King Charles III has broken away from tradition by addressing Commonwealth leaders in person at an event at Westminster Abbey marking Commonwealth Day.
The King told representatives from the Commonwealth that he draws "great strength" from his late mother, Queen Elizabeth II, who traditionally addressed the annual gathering in a pre-recorded message.
He made his address from the great pulpit in Westminster Abbey, the venue that will host his Coronation in under two months' time to around 2,000 representatives from the 56 countries in the Commonwealth, including Australia's new High Commissioner to the UK Stephen Smith.
"In succeeding Her Majesty as head of the Commonwealth, I draw great strength from her example, together with all that I have learnt from the extraordinary people I have met throughout the Commonwealth over so many years," King Charles said.
"Commonwealth Day was an occasion of particular pride for my beloved mother, the late Queen, a treasured opportunity to celebrate our Commonwealth family, to whose service she dedicated her long and remarkable life."
The King also used his short address to issue a call for unity and action on climate change.
"Here, the Commonwealth has an incredible opportunity, and responsibility, to create a genuinely durable future," he said, "one that offers the kind of prosperity that is in harmony with nature and that will also secure our unique and only planet for generations to come."
The Royal Family were met with anti-monarchy protests as they arrived for the service, however, King Charles and Camilla, Queen Consort ignored the disruption as they received a traditional Maori welcome outside the Abbey.
Displays of culture from a number of member countries were on show during the service, including readings from Muslim, Sikh, Christian and Jewish faiths, dancers from the Rwanda Ballet performing in the aisles and a rendition of Waltzing Matilda.
Commonwealth Day occurs on the second Monday of March each year and is marked by an annual service at Westminster Abbey.
Story By: Jacqueline Howard in London
Original Story Link: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-03-14/king-charles-iii-leads-commonwealth-day-celebration/102091296
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