This weekend, King Charles led the annual Remembrance Sunday service for the first time as monarch. For any who don’t know, it’s the British day that honors those who gave their lives in service to their the country. As such, it’s always a truly sad, yet memorable occasion.
For the Royal Family, this Sunday was significant for another reason, as it marked the first remembrance service without Queen Elizabeth. Charles was a key figure at the event, though it was pictures of Queen Consort Camilla and Kate Middleton that became perhaps the biggest talking point.
Queen Elizabeth’s legacy will forever live on within the British monarchy. She reigned for over 70 years, though now it’s her son, King Charles, who sits the throne.
It should go without saying that Charles has been waiting to become King for a very long time – indeed, the evidence points toward the idea that he’s more than ready to fill his mother’s shoes, however big they might be.
Royal family at Remembrance Sunday Service
King Charles and Camilla, Queen Consort, have taken over the many duties Queen Elizabeth had. But, while they already have been performing royal duties for decades, now things will be different since they stand in a whole other spotlight entirely. This weekend just past, the couple fronted the yearly Remembrance Sunday service for the first time.
Charles led the service at the Cenotaph in central London, where people gathered to remember the brave sacrifice made by so many in defense of their country in the wars of the past.
The emotional Remembrance Sunday service was Charles’s first as monarch. At 11 a.m., the chimes of Big Ben rang, followed by the firing of guns by the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery from the nearby Horse Guards Parade. A two-minute silence followed – pictures from the event show King Charles appearing to hold back tears.
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King Charles’ wreath design was said to be a tribute to Queen Elizabeth and his grandfather, George VI, featuring his racing colors. Moreover, Prince William also placed a wreath, one which incidentally looked to be the same as the one Charles used to lay down when he was the Prince of Wales – a title he held for more than six decades before ascending the throne.
Besides King Charles and William, several other members of the Royal Family attended the yearly Remembrance Day service.
Camilla, King Charles
Camilla, the Queen Consort, and Kate Middleton, the Princess of Wales, were seen at the balcony of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office building nearby to watch the proceedings.
Camilla & Kate Middleton stood alone at balcony
But things were, as mentioned, not the same as in years past. Anyone who’s watched the Remembrance Sunday parades in recent times will know that there are usually three people standing on the balcony. This weekend there were only two; Queen Elizabeth’s spot was empty.
Yet Camilla and Kate seemed to honor the late Queen’s legacy by leaving a space between them.
The two royals wore black coats and hats and had three poppies, each pinned to their coats. The real reason why the royals wear more than one poppy has never been confirmed but Buckingham Palace. One theory is that it symbolizes their family members who fought and fell in the war.
Queen Elizabeth used to wear five poppies to the Remembrance Sunday service – this was believed to be in tribute to the five branches of armed services, including the Army, the Royal Navy, and the Royal Air Force.
Yet even as Camilla and Kate stood on the balcony, new worrying reports about the pressure now placed on the shoulders of the former also surfaced. At least that’s according to body expert Judi James, who claimed Kate made a polite but concerning gesture to the “anxious” Queen Consort.
Camilla, Kate Middleton
Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images
Speaking to the Mirror, James said that it was clear that the Remembrance Day service was a ‘nerve-wracking’ occasion for Camilla,
“Gestures of open anxiety from Camilla”
It was her first time attending the service as Queen Consort. Luckily, Kate was there to provide her with a sense of calm.
“Watching from the balcony Camilla combined signals of regal duty with some rituals of anxiety. Standing beside Kate, she performed a subtle smile of acknowledgment as her wreath was laid, and as she turned to Kate on their way from the balcony she threw a rather fond smile as Kate spoke to her,” James said.
“Camilla smiled at Kate for a second time before nodding, again in a gesture of acknowledgment as she walked ahead of Kate in her new role of Queen. Otherwise, though, there were gestures of open anxiety from Camilla. She looked unable to keep totally still and spoke to Kate at one point but while looking straight ahead rather than turning to her.”
Judi James added: “Kate turned her head quickly in a gesture of polite concern. Kate’s calm and very still body language was in contrast to Camilla’s nervous movements that showed the most in the fluttering of her hymn sheet as her two hands fiddled with it throughout.”
Kate’s bond with the King and Camilla has grown strong over the years. Ever since they met for the first time, William’s wife has been welcomed with open arms.
Not only did body language expert Judi James claim that Camilla was anxious, but she also noted that King Charles’ body language was sending a message.
King Charles had to ‘suppress emotions’
As mentioned, pictures from the service showed Charles visibily fighting back the tears. According to James, his body language signaled that he was struggling to contain his emotions.
“Charles stood at the Cenotaph as though totally alone and lost in his thoughts. His mouth was pulled down at the corners and his rapid blinking hinted he was close to tears as he remembered his mother as well as those fallen in action,” she told the Mirror.
“There was even a micro-gesture of a small spasm of the lips to show suppressed emotions as they played the Last Post.”
Though Kate appeared to be the picture of calm during the Remembrance Sunday service, she – just like Camilla – has also been feeling stressed.
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After the Queen’s passing, the Princess of Wales has undertaken evermore engagements and duties. That, couple with her family’s move to Adelaide Cottage, on the Windsor grounds, has meant that time to relax has been minimal.
According to royal correspondent Jenny Bond, their workload has been intense, and stress, therefore, practically impossible to avoid.
“It’s been a brutal [work] schedule for William and Catherine and they’ve got a very young family,” Bond told OK!.
Kate Middleton, prince William
“I think the work-life balance must have been difficult these past few weeks and, let’s face it, it’s not going to get any easier with their new responsibilities.”
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Royal expert Katie Nicholl, author of new book The New Royals, says it’s not merely been difficult. No, she goes as far as to claim that the workload, the move to Windsor, and the Queen’s passing have left William and Kate with high levels of anxiety and stress.
“They’ve said that themselves… that this hasn’t been the settling period that they had hoped for,” Nicholl said on TalkTV’s show The Royal Tea.
“Of course, they made that big move just after the summer holidays to move to Windsor. A significant and pretty bold move leaving Kensington Palace, enrolling the children in new schools, and setting up a new life for themselves in Windsor,” she added.
“I think really so that they could be below the radar and have this normal family life which they are pretty successful in having. Of course, no one could have expected that the Queen would have died just at the start of all of that. Very, very difficult times. I think behind the scenes there is a fair bit of stress and anxiety for all of the family.”
As for the aforementioned Camilla, she’s set to be crowned Queen during King Charles’s coronation on May 6. Interestingly, her title of Queen Consort might be removed at an even earlier stage.
Camilla, King Charles
According to The Telegraph, Buckingham Palace might officially style Camilla as “Queen” earlier than her husband’s coronation.
Camilla to become Queen at an earlier stage`?
The source explained that it would all depend on her popularity among the public.
If she stays in the good books with the masses – and if it appears to be popular to refer to her as Queen Camilla – Buckingham Palace might quietly drop “consort” from her title.
Of course, Camilla’s popularity among the public has grown plenty since she married Charles. It goes without saying that the affair with Charles and its effect on the much-loved Princess Diana didn’t present her in a good light. Yet over the years, royal fans have accepted her – and, most notably – started to like her.
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Despite the Queen’s death, the traditions of the Royal Family will continue to live on. Of course, there are many traditions and rules by which the family members have to live.
However, it seems like the new Queen Consort, Camilla, won’t be following all of them, as she is set to break one of the oldest royal traditions.
Camilla, King Charles
Shutterstock/Salma Bashir Motiwala
Over the course of her life, Queen Elizabeth had what was called “ladies-in-waiting.” They were in charge of supporting the monarch with personal correspondence and organizing the schedule. Moreover, they accompanied the Queen during her scheduled public appearances and, amongst other things, helped gather flowers the public wanted to give to the Queen.
Wants to do things “a little differently”
However, Camilla seems to have decided not to use ladies-in-waiting, one of the oldest positions within the royal house.
A source told Daily Mail earlier this fall that the Queen Consort wants to “remodel” the monarchy – instead of having the ladies-in-waiting keeping her longtime private secretaries.
“When she got married and set up her own office for the first time, she got two brilliant private secretaries, Amanda Macmanus and Joy Camm. But they were very much “two for the price of one,” the source explained.
“The Queen Consort will do things a little differently. She currently has two private secretaries who do some of those traditional duties anyway. And she has quite a lot of good and decent friends around her whom she can call on, as and when is necessary, to support her. I suspect she’ll dip into her close circle of friends, maybe geographically.”