King Charles III today expressed his “sincere gratitude” to those who sent messages of condolence from around the world as he spends a day off alone in Highgrove for the state funeral.
After days of public events paying tribute to the Queen, King Charles and the Queen Consort returned to their homes in Gloucestershire and Wiltshire shortly after yesterday leaving the late Queen’s coffin parade from Buckingham Palace to the Palace of Westminster.
And in reflecting on the hectic week in which he rushed to his mother’s bedside last Thursday before her death was announced later that night, the new king has expressed his gratitude to those who wish him well from around the world.
In a statement, Buckingham Palace said: “His Majesty the King and the Royal Family would like to send their sincere thanks for the condolences received from around the world.
“The Royal Family is deeply moved by the worldwide response and affection shown for the Queen as people join them in mourning the loss of Her Majesty.”
King Charles III has sent his “sincere gratitude” to those who sent messages of condolence around the world on his one day off, just for his mother’s funeral on Monday (pictured yesterday walking behind the Queen’s coffin)
The King was then seen driving himself away from the Wiltshire estate, accompanied by The Met’s Special Escort Group. He is expected to have made the 30 minute drive to his home, Highgrove House, near Tetbury in Gloucestershire.
Yesterday was the sixth official day of mourning for Queen Elizabeth II, and King Charles had a vigorous schedule that began just hours after his mother’s death on September 8.
The next day, he addressed the nation in a speech in which he held back his tears as he thanked his “darling mama” and greeted Elizabeth II as an “inspiration and example to me and all my family.”
In a moving speech delivered during a prayer and reflection service at St. Paul’s Cathedral, the King spoke of a “time of change for my family,” as he praised his “cute wife Camilla” who will become queen consort “as recognition for her own faithful public service since our marriage 17 years ago.”
On Saturday, King Charles was officially proclaimed monarch in a historic ceremony at St James’s Palace alongside Prince William and Queen Consort Camilla.
This week the new king has been to Edinburgh to walk with his mother’s coffin to St Giles’ Cathedral where he would rest before going to Hillsborough Castle in Belfast and then returning to London where he was part of the procession who brought the Queen back to Westminster Hall.
The royal couple landed yesterday afternoon at Camilla’s estate in Reybridge near Lacock, Wiltshire, where they landed in a field next to the Queen Consort’s home, Ray Mill House.
Millions of people in the UK are also being called upon to observe two minutes of silence during the closing moments of the Queen’s funeral on Monday – as part of a double moment of nationwide reflection in honor of Her Majesty.
The two-minute silence will be held Monday at 11:55 a.m., during the closing chapter of Her Majesty’s state funeral – echoing a one-minute tribute scheduled at 8 p.m. the night before.
Buckingham Palace also confirmed further details of the Queen’s funeral, which will take place at 11am at Westminster Abbey.
After days of public events paying tribute to the Queen, King Charles and the Queen Consort returned to their homes in Gloucestershire and Wiltshire respectively, shortly after yesterday leaving the procession of the late Queen from Buckingham Palace to the Palace of Westminster ( photo)
In a statement, Buckingham Palace said: “His Majesty the King and the Royal Family would like to send their sincere gratitude for the condolences they have received from around the world” (pictured at Westminster Hall yesterday)
Her Majesty has been handed over to Britain by the King to remain in the state until Monday so mourners can say goodbye (pictured in Westminster Hall)
The Queen’s casket is currently in state in Westminster Hall at the Palace of Westminster – the queue is currently about 4.2 miles long with an estimated wait time of at least 9 hours.
The King’s bodyguards maintain a continuous vigil at Her Majesty’s casket, which will last until 6:30 a.m. on the morning of the Queen’s funeral.
Tomorrow at 7.30pm, the King, the Princess Royal, the Duke of York and the Earl of Wessex will hold the Vigil of the Princes ceremony, as they did a few days ago at Edinburgh’s St Giles’ Cathedral.
The senior royals are expected to repeat the ceremonial act they performed in Edinburgh, where they ‘keep watch’ over their late mother’s coffin for 10 minutes.
Each stood on one of the four corners of the oak coffin with their heads bowed as part of the royal procession known as the ‘Vigil of the Princes’.
It is understood that the ban on Prince Andrew wearing a military uniform, which led him to choose a morning suit for public appearances this week, will be lifted as an exception to the last vigil to be held in London.
That will probably come as a relief to the Duke, who was disturbed during a procession in Edinburgh and had to bow his head solemnly as his siblings saluted as they walked behind their late mother’s coffin as it was being carried by a carriage.
But ahead of this next official engagement, the King and Queen Consort have returned to their estates in Wiltshire and Gloucestershire for the first time since their trip to Balmoral Castle on Thursday, hours before the Queen’s death.
The king is expected to have a private day of reflection after the momentous period in which he became monarch. He is not expected to attend any public events on Thursday.
The day off from public duties has always been part of the London Bridge operation – the detailed plan in the event of the Queen’s death.
Time away from the spotlight allows Charles to pause and reflect on the time that has passed since his mother’s death in Balmoral on Thursday.
Shortly after arriving, His Majesty drove away from the Wiltshire estate to make the 30-minute drive to his home, Highgrove House, near Tetbury in Gloucestershire.
He was escorted by The Met Police’s Special Escort Group. The Queen Consort did not accompany him.
When he arrived at the gates of his estate, a small crowd of people was seen waiting for him.
Charles has owned Highgrove House since 1980, having bought it from Maurice Macmillan, a Conservative MP and son of former Prime Minister Harold Macmillan.
He has expanded the estate over the years and now owns approximately 1,900 acres of strictly organic farmland.