Prince William addressed the death of his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, for the first time on Saturday, expressing his grief and disbelief that the longest-serving British monarch was no longer.
“The world lost an extraordinary leader, whose commitment to the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth was absolute,” the prince said in a statement posted on his family’s official Twitter account.
William, 40, is the eldest son of the late Princess Diana and King Charles III, who was formally proclaimed the new monarch on Saturday. On Thursday, when news of the Queen’s declining health emerged, William was one of the family members who traveled to Balmoral Castle in Scotland to be by her side. The cause of the Queen’s death has not been announced.
In his statement, William reflected on the passing of his grandmother. “My wife has had twenty years of her guidance and support,” he said. “My three children have got to spend holidays with her and create memories that will last their whole lives.”
“I knew this day would come, but it will be some time before the reality of life without Grannie will truly feel real,” he added.
In his tribute, he also promised to honor her memory by supporting his father as the King “in any way [he] can.”
As part of the new changes happening to the UK’s monarchy, King Charles III appointed William and wife Kate Middleton, previously the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the new Prince and Princess of Wales. The previous Princess of Wales was William’s mother, Diana. William will also become the Duke of Cornwall, a title King Charles III previously held.