Carlos III evoked this Sunday memories of his late mother, Elizabeth II, in his first Christmas message as British king, a speech in which he also paid tribute to the "selfless dedication" of public employees, many of whom are fighting with the government for wages.
The 74-year-old king empathized in his recorded message with those struggling to make ends meet "at a time of great anxiety and hardship."
As in other parts of the world, the United Kingdom suffers from high inflation that caused a crisis in many households.
His first words, however, were to remember his mother, who died in September at the age of 96 after 70 years on the throne.
"Christmas is an especially moving time for all of us who have lost loved ones," he said, "we feel their absence at every family moment and remember them in every beloved tradition."
Carlos III during the recording of his speech at Windsor Castle on December 13, 2022. Victoria Jones / AP
Carlos III ascended to the throne after the death of the queen immediately, but his coronation ceremony will be held in May.
In his televised Christmas message, he wore a dark blue suit.
Unlike her mother, who used to sit at a desk, she stood next to a Christmas tree in St George's Chapel, a church in Windsor Castle where her mother and father, Prince Philip, were buried.
Carlos said that he shared with his mother “the belief in the extraordinary capacity of all people to affect, with kindness and compassion, the lives of others and shine light on the world.”
“The essence of our community and the very foundations of our society” can be attested to in “health and social care professionals and teachers and, indeed, all those who work in public service, whose skill and commitment are in the heart of our communities,” said the king.
Strikes this month by nurses, ambulance staff, teachers, postal workers and train drivers have put pressure on the government of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
Opinion polls show a high level of support for workers, especially nurses.
The unions demand wage increases in line with inflation, which in November rose to 10.7%.
The first banknotes with the face of King Charles III in the United Kingdom are presented
Dec 20, 202200:24
The escalation of food and energy prices in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine has created financial stress for many individuals and families.
Speaking alongside video footage of food banks and other charities, Carlos III expressed sympathy for "those who at home find a way to pay their bills and keep their families fed and warm."
The king also reached out to people of other faiths in Britain and the British Commonwealth, because the meaning of Jesus' birth crosses "the boundaries of faith and belief."
Carlos III assures that the monarchy can contribute to uniting the increasingly diverse ethnic groups and religious denominations in his country.
That idea is part of his effort to show that the institution is still relevant.
The six-minute message concluded with a call to pay attention to “the eternal light” which, according to Carlos, was a key aspect of Elizabeth's faith in God and belief in people.
This building in the heart of Miami celebrates the spirit of Christmas in style
Dec 25, 202200:18
"Whatever faith you may or may not have, it is in this life-giving light and the true humility that resides in our service to others that I believe we can find hope for the future," he said.
The king made no reference to the recent outcry for this month's Netflix documentary series about the acrimonious separation from the royal family that accompanied his son Prince Harry and daughter-in-law Meghan Markle's decision to step back from royal duties and move to the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.
Video footage accompanying the Christmas message showed serving members of the royal family at official functions.
Harry and Meghan Markle did not appear, nor did Prince Andrew, who was stripped of his honorary military titles and retired as a working royal because of his friendship with notorious American sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
Andrew, however, joined Carlos and other royals for a Christmas morning walk to a church near the family's Norfolk County estate.
The king and his wife, Camilla, took family members to a religious service at the church of Santa Maria Magdalena.
Among them were Prince William, Charles' eldest son and heir to the throne, and his wife, Kate Middleton, and the couple's three children, Prince George, 9, Princess Charlotte, 7, and Prince Louis, 4.
Harry and Meghan break a record on Netflix thanks to their documentary
Dec 15, 202200:22
They were joined by Charles and Andrew's younger brother, Prince Edward, and his wife, Sophie.
After the family entered the church, congregants sang
God Save the King
followed by the Christmas hymn
O Come, All Ye Faithful.
Sandringham has been the private country home of four generations of British monarchs for more than 160 years, but this was the royal family's first Christmas there since 2019, according to Britain's Press Association news agency.
Elizabeth II spent her last two Christmases at Windsor Castle due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Crowds lined the streets near Sandringham to greet the royal family on Sunday as they returned to the Christmas tradition.
“He will be in the king's thoughts about his mother and her legacy.
They'll be thinking of her over Christmas," said John Loughrey, 67, who lives in south London and camped out overnight to be first in line.
“It's going to be a sad and happy time for them.
This is how it has to be,” he added.