In his first Christmas message as monarch, King Charles III praised the “heartfelt solidarity” of people across recession-hit Britain as they grapple with a worsening cost of living crisis.
Addressing the nation at Windsor Castle Chapel, where his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, was buried in September, the 74-year-old also thanked people for the “love and sympathy” shown after her death.
“This is a particularly poignant time for all of us who have lost loved ones,” the monarch said, standing next to a glittering Christmas tree, in his annual royal address, which aired at 1500 GMT.
He then turned to the impact of the country’s mounting economic problems, as decades of high inflation ate into incomes and intensified strikes over pay in both the public and private sectors.
“I especially want to pay tribute to all the very kind people who have been so generous with food or donations, or … their time, to support the most needy people around them,” said King Charles, who was wearing a blue suit.
“Our churches, synagogues, mosques, temples and gurdwaras unite once again to feed the hungry and provide love and support year-round.”
The king also praised the charity’s “extraordinary work in the most difficult of circumstances”.
He added: “This heartfelt solidarity is the most inspiring expression of loving your neighbor as yourself.”
On 8 September, Queen Elizabeth died after a record-breaking seventy-year reign, and King Charles took the throne.
He also took over as head of state for 14 Commonwealth countries, including Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
His coronation will take place on May 6 next year, with Buckingham Palace vowing to reflect both the monarchy’s historic traditions and its modern role.
King Charles said in his inaugural Christmas message that both he and his late mother “believe in the extraordinary ability of each individual to touch the lives of others with kindness and compassion”.
“It’s the essence of our community and the foundation of our society,” he added, praising public sector workers from the armed forces to first responders to teachers.
In a return to royal tradition – interrupted by the pandemic – they will gather this Christmas at Sandringham, their private winter retreat in the east of England.
Prince Harry and wife Meghan, who live in the US, will be notable absentees, however, as their ongoing feud with their family shows few signs of abating.
The couple risked deepening their rift — which was first made public when they sensationally exited royal life in early 2020 — by airing their various grievances this month in a six-part documentary series on Netflix.
Since relocating to California, they’ve unleashed a string of other onslaughts against the royal family, and there are more to come.
Harry is due to publish a controversial memoir – titled “Backup” – within weeks.
(Aside from the title, this story is unedited by NDTV staff and published via a syndicated feed.)
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