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British Royals

King Charles III and Queen Camilla: a year of history


It was a year of history for King Charles III and Queen Camilla. The first few months were a build up to the spectacular ceremony of the Coronation but 2023 contained many more major moments, including their first outgoing State Visits. Here, we look back at a truly memorable twelve months for The King and Queen.

January 2023

i-Images / Pool

The King stepped into a New Year as further details of his Coronation were announced. Plans for street parties, an extra Bank Holiday and a spectacular Coronation concert were all shared in greater detail as the month progressed.

February 2023

i-Images / Pool

As preparations for the Coronation progressed, King Charles and Queen Camilla continued visits around the UK. In February, there was a spectacular show to greet them as they headed to the London Borough of Tower Hamlets and a walk along the legendary Brick Lane.

March 2023

i-Images/ Pool

Politics intervened in a first for King Charles and Queen Camilla as their debut outgoing State Visit had to be postponed after riots broke out in France against planned pension reforms by President Emmanuel Macron. Instead, Their Majesties ended up making their first State Visit to another country by heading to Germany which had actually been lined up as their second historic trip. It was a huge success, marked by cordial relations with their host, President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, and popular visits which brought out considerable crowds, despite the drizzly weather. A glittering State Banquet was a high point.

April 2023

Picture by Stephen Lock / i-Images

As the Coronation Chair of Mary II was removed from Westminster Abbey for rehearsals for the crowning of Charles III and the exquisitely decorated invitations, designed by Andrew Jamieson, was sent out, Their Majesties headed to York where King Charles III later handed out the first Maundy Money of his reign at the special service, held this year at the famous Minster.

May 2023

Hugo Burnand

It was a moment of history. Nine months after his accession, Charles III arrived at Westminster Abbey. The King processed through the ancient church with Queen Camilla for a ceremony that has changed little in centuries but which was altered subtly to reflect the changing times of Charles III. Only his heir, the Prince of Wales, made the Homage of the Blood Royal while everyone in the Abbey and beyond was invited to join in a voluntary Homage to the newly crowned king. But at the heart of the ceremony was a moment that linked the new King to all his predecessors. The Archbishop of Canterbury lifted St. Edward’s Crown high in the air and placed it on the Monarch’s head before ‘God Save The King’ rang out around Westminster Abbey.

June 2023

Sgt Donald C Todd/ UK MOD © Crown copyright 2023

The spectacle and celebration of the Coronation was followed by a packed month of royal traditions with King Charles and Queen Camilla at their very centre. Trooping the Colour took place with a King riding at the front of the procession for the first time in seven decades and Her Majesty in a coatdress inspired by the uniform of the Grenadier Guards of which she is now Colonel. Royal Ascot followed with a big royal turnout and a rather emotional Charles III watching Desert Hero, a horse bred by his beloved mother, secure him his first win as Monarch. And, for the very first time, The King was at the Service of the Order of the Garter as Sovereign of the Order. It was a truly special month for The King and Queen.

July 2023

i-Images/ Pool

Another truly special event took place in the early days of July 2023. King Charles headed to Edinburgh for the Presentation of the Honours of Scotland. The ceremony and parades before it became known as His Majesty’s Scottish Coronation even though the Crown of Scotland stayed firmly on a cushion with The King laying his hand upon it to make a pledge to Scotland. A People’s Parade ahead of the ceremony and a flypast afterwards ensured another day of pomp and ceremony to put an official seal on the reign of King Charles III.

August 2023

Royal Family/ Instagram

King Charles arrived at Balmoral for his summer stay in a bitter sweet moment in the year. Twelve months earlier, he had begun his 2022 holiday in Scotland as his mother returned to Balmoral for what would prove to be her final time there. August 2023 was a time of contemplation for The King spent in a place that held so many memories.

September 2023

President de France You Tube still/ fair use

The first anniversary of the reign of King Charles III fell on September 8th 2023 and was spent privately. Soon afterwards, King Charles and Queen Camilla finally made it to France in September 2023 for their rearranged State Visit but it was more than worth the wait. Just months after the streets of Paris had seen protests against Emmanuel Macron, the President of the Republic of France found himself cheered along the same routes because of a king. Cries of ‘Vive Le Roi’ rang out more than once as Charles III charmed France. Queen Camilla was just as big a hit, striking up a warm friendship with First Lady, Brigitte Macron, and winning plenty of fans as she attempted to play table tennis. His Majesty’s speech to French Parliament went down just as well and set the seal on King Charles and Queen Camilla’s diplomatic role.

October 2023

Stephen Lock/ i-Images

As autumn took hold, Queen Camilla provided some much needed sparkle by debuting a tiara that had always been associated with Queen Elizabeth II. Her Majesty’s decision to wear the Girls of Britain and Ireland diadem to an event marking the Coronation in the City of London was a real change of era moment. The month ended with the first visit of the reign of King Charles III to a Commonwealth country. Their Majesties made a State Visit to Kenya where King Charles expressed his ”deepest regret” over violence during the struggle for independence.

November 2023

Picture by i-Images / Pool

For the first time in seven decades, it was a King’s Speech that opened Parliament. Charles III, accompanied by Queen Camilla, oversaw the State Opening of Parliament in a ceremony filled with tradition.

December 2023

Stephen Lock/ i-Images

The last month of the year allowed King Charles to put the focus firmly on one of his greatest passions, the environment. In a landmark speech at the opening of COP28, His Majesty told those attending that ”the Earth does not belong to us”. He highlighted the importance of working to protect the planet, too, in his Christmas speech, delivered in front of a living tree from the Centre Room at Buckingham Palace. It was the same room he had stepped from to greet the crowds earlier in the year at his Coronation and a fitting end to twelve months that had been dominated by this historic moment in the reign of King Charles III.

About author

Lydia Starbuck is Jubilee and Associate Editor at Royal Central and the main producer and presenter of the Royal Central Podcast and Royal Central Extra. Lydia is also a pen name of June Woolerton who is a journalist and writer with over twenty years experience in TV, radio, print and online. Her latest book, A History of British Royal Jubilees, is out now. Her new book, The Mysterious Death of Katherine Parr, will be published in March 2024. June is an award winning reporter, producer and editor. She's appeared on outlets including BBC 5 Live, BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Local Radio and has also helped set up a commercial radio station. June is also an accomplished writer with a wide range of material published online and in print. She is the author of two novels, published as e-books. She is also a marriage registrar and ceremony celebrant.