LONDON - Britain's King Charles described the death of his mother Queen Elizabeth as the moment he had "been dreading", in an exchange with Prime Minister Liz Truss on Friday which was picked up by television cameras.
The prime minister's first meeting with the new monarch came after Charles returned to London, from Scotland, to cheering crowds outside Buckingham Palace who had come to pay their respects to the queen.
"The moment I've been dreading, as I know a lot of people have," Charles was heard saying to the prime minister as they met in the audience room at Buckingham Palace.
Earlier, Charles and his wife, Queen Consort Camilla, spent more than 10 minutes shaking hands with dozens of well-wishers and looking at floral tributes outside the palace after getting out of their car for an impromptu walkabout.
"We mustn't take up too much of your time," Charles said to Truss, who only took office herself on Tuesday.
"It has been so touching this afternoon when we arrived, all those people who had come to give their condolences ... and flowers," he added, as the prime minister also offered her condolences.
The meeting took place ahead of a televised address by Charles to the nation, in which he pledged to follow the example of his mother in devoting himself to duty.
(Reporting by Sachin Ravikumar and Farouq Suleiman, Editing by Kylie MacLellan)