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King Charles III Marks One Year Since Mother, Queen Elizabeth II’s Death


Friday will be a melancholy day for the British royal family as they commemorate both the passing of Queen Elizabeth II and the first year of King Charles III’s rule.

On September 8 of last year, months after her historic Platinum Jubilee festivities honoring 70 years of the British monarchy, the late monarch passed away peacefully at the age of 96 at her country retreat of Balmoral.

Charles is currently staying at Balmoral, the cherished royal estate in Aberdeenshire where his mother took a yearly summer vacation. When the King arrived a few weeks ago, there were no longer any doubts about whether the custom would continue.

Since then, a number of family members have been seen entering and exiting the Scottish home. However, a royal insider informed CNN that they will all have left on Friday. Additionally, no open events will be held there.

Like his mother, who frequently spent her own Accession Day in private at Sandringham House, where her father King George VI died in his sleep in 1952, Charles has chosen to handle the intensely personal day by avoiding the media, aside from a brief appearance after attending church.

The King has nevertheless produced a brief audio statement in which he pays tribute to his mother’s “devoted service.”

“In marking the first anniversary of Her Late Majesty’s death and my accession, we recall with great affection her long life, devoted service and all she meant to so many of us,” the King said.

“I am deeply grateful, too, for the love and support that has been shown to my wife and myself during this year as we do our utmost to be of service to you all.”

Charles also made available a beloved photo of his mother, taken by Cecil Beaton in 1968 and only previously shown in an exhibition, along with the voice message. It depicts the Queen, who was 42 years old at the time, smiling while standing sideways in her Garter robes. The Grand Duchess Vladimir’s Tiara, which is composed of 15 interlinked diamond circles, is on her head.

The Prince and Princess of Wales will participate in the celebration by attending a brief, private service honoring the late matriarch’s life in Wales. He’s supposed to represent the family in speaking.

The pair will go to St. Davids Cathedral in St. Davids, Pembrokeshire, the smallest city in all of Great Britain. Since David, the patron saint of Wales, and his monastic community came there in the sixth century, St. Davids has been a place of pilgrimage and prayer for more than 1,400 years.

The two will next meet members of the village, some of whom have already seen Queen Elizabeth II on earlier trips to the area.

The Duke of Sussex also paid tribute to his grandmother by praising her sense of duty in a speech at a charity event in London on the night of the anniversary.

“As you know, I was unable to attend the awards last year as my grandmother passed away,” Prince Harry said Thursday at the awards ceremony for UK charity WellChild, which helps children with serious health problems.

“As you also probably know, she would have been the first person to insist that I still come to be with you all instead of going to her. And that’s precisely why I know, exactly one year on, that she is looking down on all of us tonight, happy we are together, continuing to spotlight such an incredible community,” he said.

The duke made a brief trip back to the UK to support the organization he has supported for more than ten years. The fifth in line to the throne is not anticipated to see his personal family during the brief visit, and he will soon be on the move once more as he is anticipated in Germany for the Invictus Games opening ceremony in Dusseldorf on Saturday.

Although Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, was not present in the British capital with her husband, she is anticipated to do so soon after the games begin in Germany.

The transitional period ends on the anniversary of the late Queen’s passing, and the Carolean era officially starts. According to a number of royal specialists, the King has strengthened the monarchy during the last 12 months by integrating the two reigns.

“The hallmark of his first year, perhaps to the surprise of some, is stability and continuity,” Vernon Bogdanor, leading UK constitutional expert and historian, told CNN.

“Britain is now a multinational state with devolution in four parts and he visited each part of the UK after his accession, and I think he’s very sensitive and conscious of that,” explained the research professor at the Centre for British Politics and Government at King’s College London. “And also, very sensitive and conscious of the fact that Britain is a multicultural society.”

Charles, he continued, is a “modern King” who is “arguably more sensitive to these newer aspects than the late Queen.”

According to Craig Prescott, a constitutional law scholar and lecturer at Royal Holloway, University of London, Charles’s first year in office could not have gone any better.

“For many people, there was just a concern about having the new monarch because it was a new experience for practically the whole country,” Prescott said. “The surprise is that not that much radical has happened.”

He continued: “There’s been a lot of discussion for the past 30 years about what sort of King Charles would be and actually he’s followed the template of his mother quite closely. This year has been really one of continuity rather than change.”

Recent UK polls suggest that this is the case, with the majority of respondents believing the King has done a “good job” in the year after his coronation. The results, however, confirmed a generational divide on whether or not Britain should maintain a monarchy, with support declining with respondents’ ages.

Prescott stated that the King had adopted a more direct strategy since taking office and that he had been addressing some public apathy by making subtle tweaks while he was still figuring out the full extent of his new position.

He cited the monarch’s incorporation of the traditional coronation ritual while modernizing it for contemporary Britain, as well as the invited congregation, as examples of the subtle modifications he is making. Additionally, he continued, there have “been quite a few engagements with elements of diversity and inclusion.”

Bogdanor claims that the King will still encounter difficulties in building support for the antiquated institution in contemporary Britain, particularly among younger people.

“The monarchy can’t remain as it were and has to move on with the times. If it moves on too far, it loses support. If it doesn’t move on at all, it loses support. The trick is to get the balance right,” Bogdanor said.

“This is a task for Charles. He’s also fortunate in having the Prince of Wales which will help in the modernizing process. But it’s a very continuous flow of modernization which is on the whole hidden from the public.”

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