With a new King and a new Prime Minister, the British stage is set for the start of the Carolean era.
Only a heart of stone would have failed to be moved by the sorrow seen on the faces in cortège of HM Queen Elizabeth II, as they marched to the drum metronome down The Mall and Horse Guards Parade towards Westminster Hall.
The sight of King Charles III, the Princess Royal, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward, Prince William and Prince Harry struck a sombre silence over the thousands who had gathered along the route as the bands of the Scots Guards and the Grenadier Guards played funeral marches from Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Chopin.
The precision of the pageant was perfect and the empathy for the royal family was genuine, from those millions of citizens who felt they had known the Queen. This week has been both a tearful farewell to a beloved monarch and an introductory celebration of the new monarch. The Privy Council gathered in St James’s Palace to witness the Proclamation of the King, announced by former leadership contender Penny Morgan who fulfilled her role as Lord President of the Privy Council to a T, after only 4 days in the job.
The King made a fitting tribute to his mother before embarking on an exhausting tour of the devolved regions of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. The King is throwing himself into royal duties despite his obvious grief. He gave a clear indication of his desire to abide by his Mother’s example as far as the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth is concerned. “I am deeply aware of this great inheritance and of the duties and heavy responsibilities of sovereignty which have now passed to me. In taking up these responsibilities, I shall strive to follow the inspiring example I have been set in upholding constitutional government and to seek the peace, harmony and prosperity of the peoples of these islands and of the Commonwealth realms and territories throughout the world.” From what we know so far about King Charles III, he will carry on the Queen’s tradition of combining the Anglican faith with service to the nation, recognising faiths in different communities, guided by forgiveness and reconciliation, towards a harmonious society.
The Royal Family harmony and solidarity is evident. All the Queen’s children and their spouses have been out comforting the nation. The Princess Royal’s tribute to her mother was deeply touching and appreciated; the Earl and Countess of Wessex have been exemplary in their caring on the streets, this couple always go the extra mile; Prince Harry and the Duchess of Sussex are back in the royal fold; Prince Harry wore military uniform at his father’s request during Friday night’s vigil in Westminster Hall. On Saturday, the Queen’s eight grandchildren, Prince William, Prince Harry, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, Lady Louise, James Viscount Severn, Peter Phillips, Zara Tindall mounted a vigil beside the coffin.
Queen Consort Camilla is travelling with the King and is standing beside or behind him every step of the way. The British people have developed a great affection for the Queen Consort after observing her dedication, discretion, charm, elegance and support for the Royal Family. In July, as the Duchess of Cornwall, the Queen Consort guest edited an issue of Country Life magazine, giving folks an insight into her zeal for the British countryside, horses, dogs, and rural pursuits. The Queen Consort’s charity work reflects her interests, prevailing themes include health, literacy and education, nature, animals (she is patron of the Marwari Horse Society and co-patron with the King of the Elephant Family which is a movement that protects India’s wild elephants); and actively supporting the elderly, victims of rape and sexual abuse and domestic violence, empowering women; food, dance and heritage and the arts.
The King addressed 30 leaders of various faiths at a reception in the Bow Room at Buckingham Palace on Friday evening. He said, “It is the duty to protect the diversity of our country, including by protecting the space for Faith itself and its practise through the religions, cultures, traditions and beliefs to which our hearts and minds direct us as individuals. This diversity is not just enshrined in the laws of our country, it is enjoined by my own faith.” Among the guests were the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Archbishop of York, the Dean of Westminster, Rev Helen Cameron of the Free Churches Group, Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, Nemu Chandaria from the Institute of Jainology, Imam Dr Asim Yusuf and Bishop Kenneth Nowakowski of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy.
King Charles is known to have a lifelong admiration of Indian culture and traditions, a frequent visitor to Hindu temples in UK and in India. His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj, spiritual leader of the worldwide BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha Hindu fellowship, sent his condolences to HM King Charles. As the Prince of Wales, the King has visited India ten times, he is an aficionado of architecture and would have enjoyed India’s historic temples and forts, being a keen watercolourist he might have painted these in their landscape if his schedule allowed.
A source tells of Mumbai’s famous dabbawalas who have also paid tribute to Queen Elizabeth. They said, “We share the grief of the family of King Charles.” In April 2005, the Association of Dabbawalas sent a sari for HRH the Duchess of Cornwall and a Maharashtrian turban for Prince Charles on the occasion of their marriage. Charles accepted the gifts and extended a special invitation to the association for two members to attend his wedding.
Some folks say that mourning makes people stronger. With a new King and a new Prime Minister, the British stage is set for the start of the Carolean era.