King Charles makes poignant tribute to Queen Elizabeth on first anniversary of his mother's death

8 September 2023, 00:05 | Updated: 8 September 2023, 01:00

King Charles has made a poignant tribute to the Queen
King Charles has made a poignant tribute to the Queen. Picture: Alamy/Getty

By Kit Heren

King Charles has issued a heartfelt statement praising the Queen on the first anniversary of her death, and thanking the British public for their support.

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Queen Elizabeth II died aged 96 on September 8 last year, sparking an outpouring of sorrow, as well as tributes to her long life and many years of service.

Charles, her son who succeeded her, issued a statement on Friday lauding "her long life, devoted service and all she meant to so many of us".

The message, which was recorded at Balmoral Castle in Scotland where the Queen died, was accompanied by the release of a favourite photograph of his mother.

The photo that Charles chose shows a young Queen, then 42, at an official portrait sitting in 1968. It was taken by Cecil Beaton.

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.

Read more: 'The Queen is looking down on all of us': Prince Harry's poignant tribute on eve of anniversary of late monarch's death

Read more: 'Queen Elizabeth was at peace and had no regrets before she died', says church minister

The Queen in 1968
The Queen in 1968. Picture: Alamy

Charles said in his tribute: "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."

He signed his message "Charles R". R stands for 'Rex', the Latin word for king.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak also paid tribute to the Queen.

"With the perspective of a year, the scale of Her Late Majesty's service only seems greater," he said.

Charles and the Queen in 2009
Charles and the Queen in 2009. Picture: Getty

"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."

Mr Sunak said he treasured his memories of meeting the late monarch and was struck by her "wisdom, by her incredible warmth and grace", but also her "sharp wit".

"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.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer praised the Queen's "special bond" with the British people.

Queen Elizabeth
Queen Elizabeth. Picture: Getty

“Today marks a year since the passing of the late Queen, Elizabeth the Second," he said. "And a year since the country came together to pay our respects.

"As those remarkable scenes inside and outside Westminster Hall showed so clearly, the late Queen 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.

“So as we reflect on her legacy again today, let us embrace that spirit of public service as our guide towards a better future."

Queen Elizabeth
Queen Elizabeth. Picture: Getty

Prince Harry, the Queen's grandson, was in the UK on Thursday night to attend an awards ceremony held by WellChild, the charity of which he is a long-term patron.

He told the audience that the Queen is "looking down on all of us".

"As you know, I was unable to attend the awards last year as my grandmother passed away," he said.

"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."

Charles is not expected to meet with Harry during his son's brief stay in the UK. He has been staying at his Birkhall residence and Balmoral over the summer.

Queen Elizabeth
Queen Elizabeth. Picture: Getty

Meanwhile Prince William and Kate Middleton are expected to attend a special service in St Davids Cathedral in St Davids, west Wales.

In London, 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 gun anniversary salutes in the King's honour.

Captain Amy Cooper - who was the lead rider in the procession which carried the Queen's coffin to lie in state in Westminster Hall - will give the order to fire a 41-gun salute at midday in Hyde Park.

Almost all of the King's Troop riding out - in their distinctive dress uniform of gold braided jackets and busby hats accompanied by the Band of the Grenadier Guards - played a role in the final farewell to the Queen a year ago.

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 following the death of the late monarch.

Bells will be rung at Westminster Abbey at 1pm in commemoration of the King's accession.

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