King Charles III used his first televised address as king to offer a significant olive branch to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle—and to announce that Prince William and Kate Middleton would take on the titles of Prince and Princess of Wales.
In a stunning intervention that may be seen as an attempt to lay to rest the feud which has roiled the Windsors for over two years now, Charles declared, “I want also to express my love for Harry and Meghan as they continue to build their lives overseas.”
The address was recorded in the Blue Drawing Room of Buckingham Palace where the late queen—who died at Balmoral yesterday aged 96—recorded several Christmas messages. On Charles’ desk was a picture of a smiling Queen Elizabeth.
Charles made clear in his speech that he, like his “beloved Mother,” would never abdicate, referring to her “promise of lifelong service [that] I renew to you all today.”
Charles referred to her 1947 twenty-first birthday speech, saying, “She pledged in a broadcast from Cape Town to the Commonwealth to devote her life, whether it be short or long, to the service of her peoples. That was more than a promise: it was a profound personal commitment which defined her whole life. She made sacrifices for duty.”
Charles reiterated the theme several times, saying at one point, “As the queen herself did with such unswerving devotion, I too now solemnly pledge myself, throughout the remaining time God grants me, to uphold the constitutional principles at the heart of our nation. And wherever you may live in the United Kingdom, or in the Realms and territories across the world, and whatever may be your background or beliefs, I shall endeavor to serve you with loyalty, respect, and love, as I have throughout my life.”
Charles, who has been accused of interfering in politics, appeared to suggest he will become less interventionist and outspoken now he is king, saying, “My life will of course change as I take up my new responsibilities. It will no longer be possible for me to give so much of my time and energies to the charities and issues for which I care so deeply. But I know this important work will go on in the trusted hands of others.”
However, it was when he came to the issue of family that Charles really surprised.
He paid tribute to “my darling wife, Camilla,” now Queen Consort, and said that William would become Prince of Wales, saying, “With Catherine beside him, our new Prince and Princess of Wales will, I know, continue to inspire and lead our national conversations, helping to bring the marginal to the center ground where vital help can be given.”
Then, looking directly at the camera, he added the zinger: “I want also to express my love for Harry and Meghan as they continue to build their lives overseas.”
Charles concluded with a quotation from Hamlet, saying, “To my darling Mama, as you begin your last great journey to join my dear late Papa, I want simply 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 thee to thy rest.’”