King Charles Salutes Late Queen, Public Workers In First Christmas Speech

During his first speech as monarch, King Charles III evoked memories of his late mother, the beloved Queen Elizabeth II — and also gave tribute to the “selfless dedication” of Britain’s public service workers.

The 74-year-old king also expressed his concern and empathized with those who are currently struggling during this “time of great anxiety and hardship” — as the U.K., like many other parts of the world, is currently dealing with high inflation that is causing a cost-of-living crisis.

Charles began his speech by recalling his late mother, who passed away in September at 96 years old after reigning as queen for 70 years.

“Christmas is a particularly poignant time for all of us who have lost loved ones,” he said. “We feel their absence at every familiar turn of the season and remember them in each cherished tradition.”

Upon the queen’s passing, Charles immediately ascended to the throne — though his coronation ceremony is scheduled in May 2023.

While Elizabeth typically sat behind a desk to deliver the annual Christmas speech, Charles stood dressed in a dark blue suit next to a Christmas tree at St. George’s Chapel — a church on the grounds of Windsor Castle where his mother and father, Prince Philip, were buried.

The king noted that he shared with his mother “a belief in the extraordinary ability of each person to touch, with goodness and compassion, the lives of others and to shine a light in the world around them.”

“The essence of our community and the very foundation of our society” can be witnessed in “health and social care professionals and teachers and indeed all those working in public service whose skill and commitment are at the heart of our communities,” Charles added.

As the video showed footage of food banks and other charity work, the king expressed his sympathy for individuals who are “at home finding ways to pay their bills and keep their families fed and warm.”

While the televised speech was specifically for Christmas, Charles did reach out to people of other faiths in the U.K. — stating that the meaning of the birth of Jesus Christ crosses “the boundaries of faith and belief.”

It is Charles’ belief that the monarchy can help to unite the increasingly diverse ethnic groups and faiths within Britain, which is part of the king’s effort to show that the monarchy as an institution still has relevance.

The six-minute speech concluded with Charles making an appeal to heed “the everlasting light,” which he said was a key aspect of Queen Elizabeth’s faith in God and her belief in people.

“So whatever faith you have or whether you have none, it is in this life-giving light and with the true humility that lies in our service to others that I believe we can find hope for the future,” Charles said.