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King Charles hails ‘vital’ UK parliamentary tradition in historic first address in Westminster Hall

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LONDON — King Charles III paid tribute to the U.K. parliament as “the living and breathing instrument of our democracy” in his first address to MPs and peers Monday.

His remarks came after the speakers of the House of Commons and House of Lords presented condolences to the king, the first time this ceremony has taken place in public.

Lindsay Hoyle, Commons speaker, said the loss of Queen Elizabeth, who died Thursday at the age of 96, was “felt around the world.” He added: “Our late queen was here to mark the historic moments, such as the 50th anniversary of the Second World War, a war in which she herself served in the armed forces.”

Responding, the king told his audience: “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 for the betterment of us all.”

Charles referred to the medieval surrounds of Westminster Hall, the oldest part of the Palace of Westminster, calling it a reminder of parliament’s “ancient” traditions and full of “tangible connections to my darling late mother.”

Following the king’s address, the audience stood and the — newly worded — national anthem was sung.

The king was due to travel to Edinburgh Monday afternoon for a procession taking the queen’s coffin up the Royal Mile to St Giles’ Cathedral, where members of the public can pay their respects.

He was then due to return to Holyroodhouse for an audience with Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, before attending the Scottish parliament to receive a motion of condolence — another first for a British monarch. The king is also expected to visit Wales and Northern Ireland in the coming days.

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