As I ended my last letter, the devastating news of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth had just come through. She served our country and the Commonwealth with distinction for over 70 years. It was the news many of us had been dreading - somehow, no matter what happened, we thought all would be well as long as the Queen was there.
Many of us had known no other monarch. She was the United Kingdoms of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. She died in Scotland, the country she loved so dearly, where she could relax and be herself away from the affairs of state. However, even there she read the contents of the Red Boxes sent to her daily by Parliament.
She was steady, resolute and reassuring in bad times, and in good times, she rejoiced with us.
The outpouring of grief was of such magnitude, not just from the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth and our European neighbours, but from countries such as America, Thailand and others worldwide.
Despite their grief, the Royal machinery immediately went into action and almost seamlessly Charles, the Prince of Wales, became King Charles III. Regardless of his grief, his concern was for his people. Putting aside his own sorrow, day after day, he was seen walking up and down throngs of people who gathered outside Buckingham Palace in London, and Holyrood House in Scotland, reassuring and thanking them for their support, which in turn he was giving them. He visited the four countries of the United Kingdom, stopping to visit, mix, console and reassure throngs of grieving people. Other members of the Royal family did likewise, and Princess Anne, who also has never wandered from her royal responsibilities, was also seen, along with the new Prince and Princess of Wales - William and Catherine. Harry and Megan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, were also present, having returned from their home and lives in America.
Charles’ address to the nation was just what was needed. He spoke with such sincerity and dedication, acknowledging the task ahead of him and realising that much of the work for his many cherished charities would now be in the good hands of trusted people while he devotes his time to the duties of sovereign.
As Prince of Wales he was the President of The Prince’s Charities, which is an umbrella group of 17 charities, all of which focus on one of the following four areas: the built environment, responsible business and enterprise, young people and education, and international sustainability.
The funeral arrangements were flawless, and the pomp and ceremony was spectacular. Day after day people passed the coffin of Queen Elisabeth in sorrow and respect for all she had given us of herself. Of the queues and queues of people gathered, sadly there were some who never managed to get in before the date of the actual funeral when the lying in state ended. Monarchs and Presidents from all over the world attended together with others.
Following the religious service in Westminster Abbey, the main procession of the day lasted 45 minutes and travelled through the centre of the city, with the line of those taking part stretching for over a mile and a quarter along the Mall with the gun carriage carrying the coffin to Buckingham Palace.
And so ends the Royal House of Windsor, as we continue once again with the Carolean Era.
The term Carolean is derived from the word Carolus which is the Latin for Charles.
The reign of Charles I came to an unhappy end due to his frequent quarrels with Parliament, which ultimately provoked a civil war that led to his execution on January 30th, 1649.
Triptych of Charles 1 by Sir Anthony Van Dyck
Charles II fared better. Wikipedia tells us 'Traditionally considered one of the most popular English kings, Charles is known as the Merry Monarch, a reference to the liveliness and hedonism of his court. He acknowledged at least 12 illegitimate children by various mistresses, but left no legitimate children and was succeeded by his brother, James.'
Charles III will be crowned King at Westminster Abbey on the 6th May 2023. When he becomes king at the age of 73 years 298 days, he will be the oldest monarch at the time of his coronation. Before Charles, William IV, who became king aged 64 years, 308 days, had held his record since 1830.
Supported by Camilla (Duchess of Cornwall), I feel Charles will be a good King. Queen Elizabeth II made it clear that on her death, Camilla should be known as ‘Queen Consort’. To reign with the same dedication and excellence as our beloved Queen Elizabeth II is a weighty task, so just as Prince Philip supported our Queen, so will Camilla lend vital support to King Charles.
Despite becoming King at the moment that his mother, Queen Elizabeth II died, Charles as Sovereign will have to take the Coronation Oath. The form and wording have varied over the centuries. Queen Elizabeth II undertook to rule according to law and to exercise justice with mercy - promises symbolised by four swords in coronation regalia (the Crown Jewels) - and to maintain the Church of England. It is thought possible that additional wording may include ‘all Faiths’ in some form.
Moving on to other matters, despite all that is happening around us, I still maintain my feelings of optimism. It seems that we are in a state of chaos experienced by every strata of life, from everyday personal matters right through to global affairs. However, I believe that green shoots are on the horizon, that we must take heart no matter how difficult life can be at present, hoping we have learnt our lessons through these troubled times. I feel we must try and be resolute, and look forwards not backwards. We must be kind to each other and ourselves. In contrast to these problems, there is so much kindness around us that seldom sees the light of day as the media constantly feeds us negative information. Just stop for a moment and you will be surprised what happens when you ask for help.