King Charles III has paid a moving tribute to Queen Elizabeth II on the first anniversary of her death.
The monarch shared a voice message and his favorite official portrait of his late mother on Thursday evening. It was a year ago today that the queen died aged 96 at Balmoral Castle.
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In the short message, the king thanked the nation for the “love and support” shown to him and Queen Camilla during his inaugural year on the throne.
“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.
The photo His Majesty chose was captured at Buckingham Palace on October 16, 1968, as part of an official sitting granted to Cecil Beaton. The British photographer first shot the queen in 1942, then continued to photograph her and many other members of the royal family over the subsequent decades.
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… pic.twitter.com/NfM6LDWTA0
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) September 7, 2023
This portrait was captured in their final sitting together in ‘68. Her Majesty, who was 42 at the time, can be seen wearing her Order of the Garter star, her Garter robes, and the Grand Duchess Vladimir’s tiara. The image was first shown at the National Portrait Gallery between November 1968 and March 1969, but has not been publicly released until today.
In addition to his message, the King and Queen Camilla attended Crathie Kirk church in Aberdeenshire on Friday morning for private memorial prayers. The Prince and Princess of Wales, who are currently in the west of Wales, will commemorate the late queen with a small private service at St Davids Cathedral, according to the BBC. The Duke of Sussex reportedly visited St George’s Chapel, Windsor, this morning to pay his respects to his grandmother, as reported by The Telegraph.
U.K. prime minister Rishi Sunak also paid tribute to the late monarch. “Her devotion to the nations of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth only seems deeper,” he said. “And our gratitude for such an extraordinary life of duty and dedication only continues to grow.” Sunak also praised the queen’s wisdom, grace, and “sharp wit.”
“People across the U.K.—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,” he added.