King Charles III of Britain is commemorating a significant milestone this week as he completes his first year as monarch. His reign has been notable for its seamless transition from the era of his late mother, Queen Elizabeth II.
The anniversary, which falls on Friday, 8th September, is expected to be observed in a private manner, as it coincides with the date of Queen Elizabeth II’s passing at the age of 96.
King Charles III, aged 74, has gracefully assumed his new role, having waited for nearly 70 years as the heir to the throne—the longest wait in British history.
However, despite widespread anticipation of potential reforms, the monarchy has not witnessed substantial changes under his reign, fostering a perception that he is serving as a caretaker until his eldest son and heir, Prince William, assumes the throne.
King Charles III and his wife, Camilla, were formally crowned on May 6 at London’s Westminster Abbey, in the presence of royalty and global leaders. The grand ceremony incorporated age-old traditions but was intentionally shorter and less extravagant than his mother’s coronation in 1953, aiming to better reflect the values of modern Britain.
Although King Charles III still trails behind his late mother and his 41-year-old son, Prince William, in terms of popularity, his approval ratings have seen a notable rise since ascending to the throne.
According to YouGov polls, 55 percent of Britons now hold a favorable opinion of their new head of state, compared to 44 percent just a year ago.
His inaugural televised Christmas Day address, a customary message to the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth, which he also leads, achieved a record-breaking viewership of 10.6 million in the UK.
He appeared visibly moved in his first televised address, paying tribute to her record-breaking 70-year reign and promising lifelong service.
“To my darling mama, as you begin your last great journey to join my dear late papa, I want simply to say this: thank you,” he said.
Pivotal Events in the First Year of King Charles III’s Reign:
1. CHRISTMAS MESSAGE
On December 25, Charles delivered his inaugural Christmas address to both the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth, upholding a tradition initiated in 1932. Speaking from St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, situated to the west of London, where his parents, Philip and his mother, were interred, he extended gratitude for the outpouring of “love and sympathy” in the wake of her passing.
He also celebrated the “heartfelt solidarity” of Britons who are assisting those facing increasingly challenging financial circumstances due to a deteriorating cost of living situation.
The speech garnered an unprecedented audience of over 10.6 million viewers in the UK.
2. CROWNING GLORY
On May 6, the official religious ceremony to formally acknowledge Charles as the king occurred at Westminster Abbey in the heart of London. This coronation marked a historic moment as the first of its kind in Britain since his mother’s in 1953 and the first for a king since 1937. During the ceremony, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby placed the golden Crown of St Edward upon his head.
While the majority of the Christian ritual adhered to its time-honored traditions, the service was adapted to reflect the evolving nature and diversity of modern Britain. Notably, Charles’s younger son, Prince Harry, who had published a revealing memoir about royal life in January, held no official role and was absent when the royal family greeted the public from the balcony of Buckingham Palace afterward.
3. STATE VISIT
In March, King Charles and Queen Camilla originally planned their inaugural state visit to France, but the trip had to be delayed due to civil disturbances in the region across the English Channel. As an alternative, the royal couple opted to visit Germany, during which King Charles delivered a noteworthy speech predominantly in German at the parliamentary edifice in Berlin.
In this address, he appealed for solidarity in response to the Russian incursion into Ukraine and expressed profound sorrow over the resurgence of conflict in Europe. The postponed visit to France has now been rescheduled and is set to take place later this month.
4. ‘NOT MY KING’
The passing of Queen Elizabeth II presented British republicans with a chance to promote their campaign to eliminate the monarchy.
Demonstrators, brandishing signs and donning yellow t-shirts bearing the slogan “not my king,” have frequently been spotted during royal public appearances over the past year.
During the coronation, hundreds assembled in London’s Trafalgar Square, and a police operation led to approximately 60 arrests, sparking a debate about the freedom of expression.
Additionally, Charles faced incidents of egg-throwing on several occasions, although none of the projectiles found their mark.