British Prime Minister Liz Truss delivered an address marking the death of Queen Elizabeth II and called for Britons to support their new king, Charles III, on Thursday.
“Queen Elizabeth II was the rock on which modern Britain was built,” said Truss, paying tribute to her life and long service as monarch.
Truss delivered the speech at 7 p.m. local time in London, with the backdrop of 10 Downing Street. “We are all devastated by the news we have just heard from Balmoral,” she began. “The death of Her Majesty the Queen is a huge shock to the nation and to the world.”
“Queen Elizabeth II was the rock on which modern Britain was built”
— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) September 8, 2022
The queen had served for 70 years, seven months and two days on the throne, the longest-serving monarch in Britain’s history, part of a line stretching back for over 1,100 years. (RELATED: Queen Elizabeth II Dead At Age 96)
“She ascended the throne just after the Second World War, she championed the development of the Commonwealth — from a small group of seven countries to a family of 56 nations spanning every continent of the world,” said Truss. Along with being Britain’s monarch, the queen had been the head of state of 31 nations and was monarch of 14 other states at the time of her passing.
“She was the very spirit of Great Britain and that spirit will endure,” said Truss, who was only appointed prime minister by the queen two days prior, after the former won the Conservative Party leadership election to succeed Boris Johnson.
The queen’s meeting to appoint Truss was the last engagement of her reign and the photograph of the event was the last photo taken of the queen, who was long regarded as one of the most photographed women in the world.
🤝 The Queen received Liz Truss at Balmoral Castle today.
Her Majesty asked her to form a new Administration. Ms. Truss accepted Her Majesty’s offer and was appointed Prime Minister.
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) September 6, 2022
Truss was dressed in black. The speech was only the second major address of her premiership, the first being her first address to the nation after her appointment.
Truss then turned to the queen’s successor, her son Charles, who ascended the throne automatically on her death. “Today the crown passes, as it has done for more than a thousand years, to our new monarch, His Majesty King Charles III.”
Truss’s announced Charles’s regnal name as “Charles III,” which was later confirmed. A new monarch may choose their ‘regnal’ name — different from their legal name — as the name they officially use during their rule.
Speaking of the king, Truss said “We must come together as a people to support him, to help him bear the awesome responsibility that he now carries for us all. We offer him our loyalty and devotion.”
The queen’s death and the king’s accession are major challenges for Truss. It means that Britain will have new leadership at a critical time when it is also facing an economic crisis of high inflation and energy prices.
Closing out her speech, Truss proclaimed: “With the passing of the second Elizabethan age, we usher in a new era in the magnificent history of our great country, exactly as Her Majesty would have wished.”
“By saying the words: God Save the King.”
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