'An example of lifelong love and selfless service': Read King Charles III accession speech in full

King Charles made his accession speech at St James's Palace Credit: PA

King Charles III said the late Queen Elizabeth II was an example of "lifelong love and of selfless service" as he made his accession speech at St James's Palace this morning.

He declared before members of the Accession Council it was his "sorrowful duty" to confirm the death of the monarch, his "beloved" mother.

The Council, largely made up of Privy Counsellors, always meets after the death of one monarch to proclaim the new Head of State.

It oversees the formal proclamation of the new King or Queen.

It was the first time the historic ceremony had been held in over seventy years - and the first to have been televised.

Read the King's speech, in full, below.

Accession Council, St James’s PalaceMy Lords, Ladies, and Gentlemen.

It is my most sorrowful duty to announce to you the death of my beloved Mother, The Queen.

I know how deeply you, the entire Nation - and I think I may say the whole world - sympathise with me in the irreparable loss we have all suffered.

It is the greatest consolation to me to know of the sympathy expressed by so many to my Sister and Brothers and that such overwhelming affection and support should be extended to our whole family in our loss. To all of us as a family, as to this kingdom and the wider family of nations of which it is a part, my Mother gave an example of lifelong love and of selfless service.

All of the UK's former living Prime Minister's attended the ceremony Credit: PA

My Mother’s reign was unequalled in its duration, its dedication and its devotion. Even as we grieve, we give thanks for this most faithful life. I am deeply aware of this great inheritance and of the duties and heavy responsibilities of Sovereignty which have now passed to me.

In taking up these responsibilities, I shall strive to follow the inspiring example I have been set in upholding constitutional government and to seek the peace, harmony and prosperity of the peoples of these Islands and of the Commonwealth Realms and Territories throughout the world. In this purpose, I know that I shall be upheld by the affection and loyalty of the peoples whose Sovereign I have been called upon to be, and that in the discharge of these duties I will be guided by the counsel of their elected parliaments.

The King later signed a document guaranteeing the independence of the Church of Scotland Credit: PA

In all this, I am profoundly encouraged by the constant support of my beloved wife.I take this opportunity to confirm my willingness and intention to continue the tradition of surrendering the hereditary revenues, including the Crown Estate, to My Government for the benefit of all, in return for the Sovereign Grant, which supports My official duties as Head of State and Head of Nation.

And in carrying out the heavy task that has been laid upon me, and to which I now dedicate what remains to me of my life, I pray for the guidance and help of Almighty God.

The King will officially be crowned at a later date. The date of the Queen's funeral has yet to be officially announced - but it will be a bank holiday.