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Charles issues first statement as Britain's king

Charles officially became king upon his mother's death and is now the oldest person to take the British throne.

LONDON, UK — Prince Charles says the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, “is a moment of the greatest sadness” for him and his family.

In a statement issued Thursday following the 96-year-old monarch's death at her Balmoral Castle estate in Scotland, Charles said: “We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished Sovereign and a much-loved Mother. I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world.”

Charles, who became king upon his mother's death, said, “During this period of mourning and change, my family and I will be comforted and sustained by our knowledge of the respect and deep affection in which The Queen was so widely held.”

Charles is now the oldest person to take the British throne.

Meanwhile, condolences are pouring in from around the world following the death of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II.

French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted Thursday that the queen “embodied continuity and the unity of the British nation over 70 years. I retain the memory of a friend of France, a queen of hearts who marked as never before her country and her century.”

Germany’s foreign minister, Annalena Baerbock, expressed sadness at the news, tweeting: “Germany remains forever grateful that she stretched out her hand to us in reconciliation after the terror of World War II.”

Italian Premier Mario Draghi in a condolence message hailed the queen as having been “the absolute protagonist of world history of the last 70 years.” Draghi, who is now acting in a caretaker role ahead of Italian parliamentary elections later this month, said Elizabeth had represented the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth “with equilibrium, wisdom, respect for institutions and for democracy.”

The Royal Family’s Twitter feed posted a black and white photograph of the queen smiling as they announced her death.

Outside Buckingham Palace, the news was posted on the railings as crowds gathered.

Credit: AP
FILE - In this Monday, March 9, 2020 file photo, Britain's Prince Charles and Camilla the Duchess of Cornwall, in the background, leave after attending the annual Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey in London.

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