The King has recalled his late mother’s “devoted service” in a poignant tribute to mark the first anniversary of Queen Elizabeth’s II death.
Recorded and written at Balmoral Castle, the late Queen’s favourite residence and where she died on 8 September last year, Charles recalled “with great affection her long life, devoted service and all she meant to so many of us”.
Accompanying the tribute is the King’s favourite photograph of Her Late Majesty, showing her aged 42 in her Garter robes.
Britain’s long-reigning monarch, who served as Queen for 70 years, passed away aged 96 while surrounded by family members at her Scottish home.
In his tribute, the King thanked the nation for the love and support shown towards him and Queen Camilla over the last year and pledged their unfailing service.
Signing the letter as Charles R, the King 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.”
A formal colour photograph taken by Cecil Beaten in 1968 had been personally chosen by the King to commemorate the anniversary. It shows the Queen smiling as she is photographed while wearing the Grand Duchess Vladimir’s Tiara, made of 15 interlaced diamond circles.
Both the King and Queen are not expected to be making a public appearance for the anniversary and are said to be spending the day “quietly and privately” at the Balmoral estate.
Meanwhile, the Prince and Princess of Wales will continue to carry out royal duties and are expected to attend a special service at St Davids Cathedral in west Wales.
While Prince Harry is not expected to meet with his father or brother while on his current visit to the UK, he told an awards event on Thursday night that his late grandmother was “looking down on all of us”.
Taking to the stage at the WellChild Awards ceremony in London, the Duke of Sussex said: “As you know, I was unable to attend the awards last year as my grandmother passed away.
“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’re together, continuing to spotlight such an incredible community.”
The duke had travelled to the UK for the first time since June without his wife Meghan to attend the charity event, which supports seriously unwell children.
Shortly before last year’s ceremony, Harry withdrew from attending as he raced to Balmoral to join the royal family at the Queen’s bedside.
While the late Queen’s children are marking the day privately, soldiers and horses who took part in the state funeral procession and proclamation salutes are returning to perform Accession Day gun anniversary salutes in the King’s honour.
Prime minister Rishi Sunak also paid tribute and recalled meeting the Queen at Buckingham Palace and being struck by her “wisdom, by her incredible warmth and grace”.
“With the perspective of a year, the scale of Her Late Majesty’s service only seems greater,” he said.
“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.”
“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,” he added.
Mr Sunak said the “sacred” bond between the country and the monarch endures under the King.
He said: “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 that the lengthy queues to see the Queen lying in state showed 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.”
Recalling the moment she was informed of the Queen’s death, former prime minister Liz Truss said: “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.”
Ms Truss had only met with the Queen two days previously after she was invited to her Aberdeenshire residence to be appointed 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 said. “She was very determined to do her duty, right to the end.”
Over the course of her reign, the late Queen welcomed 15 prime ministers into Downing Street, beginning with Winston Churchill after she ascended the throne in 1952.
She died just three months after her Platinum Jubilee celebrations in June and 17 months after the death of her husband of 73 years, Prince Philip.
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