Parliament is the living and breathing instrument of our democracy, Britain’s King Charles III said on Monday.
In his first speech to peers and lawmakers, he said Queen Elizabeth II “set an example of selfless duty,” pledging to follow her example of commitment to a constitutional government.
“As I stand before you today, I cannot help but feel the weight of history which surrounds us, and which reminds us of the vital parliamentary traditions to which members of both Houses dedicate yourselves with such personal commitment to the betterment of us all,” Charles said.
He said his late mother “pledged herself to serve her country and her people and to maintain the precious principles of constitutional government which lie the heart of our nation.”
The king’s short speech came at a historic gathering of members of the House of Lords and House of Commons at the Palace of Westminster.
John McFall, speaker of the House of Lords, and Lindsay Hoyle, speaker of the House of Commons, made condolence speeches at the event.
Charles was accompanied by Queen Consort Camilla.
Elizabeth died at her Balmoral estate in Aberdeenshire, Scotland last Thursday at the age of 96.
Her coffin was brought to the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh on Sunday, and will be placed in St. Giles Cathedral in the Scottish capital with a procession attended by Charles and royal family members.
It will be flown to London on Tuesday and taken to Buckingham Palace before being moved to the Palace of Westminster the next day, where the queen will lie in state until her funeral on Sept. 19.