King Charles has recorded a poignant message and released a favourite photograph of his mother to mark the first anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s death and his accession to throne.
The king, in words written and audio spoken at Balmoral Castle where the queen died on September 8 last year, said he recalled with “great affection her long life, devoted service and all she meant to so many of us”.
Friday is a year since the nation’s longest-reigning monarch, who was queen for 70 years, died peacefully of old age at 96, just months after her platinum jubilee.
The formal colour photograph chosen by King Charles was taken by Cecil Beaton and shows the queen, then 42, in an official portrait.
She is standing sideways and smiling as she is photographed in her Garter robes and wearing the Grand Duchess Vladimir’s Tiara, made of 15 interlaced diamond circles.
The king, in his short tribute, thanked the nation for the love and support shown to him and Queen Camilla during his first year as monarch, and pledged their continued 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.”
His written message was signed Charles R.
The Prince and Princess of Wales are expected to attend a special service in St David's Cathedral in west Wales, according to reports, in memory of the queen on an emotional day for the royal family.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak also paid tribute to the late queen, reflecting on her legacy.
“With the perspective of a year, the scale of Her late Majesty’s service only seems greater,” Mr Sunak said.
He said he treasured his memories of meeting the queen and was struck by her “wisdom, by her incredible warmth and grace”, but also her “sharp wit”.
King Charles has been staying at his Birkhall residence and Balmoral Castle in Aberdeenshire over the summer.
He is not expected to have time in his diary to see his son Harry, Duke of Sussex, who flew to London for a WellChild award ceremony on Thursday evening before the start of the Invictus Games in Germany.
Soldiers and horses who 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 on Friday.
A 62-gun salute will also be fired at the Tower of London by the Honourable Artillery Company – with the regiment and the King’s Troop both responsible for gun salutes after the death of the late monarch.
Bells will be rung at Westminster Abbey at 1pm in commemoration of the king’s accession.