The Windsor family privately remembers Elizabeth II a year after her death

Prince William and Princess Kate attended a public commemoration, while King Charles and Queen Camilla mourned quietly at Balmoral Castle

Carlos III
King Charles III during the funeral for his mother, Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey; September 19, 2022.Danny Lawson (Getty)
Rafa de Miguel

A scant two weeks after Queen Elizabeth II’s death, conservative journalist Charles Moore wrote in The Spectator that the Anglican Church should consider canonizing the deceased queen and supreme defender of the faith. “When Pope John Paul II died, the crowds in St. Peter’s Square shouted ‘Santo subito!’ And the Polish Pope was indeed made a saint with unusual speed. What about St. Elizabeth, with Windsor as her Compostela?”

It has been a year since the passing of the monarch, a moment that deeply affected countless individuals. Her first miracle may be the manner in which the United Kingdom has swiftly adapted to her absence. The image and memory of the late queen have seamlessly integrated into a tapestry of events, kitschy souvenirs, and the heartfelt celebrations that resonate with many Britons. Last Sunday, dozens of corgi owners, the breed of dogs that the queen favored throughout her life, gathered with their beloved pets in front of Buckingham Palace. Adorned in regal attire, some even wearing tiaras atop their heads, the dogs and their devoted owners paid tribute to the late monarch. It was a rare public display of remembrance, as celebrations of life are not common in a country known for its emotional reserve and stiff upper lip.

King Charles and his wife, Queen Camilla, remained at Balmoral Castle on the anniversary of the former monarch’s death, on September 8. Much like the late queen, they often extend their summer holidays in Scotland well into September, without any scheduled public events. Following the example of the late queen, who privately commemorated the anniversary of her father’s death at Sandringham — the British Royal Family’s country retreat — the royal couple attended a service of remembrance at a small church nearby.

The king posted a short audio recording on the royal family’s Instagram page, saying, “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.”

King Charles asked his son and heir, William, along with his wife Kate Middleton, to represent the family at a public event commemorating the anniversary. The Prince and Princess of Wales visited St. David’s Cathedral, situated in Britain’s smallest city (western Wales). Meanwhile, Prince Harry was photographed by a member of the public leaving St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, the queen’s final resting place.

Britain's King Charles and Queen Camilla
King Charles III and Queen Camilla attend a religious service at Crathie Church in Balmoral; August 3, 2023.POOL (via REUTERS)

Peace in the royal family

Elizabeth II’s second miracle (ironically speaking) is her longevity on the throne. This longevity transformed her successor from an impatient and nervous heir into a revered grandfather figure. King Charles has established a royal family peace in the time after he ascended the throne with clenched teeth and signed royal decrees with a shaky hand. Against the advice of his son, the monarch has decided to embrace his brother, Prince Andrew, after almost four years of isolation following his embarrassing association with American pedophile millionaire Jeffrey Epstein. Photographers were allowed to take pictures of the Duke of York riding a horse at Balmoral on September 7, followed by a drive in the royal Range Rover. The king also invited his brother to the annual end-of-summer family gathering held by the Windsors at their Scottish residence. According to royal experts, this is not the beginning of any formal rehabilitation for Andrew. He will not recover the stripped military titles and royal patronages. With his popularity plummeting and the sharp contempt of most Britons, it’s hard to imagine a return to public life for Andrew. However, the king wants to preserve the family nucleus, especially considering the anniversary of Elizabeth’s death. The late queen never hid her preference for Andrew amid all the scandals.

A rapidly fading Prince Harry

Prince Harry
Prince Harry at the Well Child Foundation Awards in London; September 7, 2023.TOBY MELVILLE (REUTERS)

The British tabloid press has extensively covered Prince Harry’s recent visit to the U.K. While his wife, Meghan Markle, remained in the United States, the Duke of Sussex participated in the annual awards ceremony of the Well Child Foundation, a British charity for children with severe illnesses. Prince Harry has been a patron of this organization for 15 years. However, he was not invited to the family gathering in Scotland, and Frogmore Cottage — the residence he and Meghan used during their stays in England — is no longer available to him. Charles has not been seen with his second son since his coronation ceremony on May 6 and, according to royal family sources, Harry has not spoken to his brother in months.

After 70 years of preparation, Charles III was surprised by the overwhelming workload that comes with being king, say some of his advisors, who prefer to remain anonymous. Nonetheless, he is willing to take on the challenge if he can forge a family truce that will allow him to fully focus on his new role.

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