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Thursday, July 14, 2016, 09:14

Theresa May becomes Britain's new leader

By Associated Press

Theresa May becomes Britain's new leader
New British Prime Minister Theresa May and her husband Philip May stand on the steps of 10 Downing Street in London, July 13, 2016. David Cameron stepped down Wednesday after six years as prime minister. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

LONDON — Theresa May entered No. 10 Downing St., on Wednesday as Britain's new prime minister, following a bittersweet exit by David Cameron that was tinged with humor and regret.

"I was the future once," Cameron quipped as he left office. But that future now belongs to May, and it involves instability, uncertainty and tough wrangling over Britain's departure from the European Union.

Britain's transition of power unfolded with startling speed since the June 23 referendum on EU membership. Cameron announced his resignation after voters rejected his appeal to stay in the 28-nation bloc, and May, the former home secretary, became Conservative Party leader Monday after an abbreviated contest in which her only remaining rival dropped out.

Then came Wednesday's ceremonial choreography: Two trips to Buckingham Palace and two audiences with Queen Elizabeth II that ended with one prime minister out of a job and a new one curtseying to the monarch to begin her term.

May stood in front of the iconic door of No. 10 with her husband, Philip, as the 13th prime minister of the queen's reign and the first woman to hold the job since fellow Conservative Margaret Thatcher served from 1979 to 1990.

She acknowledged that Britain faces a rocky road ahead as it undoes 43 years of EU ties and forges a new relationship with its neighbors.

"Following the referendum, we face a time of great national change," May said. "And I know because we're Great Britain we will rise to the challenge.

"As we leave the European Union we will forge a bold new positive role for ourselves in the world and we will make Britain a country that works not for a privileged few, but for every one of us," she said.

Theresa May becomes Britain's new leader
New British Prime Minister Theresa May speaks to the media outside her official residence,10 Downing Street in London, Wednesday July 13, 2016. David Cameron stepped down Wednesday after six years as prime minister. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

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