King Charles and Camilla greet well-wishers after private church service alongside Princess Margaret’s grandchildren – as royals lead tributes and nation comes together to remember Queen Elizabeth one year on from her death
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The King and Queen today attended a special service at Crathie Kirk to commemorate the life of the late Queen Elizabeth – and appeared moved by warm-wishes from crowds who also gathered to mark the anniversary of her death.
Charles and Camilla made the short journey by car from the nearby Balmoral Estate to the Scottish church, where successive monarchs have worshiped since Queen Victoria.
The couple spoke to crowds outside afterwards and were handed them flowers and shared their condolences. Other royals were also at the service, including the Queen’s great nephews Samuel and Arthur Chatto, sons of Lady Sarah and Daniel Chatto and the grandchildren of Princess Margaret.
And staff from Balmoral, the beloved Scottish home of the Queen where she died, also attended, walking to and from the service in the September sunshine.
The King looked emotional as he left Crathie Kirk having paid a moving tribute to his adored mother as the nation marks the first anniversary of Queen Elizabeth’s death today.
In an unprecedented break with tradition, signifying how touched he has been by the country’s grief at her passing but also pride in a remarkable life of public duty, His Majesty recalled his mother’s ‘long life, devoted service and all she meant to so many of us’.
William and Kate have travelled to Wales to grieve Queen Elizabeth’s passing and shared their own favourite pictures of the late monarch and said: ‘Today we remember the extraordinary life and legacy of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth. We all miss you. W & C’.
King Charles III looked visibly moved after leaving a service to mark the first anniversary of his mother the Queen. Camilla clutches flowers handed to them by well wishers
King Charles speaks with people at Crathie Kirk near Balmoral
King Charles has paid a moving tribute to his adored mother as the nation marks the first anniversary of Queen Elizabeth’s death. Pictured: King Charles arriving at Crathie Parish Church, Balmoral today
Queen Camilla arrives with her husband
The King speaks to the clergy as he enters the church with his wife
Samuel and Arthur Chatto were among other royals at the service
The Queen’s adored niece Lady Sarah Chatto (right) leaves with her sons
Royal staff from Balmoral and mourners following the service
Initially Charles, 74, had planned only to mark his mother’s death – and his own grief-tinged accession – in ‘quiet contemplation’ at home in Scotland.
In doing so he would follow the same pattern that Queen Elizabeth chose to adopt for 70 years, marking her father King George VI’s death, at Sandringham in Norfolk, away from public gaze.
READ MORE: ‘We all miss you’: Kate and William lead touching tributes to the late Queen as the world remembers the extraordinary woman who touched all our hearts
But in recent weeks he began to have a change of heart, having been so deeply touched by the global outpouring of grief after his mother died on September 8 last year.
Indeed, the Mail can reveal that the King and Queen Camilla chose last night not to return to their own home at Birkhall on the Balmoral estate as planned, but to remain at the castle itself where Elizabeth died at the age of 96, surrounded by the glory of the Scottish Highlands she adored.
They will remain there today, comforted by some of those who were closest to Her late Majesty, spending tonight there as well, before moving back to their neighbouring estate. A source said: ‘I think it will be of comfort to be surrounded by so much that was familiar to her.’
Meanwhile, the Prince and Princess of Wales are to mark the first anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s death with a small private service in Wales. William and Kate will attend St Davids Cathedral in St Davids, the smallest city in Britain, in Pembrokeshire on Friday. They will also meet members of the local community in the adjacent cloister, including local people who met Elizabeth II during her visits to St Davids.
St Davids has been a site of pilgrimage and worship for more than 1,400 years, since St David – the patron saint of Wales – settled there with his monastic community in the sixth century.
Since the Reformation, one of the quire stalls has been in the possession of the Crown and is known as the Sovereign’s Stall. This makes St Davids the only UK cathedral where the sovereign has a special stall in the quire among members of the chapter, the governing body of the cathedral.
In his message, Charles said: ‘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’
‘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,’ wrote King Charles
Signed W&C for William and Catherine, the heartfelt message was posted on the anniversary of the Queen’s death
Elizabeth II was the first monarch to visit St Davids Cathedral since the Reformation when she arrived at the site with her husband, the late Duke of Edinburgh, during a royal tour to Wales in August 1955 following her coronation.
In his message, Charles said: ‘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.
‘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.’
It was signed Charles R and accompanied by a portrait chosen by the King that has never been released before to the general public. The photograph was taken at Buckingham Palace on October 16, 1968, as part of an official sitting granted to the legendary Cecil Beaton – the last he was to ever undertake with Her late Majesty before he died.
It was shown at the National Portrait Gallery the following month but has not been on public release before now.
The King apparently selected the photograph because of the ‘lovely’ – and slightly mischievous – look in the eyes of his mother, who was 42 at the time.
His tribute was echoed by that of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who said: ‘On the solemn anniversary of the passing of Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, our thoughts are with His Majesty King Charles III and the whole Royal Family.
Charles kisses the hand of his mother, Queen Elizabeth, after she presented him with a Royal Horticultural Society Victoria Medal of Honour in May 2009
The King will spend today and tonight at Balmoral Castle (pictured) where his mother died a year ago
Queen Elizabeth welcomes Liz Truss during an audience at Balmoral, Scotland, in September last year
‘With the perspective of a year, the scale of Her late Majesty’s service only seems greater. Her devotion to the nations of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth only seems deeper. And our gratitude for such an extraordinary life of duty and dedication only continues to grow.
‘I treasure my memories of those occasions when I met Her late Majesty, in particular the private audience I had with her at Buckingham Palace before presenting my first Budget as Chancellor. I was struck by her wisdom, by her incredible warmth and grace, but also her sharp wit.’
And he spoke for many when he recalled the effect that she had on everyone she met.
READ MORE: King Charles marks first Mother’s Day without The Queen by sharing poignant childhood photo with his ‘beloved Mama’ – as Queen Consort Camilla shows support to others mourning parents
‘People across the UK – whether they had the good fortune to meet Her late Majesty or not – will be reflecting today on what she meant to them and the example she set for us all. We will cherish those memories,’ he said.
‘The bond between country and monarch is sacred. It endures. So, while we continue to mourn Her late Majesty’s passing, we should be proud that this remarkable legacy of service – and this remarkable bond – continues to grow today under the reign of His Majesty the King.’
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the long queues through the night to see the late Queen lying in state had shown that she ‘always enjoyed a special bond with her people’.
‘It was a relationship built from her understanding that service of this great nation is the thread that unites sovereign and subject,’ he said.
‘So, as we reflect on her legacy again today, let us embrace that spirit of public service as our guide towards a better future.’
Her last prime minister – albeit briefly – Liz Truss, with whom she was so memorably photographed for the final time, also opened up about their encounter.
She described how the frail but ‘upbeat’ and ‘mentally alert’ monarch had told her they would be ‘meeting again soon’. The Queen had welcomed Ms Truss to Balmoral on September 6 to appoint her as prime minister.
‘She was very, very keen to reassure me that we’d be meeting again soon. It was very important to her,’ Ms Truss told GB News.
The Queen had welcomed Ms Truss to Balmoral on September 6 to appoint her as prime minister
Ms Truss added: ‘She was very determined to do her duty, right to the end.’
The Queen died two days later, with Ms Truss describing the scene as she waited in Downing Street when the confirmation came at around 4.30pm.
‘We were in the Downing Street flat with, officials, other people. So when the news came through, it was sort of confirming all the worst fears that we’d had,’ she said.
READ MORE: What will happen on the anniversary of the Queen’s death? Will there be any official Royal events on Accession Day?
She recalled the King was ‘very, very resolute’ when she spoke to him to express her condolences on the phone the day his mother died and his reign began.
Today, soldiers and horses which took part in the state funeral procession and proclamation salutes signifying the new reign are to return to perform Accession Day anniversary gun salutes in the King’s honour.
Captain Amy Cooper – who was the lead rider in the procession which carried the Queen’s coffin to lie in state in Westminster Hall – will give the order to fire a 41-gun salute at midday in London’s Hyde Park.
Captain Cooper is with the King’s Troop, almost all of whom played a role in the final farewell to the Queen a year ago.
There will also be a 62-gun salute at the Tower of London by The Honourable Artillery Company, while bells will be rung at Westminster Abbey at 1pm in commemoration of the King’s accession.
The Prince and Princess of Wales will be in Wales at St David’s Cathedral where they will commemorate the life of Queen Elizabeth and speak to members of the community she met during her visits to the city.
A source said it was important to William and Kate to be in Wales in honour of their new titles and to honour the bond the late monarch had with the Welsh nation.
A source said King Charles and Queen Camilla will ‘balance between reflecting properly on the public nature of moment but finding the space for privacy to reflect in private’.
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