King Charles III addressed members of Parliament for the first time today, at the Motion of Condolence at Westminster Hall.
First, the Speaker of the House of Lords and the Speaker of the House of Commons offered their condolences to the new King in the oldest part of the Palace of Westminster, where the Queen will lie in state from 14 September until 19 September, the day of her funeral.
The Speaker of the House of Lords also gave a speech in which he draw on the late Queen’s legacy by stating ‘her magnificent achievements will live on by permanently illuminating and enriching our lives and our national discourse’. He added ‘even as we mourn the loss of our dear Queen, we, and future generations, will draw strength from Her shining example’.
He also looked back on the late Queen’s qualities such as ‘her commitment. Her kindness. Her humour. Her courage and Her fortitude. And the deep faith which was the anchor in her life’.
The Speaker of the House of Commons gave a speech on behalf of the entire House of Commons where he spoke of the late Queen’s ‘sense of duty, her wisdom, her kindness and her humour’ and how she ‘touched the lives of hundreds of thousands’ across the country.
‘We have seen that this is a loss felt around the world. It is a loss to the United Kingdom, the overseas territories, the crown dependencies and the many countries over which she reigned. It is a loss to the entire Commonwealth, which she did so much to nurture. It is a loss to all of us’.
Speaking about grief, he said: ‘Deep as our grief is, we know yours is deeper, and we offer our heartfelt sympathy to you and all the Royal Family’.
Charles opened his responding address by expressing how ‘deeply grateful’ he was towards the House of Lords and the House of Commons for their tributes to his late mother.
He says he feels the ‘weight of history which surrounds us and which reminds us of the vital Parliamentary traditions to which Members of both Houses’ upload and dedicate themselves too, which show a ‘personal commitment for the betterment of us all’.
The new Monarch stated that ‘Parliament is the living and breathing instrument of our democracy’ and the traditions are ‘ancient’ and reminders of our Mediaeval past.
He lists the connections London has to his late mother, Queen Elizabeth II, ‘from the Fountain in New Palace Yard which commemorates the late Queen’s Silver Jubilee to the Sundial in Old Palace Yard for the Golden Jubilee, the magnificent Stained Glass Window before me for the Diamond Jubilee and, so poignantly and yet to be formally unveiled, your most generous gift to Her late Majesty to mark the unprecedented Platinum Jubilee which we celebrated only three months ago, with such joyful hearts’.
He added how one of London’s most famous landmarks and ‘one of the most powerful symbols of our nation’, the great bell of Big Ben will mark the passage of the late Queen’s progress from Buckingham Palace to this Parliament on Wednesday.
The King looked back on his mother’s reign as she ‘dedicated service to her nations and peoples’ and ‘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’.
Charles concludes his address by stating he will follow in the example his mother set of ‘selfless duty’.
The House of Lords and House of Commons together constitute the Houses of Parliament, the legislative forces of government. The King signs off on new laws in his name, and can also advise and warn the Prime Minister in his role.