By Danica Kirka | Associated Press
LONDON — With gun salutes and tolling bells, the United Kingdom on Friday marked the anniversary of the death of Queen Elizabeth II and the ascension of King Charles III, who remembered his mother as a symbol of stability during her 70-year reign.
Charles and Queen Camilla observed the anniversary at the family estate in Scotland and attended a service of remembrance at a small church nearby where the late queen worshiped.
“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,” Charles said in a recorded message. “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.”
Military units commemorated the king’s accession to the throne by firing salutes at the Tower of London on the east side of the capital and Green Park near Buckingham Palace. The bells of Westminster Abbey pealed at 1 p.m.
Heir to the throne Prince William and his wife, Catherine, attended a commemorative service at St. Davids Cathedral in Wales that included prayers said in both English and Welsh and the singing of the hymn “Thou knowest, Lord, the secrets of our hearts.”
In one notable moment, the couple walked to a portrait of the prince’s grandmother and the princess laid flowers in front of the image. They then stood in solemn silence.
Meanwhile, a member of the public photographed William’s younger brother, Prince Harry, leaving St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, the queen’s final resting place.
Harry, who no longer has an official royal role, traveled to London from his home in California to attend a Thursday charity event. He wasn’t expected to meet his father or brother during the visit. Harry is due to attend the Invictus Games for injured soldiers in Germany this weekend, alongside his wife, Meghan.
Harry told attendees at the awards ceremony sponsored by WellChild, which helps seriously ill children get the treatment they need at home rather than in a hospital. that his grandmother would be proud of them.
“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,” he said.
The king released a previously unpublished photograph of the queen that shows her at the height of her power at age 42. The picture by Cecil Beaton, a noted fashion photographer who often shot members of the royal family, shows Elizabeth in the robes of the Order of the Garter and wearing the Grand Duchess Vladimir’s Tiara, made of 15 interlaced diamond circles.
The queen’s death triggered an outpouring of national mourning as hundreds of thousands of people filed past her coffin to honor the only monarch most had ever known.
“People across the U.K. — 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,” British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said in a statement.
Friends also took to social media to remember the late and beloved queen. Her senior dresser and confidante, Angela Kelly, posted a black and white image of the queen with the message: “I will never forget you. I will always love you. I miss you my friend.”
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Elizabeth, who took the throne at the age of 25, was a broadly respected figure whose constant presence helped unify the United Kingdom as it negotiated the end of empire and the growth of a modern, multi-cultural nation fueled by immigrants from around the world. Her death triggered questions about the future of the monarchy.
But Charles has moved smoothly into his new role, avoiding controversy and concentrating on building bridges between the four parts of the U.K. and the myriad ethnic and religious groups that make up its population.