Britain’s King Charles III on Tuesday reaffirmed his vow to follow the “shining example” set by his late mother, Queen Elizabeth II, in a speech at Hillsborough Castle in Northern Ireland during his mourning tour in all parts of the UK.
The 73-year-old monarch took a brief stroll through Hillsborough shortly after arriving in Belfast for what is the first visit by a British king to the devolved nation in nearly 80 years.
Joined by his wife, Queen Consort Camilla, Charles shook hands and waved to the crowds before heading to St Anne’s Cathedral for a service of reflection on the Queen’s life.
“Early in her life of service, the Queen pledged herself to dedicate herself to her country and her people and to uphold the principles of constitutional government. This promise she kept with unwavering faith,” said he said in a response speech. to the usual message of condolence from the Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly, Alex Maskey.
“Now, with this shining example before me, and with God’s help, I take up my new office resolved to seek the welfare of all the people of Northern Ireland. During the years of my mother’s reign, it was a privilege to bear witness to such a dedicated life. May it be granted to all of us to fulfill the tasks before us so well, he said.
In an apparent reference to past turmoil from the conflict in the region, the new monarch said his late mother “never stopped praying for the best of times” for Northern Ireland.
“My mother felt deeply, I know, the importance of the role she herself played in bringing together those whom history had separated, and in reaching out to make possible the healing of long-standing wounds, did he declare.
The reference is believed to be linked to the historic handshake between the late Queen and Martin McGuinness, the former leader of the separatist Irish Republican Army (IRA) during the Diamond Jubilee celebrations of his reign in 2012.
The British monarch’s brief handshake was seen as ushering in a new era in Northern Ireland’s 40-year troubled history and putting separatist forces to rest.
“In the years since the start of her long life of public service, my mother has seen Northern Ireland go through significant and historic changes. In all these years she has never ceased to pray for the best of times for this place and for its people, whose stories she knew, whose sorrows our family had felt, and for whom she had great affection and esteem, said Charles, in his first address to the region as than monarch.
From Belfast, the King and Queen consort will return to London in time to receive the Queen’s coffin at Buckingham Palace upon her arrival from Edinburgh.
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