On 6th May 2023, King Charles III became the oldest monarch in our royal history to be crowned. Led by the Archbishop of Canterbury, this important ceremony marked the official start of his reign and took place at Westminster Abbey, where Coronations have been held since the rule of William the Conqueror. Our first Coronation for seven full decades, the crowning of His Majesty was viewed by an estimated 20 million people in the UK alone, and millions more worldwide. In the year since his inauguration, the monarch has dedicated himself to his official duties in the United Kingdom and overseas, including continuing his support of charities for causes such as sustainability. In November, he marked his milestone 75th birthday by launching the Coronation Food Project, which aims to tackle food poverty and waste, and, one month later, delivered the opening address at the UN’s COP28 conference in the UAE, that addressed the issue of climate change.
Following his state visits to France, Kenya and Dubai towards the end of last year, His Majesty will embark upon a number of different royal tours throughout 2024, including to Australia and New Zealand for the first time as monarch. Accompanied by Queen Camilla or the Prince and Princess of Wales, the King is expected to mark the 200th Anniversary of the establishment of the NSW Legislative Council, which celebrates centuries of democracy in Australia, and attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting which is being held in nearby Samoa. The Head of State may also visit Spain, with King Felipe VI expected to award him The Order of the Golden Fleece, the highest decoration of the Spanish Royal Household which dates back to the Middle Ages. A momentous occasion, this historic gesture aims to reflect the longstanding ties among the two nations and mark a beginning of a new era of relations.
Exactly 85 years ago, George VI spoke to the people of Britain in a radio broadcast as the Second World War began. Throughout the conflict, which spanned six full years, the King, accompanied by Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, boosted the morale of troops, workers and victims of war, gaining popularity for empathising with the public and visiting communities to offer support. As a powerful symbol of courage and fortitude, Their Majesties remained at Buckingham Palace for the majority of the war, despite nine direct bombings and severe damage during the Blitz. The monarch also visited his Army in Northern France just ten days after D-Day, one of the key turning points of the war. This year marks the historic 80th anniversary of this important mission, and George VI’s grandson, King Charles III, is expected to attend official commemorations honouring the heroes of the Battle of Normandy.