The new British King Charles III. renewed his mother’s promise of lifelong service to his people. The 73-year-old said on Friday in his first speech to the nation as the new monarch. His mother once promised to devote “her whole life, be it short or long,” to serving her subjects.

“And like the Queen herself, with such unwavering devotion, I commit myself now for the rest of the time God grants me to uphold constitutional principles in the heart of our nation.”

The Queen died Thursday at Balmoral Castle, Scotland, aged 96. With her death, 73-year-old Charles became the new king. He also paid tribute to his mother in the TV speech with unusually personal and emotional words.

Son William becomes Prince of Wales

Charles announced that he would now have to step back from some of his previous duties and named his son and heir apparent William as the new Prince of Wales. It was a privilege to bear this title, said the new king. He is confident that William, 40, and his wife Kate, 40, will continue to inspire British society and lead national debates as the Prince and Princess of Wales. Kate has never been a princess, just a duchess. With the title “Princess of Wales” she now bears the same title that Princess Diana had recently actively used. The PA news agency quoted a royal inside source as saying Kate is aware of the history of the title but wants to look to the future and “make her own way”.

Previously, Charles himself had borne the title Prince of Wales. His wife Camilla – now “Queen Consort” – bore the title Duchess of Cornwall. He is happy that Camilla is also at his side as queen.

Forgiving words for Harry and Meghan

Charles also addressed conciliatory words to his younger son Harry (37) and his wife Meghan (40). “I also want to express my love for Harry and Meghan as they continue to build a life overseas,” said the king.

Harry and Meghan had broken away from the inner circle of the royal family more than two years ago and now live with their children Archie (3) and Lilibet (1) in the US state of California. Harry had fallen out with his father Charles and his older brother William.

Charles III: “Thank you for your love and devotion”

Finally, the 73-year-old addressed his late mother directly in very personal words: “Dear Mom, as you begin your final great journey to my dear late dad, I just want to say one thing: Thank you. Thank you for your love and devotion to ours family and to all the nations you have served so diligently over the years. May the angels watch over your rest.”

He knows that his mother’s death causes great sadness in his country and around the world and he shares it, he said. “Affection, admiration and respect” have become the “trademark” of her reign. Any member of his family can testify that the Queen has combined this with “warmth, humor and an unerring ability to see the best in people,” the monarch said.