LONDON: Edinburgh, United Kingdom, Sep 12 (EFE).- King Charles III said in an address here Monday that he appreciated the "true affection" the Scottish people had shown to his mother, the late Queen Elizabeth II, who passed away last Thursday at age 96. Those remarks came during Charles' first visit to Holyrood, as the Scottish Parliament is known, since being proclaimed the new British monarch at St. James' Palace in London on Saturday.
"I know the Scottish Parliament and the people of Scotland share with me a profound sense of grief at the death of my beloved mother," Charles said after that chamber approved a condolences motion. "I take up my new duties with thankfulness for all that Scotland has given me, with resolve to seek always the welfare of our country and its people and with wholehearted trust in your goodwill and good counsel as we take forward that task together," he added. Charles confirmed that the Scottish titles he formerly held, including that of Duke of Rothesay, have passed to his oldest son, Prince William. "I know (he) will be as proud as I have been to bear the symbols of this ancient kingdom." Prior to his remarks, Scotland's first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, paid tribute to the late queen.
The leader of the Scottish National Party said during a speech at Holyrood that Elizabeth had been the "anchor of our nation" and pledged the backing of the Scottish people for the new king. "Your Majesty, we stand ready to support you, as you continue your own life of service - and as you build on the extraordinary legacy of your beloved mother," Sturgeon, who has announced plans to hold a second referendum on Scottish independence from the rest of the United Kingdom in 2023, told King Charles III. Queen Elizabeth II's coffin was taken along the city of Edinburgh on Monday in a procession to pay tribute to the UK's longest-reigning monarch, who passed away on Sept. 8 at Balmoral Castle, her country estate in Scotland.
The procession, from the Palace of Holyroodhouse to St Giles' Cathedral, was followed by King Charles III and his siblings: Princess Royal, the Duke of York and the Earl of Wessex. A thanksgiving service was held at St Giles' Cathedral in which Rt Rev Dr Iain Greenshields paid tribute to the Queen. "Committed to the role she assumed in 1952 upon the death of her beloved father, she has been a constant in all of our lives for over 70 years," he said. "She understood the breadth of world affairs and also cared about what happened to all of her people," he added.
Britain's prime minister, Liz Truss, and Sturgeon were among those who attended the service. The coffin of Elizabeth II will remain at St. Giles' Cathedral for public viewing for 24 hours so residents can pay their respects to the late monarch. King Charles III was making his first visit to Scotland since he became the sovereign of the UK and 14 Commonwealth realms following his mother's death.
His visit started with the Ceremony of the Keys in Edinburgh. That ancient ceremony is a symbolic act in which the sovereign receives the keys of the city on a velvet cushion ahead of his visit. The King then hands back the keys, entrusting their safekeeping to the city officials. Earlier Monday, King Charles III visited Westminster, where together with Queen Consort Camilla he visited the House of Commons and the House of Lords to hear their condolences.
"My Lords and members of the House of Commons, we gather today in remembrance of the remarkable span of the Queen's dedicated service to her nations and peoples," the King said. "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," the monarch added. Charles honored his mother's service by saying she set "an example of selfless duty which, with God's help and your counsel, I am resolved faithfully to follow." Before his first parliamentary address, the King listened to the condolences from both the lower and upper houses of parliament. Lord Speaker Lord McFall of Alcluith welcomed the monarchs on behalf of the House of Lords and said that "we all feel a sense of loss beyond measure." Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle added that the loss of the Queen has reverberated around the world, pointing out that as "deep as our grief is, we know yours is deeper." Meanwhile, Downing Street announced a national minute's silence to be held on Sept. 17 at 8 pm London time.
"The silence can be marked privately at home on your own or with friends and neighbors, out on your doorstep or street with neighbors, or at any locally arranged community events and vigils," Downing Street said in a statement. "The shared national moment of reflection is an opportunity for everyone across the UK to mark the death of Her Majesty and we will set out details of where the Prime Minister will mark it closer to that time," it added. On Tuesday, the Queen's coffin will be transferred to the British capital in a Royal Air Force (RAF) plane. She will then lie in state for four days at Westminster Hall prior to a state funeral slated for Sept. 19 in Westminster Abbey. The day of the funeral has been declared a Bank Holiday. Charles III was officially proclaimed King by the Accession Council on Saturday in a historic ceremony.