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This is how the royal family will pay tribute to Queen Elizabeth II on death anniversary

The former butler to King Charles and Queen Camilla shares his thoughts

Kate Ng
Thursday 10 August 2023 16:51 BST
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King Charles III arrives at Westminster Abbey ahead of Queen's funeral

The nation will soon mark the first death anniversary of the late Queen Elizabeth II, who died on 8 September 2022.

According to reports, the Prince and Princess of Wales will lead tributes to the late monarch on the anniversary of her death.

Prince William and Kate Middleton will reportedly deliver a message to Britons in honour of the Queen’s legacy, although it is unclear whether this will be made in person, broadcast on television, or released on social media.

Meanwhile, King Charles III is reportedly expected to spend his mother’s death anniversary “quietly and privately” at Balmoral in Scotland, where she passed away.

Grant Harrold, former royal butler to King Charles and Queen Camilla when they were still the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, told The Independent exclusively that, like all big royal anniversaries, the first year will be an important one.

“The public will want it to be noted, lots of people will be reflecting and remembering and that’s what the royal family will do,” he said.

However, Harrold does not believe there will be any events to mark a year since the Queen’s passing. Instead, any commemorations will be “more reflective”.

“If there [are] any royal duties that the family are undertaking, they will continue as normal, I’m sure we will see people call out and ask them if they’re remembering the Queen today and, of course, they will say they are,” he said.

“The biggest indication will be what we see on social media. It will not surprise me at all if we see any videos and posts – that’s how it will be marked because that’s the way things are done now.”

Catherine, Princess of Wales and Prince William, Prince of Wales leave after a service for the reception of Queen Elizabeth II's coffin at Westminster Hall, on September 14, 2022 (Getty Images)

Harrold, who worked for Charles and Camilla from 2004 to 2011, added that members of the royal family are now much more “modern” with their approach to social media.

He pointed to William and Kate sharing “lovely behind-the-scenes videos” of the King’s coronation in May and said there may be similar “unseen” footage or images involving the Queen released to remember her.

Noting how religious the late Queen was, he added: “For her father’s [death] anniversary, the Queen would always mark it by being at Sandringham on the day and would actually go to church. It wouldn’t surprise me if members of the Royal family decide to go to church.”

Britain Coronation King At Last (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Following the death of King George VI, Queen Elizabeth stayed at Sandringham every year from Christmas until after 6 February, which was the day he died.

Charles usually stays at Balmoral for his summer break, and will likely do so until after the Queen’s anniversary.

Harrold offered his thoughts on what Charles and Camilla will do to mark the day and said: “As far as whether something is done in terms of a tribute, I don’t think anything public will be done. It’s more than likely going to be behind closed doors.

“I think it’s going to be a day for the family to be a family, to reflect and remember. The King won’t be making any speeches on the day, they are a family that are private when it comes to these things. However, keep an eye out on their social media channels as this is likely to be where any tributes or memories are shared.”

Following the anniversary, Charles and Camilla are reportedly set to go on their postponed state visit to France. The royal couple were originally scheduled to go in March, but were forced to postpone it due to widespread protests in the country over retirement age reforms.

According to reports, the King and Queen may also go to Kenya in the autumn, marking Charles’ first major trip to a Commonwealth country since he took the throne.

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