Sincere and surprisingly intimate, our new Monarch: JAN MOIR watches King Charles III’s first speech to the nation

Not many people begin to fulfil their destiny and potential at the age of 73, but King Charles is no ordinary mortal. 

His long journey from boyhood to full bloom spans well over half a century, but here he was at last, claiming his birthright, making his first speech to the nation as King.

Until this moment, which was broadcast on all news channels at 6pm last night, we knew the man but not the monarch. Sitting at a desk adorned with a photograph of his mother and a vase of white mourning flowers, he spoke the words that would set the tone for the days and the years to come.

‘I speak to you today with feelings of profound sorrow,’ he said, and went on to pay tribute to the woman he called ‘my darling mama’.

There was a moment when he looked close to tears as he promised to try to emulate the dedication and devotion she had shown to her subjects.

‘I too now solemnly pledge myself, throughout the remaining time God grants me, to uphold the Constitutional principles at the heart of our nation… I shall endeavour to serve you with loyalty, respect and love.’

JAN MOIR: Not many people begin to fulfil their destiny and potential at the age of 73, but King Charles is no ordinary mortal. Pictured addressing the nation from Buckingham Palace on Friday, September 9 

The King spoke from the gilt-encrusted depths of the Blue Drawing Room in Buckingham Palace, still hung with the wallpaper picked out by his great-grandmother, Queen Mary. Amid the grandeur of the soaring ceilings and faux-onyx columns, the occasion was suffused with grief.

‘I know that her death brings great sadness,’ he said of his mother, ‘and I share that sense of loss… with you all.’

In his dark suit and sombre tie, a monochrome handkerchief tucked in his breast pocket, King Charles – to write it, say it or think it still seems astonishing – dug deep and delivered a message that was both sincere and surprisingly intimate.

He paid tribute to both his sons and also to the Queen Consort. ‘I count on the loving help of my darling wife, Camilla… I know she will bring to the demands of her new role a steadfast devotion to duty.’

The King spoke from the gilt-encrusted depths of the Blue Drawing Room in Buckingham Palace

Earlier in the day, Kirsty Wark was outside Balmoral Castle for the BBC, pointing out that it was ‘a very dreadfully sad moment for the Royal Family’.

BBC News Royal Correspondent Sarah Campbell agreed, sketching out the emotional minefield that lay ahead for King Charles. ‘People are celebrating the fact that he is the new King,’ she said. ‘But it is not 24 hours since his mother died.’

Indeed. How his life has changed in such a short period of time, with the dawning of a day that must have been longed for and, as he intimated outside Buckingham Palace yesterday, dreaded in equal measure.

For Charles the son, the death of his mother brings a dimming of the light in his own life. For Charles the monarch, the death of a queen heralds the vivifying blaze that only a kingdom brings.

Yet the everyday trade and industry of being a royal means that there is little time for private grief.

One can only guess at the churn of emotions behind his calm, friendly manner as the new King shook hands with the crowds massed by the Palace gates. Or stared into the lens as the camera focus pulled ever closer as he delivered his address to the nation.

For Charles the son, the death of his mother brings a dimming of the light in his own life. For Charles the monarch, the death of a queen heralds the vivifying blaze that only a kingdom brings. Charles is pictured with his mother in 2017

He spoke of the duty of monarchy, affirmed his deep faith with the Church of England, assured viewers that his values would remain constant. ‘My life will of course change,’ he said, and no one doubted that.

It was no surprise that his composure was impeccable. Surely now his decades of royal training and statecraft will come to bear and that he will have the strength of body and soul to fulfil what is now demanded of him.

We all know that King Charles has much to live up to. His mother, God rest her soul, always understood the twin burdens of privilege and sacrifice – and that one must never overshadow the other.

Her sure instincts as a diplomat, stateswoman and monarch never failed her – but what of her son? Some who are granted a longed-for leading role falter in the promotion, discovering that the limelight does not become them after all.

And some rise to the occasion, like drowning men climbing aboard a lifeboat called destiny.

After a few movingly delivered words from a palace stateroom, King Charles has begun his voyage at last.

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