures, traditions and beliefs to which our hearts and minds direct us as individuals."
He recognised those other faiths when he said in his Christmas message: "Our churches, synagogues, mosques, temples and gurdwaras, have once again united in feeding the hungry, providing love and support throughout the year.
"Such heartfelt solidarity is the most inspiring expression of loving our neighbour as our self."
Among the collection of video clips showing the King at official events, Charles was seen wearing a Sikh rumal, or handkerchief, on his head as a mark of respect during a visit to the Guru Nanak Gurdwara in Luton earlier this month, and receiving condolences from the public during a walkabout outside Buckingham Palace in September.
His own faith was another central theme and he spoke about fulfilling a "life-long wish" to visit Bethlehem in 2020 and stand close to the sacred site in the Church of the Nativity that marks the spot where Christians believe Jesus Christ was born.
Charles, who in the past has described himself as a "committed Anglican Christian", said in the address: "It meant more to me than I can possibly express to stand on that spot where, as the Bible tells us, 'The light that has come into the world' was born."
The Christmas broadcast, written by the King and lasting eight minutes, ended with a message for the religious and those with no beliefs: "While Christmas is, of course, a Christian celebration, the power of light overcoming darkness is celebrated across the boundaries of faith and belief.
"So, whatever faith you have, or whether you have none, it is in this life-giving light, and with the true humility that lies in our service to others, that I believe we can find hope for the future.
"Let us therefore celebrate it together, and cherish it always."