An unqualified success, the coronation – with all its excitement and spectacular pageantry – is over. The reality of what lies ahead is what is important now, for the monarchy and for the King and Queen.
As they are both in their mid-seventies – Queen Camilla is 76 in July – their energy levels are not those of youth. Although King Charles III ignores fatigue and frequently works late into the night, he still gets exhausted. His large workload leading up to the coronation culminated in a reception for royalty and heads of state from around the world. The next day he was up and dressed early to ready himself for the greatest performance of his life.
When the coronation ceremony was over and things had moved back to Buckingham Palace, the final act of the momentous day was for the King and Queen to host a private lunch for their families. Only then was there time for a brief interlude of peace and quiet until the concert on the east lawn at Windsor Castle the following evening.
As if that wasn’t enough, the King was out and about again two days later, in Cambridge. His Majesty was there to break ground on the new Whittle Laboratory, which will speed up technological developments in the quest towards net zero aviation by 2035 – a challenge proposed by the then Prince of Wales in 2020.
The month of June is the busiest in the royal calendar with the Epsom Derby, the first King’s Birthday Parade (Trooping the Colour) since 1951, Garter Day and Royal Ascot week, a favourite of Queen Elizabeth II. Whether or not the King and Queen will carry on the tradition of entertaining different guests to lunch and a day’s racing over the week remains to be seen. I suspect they will.
The Prince and Princess of Wales have the unenviable burden of being the most popular members of the working royal family. Together with their children they are the ones that keep the world engaged with the institution that they represent. They were mobbed wherever they went during the Coronation Weekend and it was William’s task to deliver a speech about his father at the Coronation Concert. It was a triumph.
At times such as this His Majesty should have the final word. ‘As the Coronation Weekend draws to a close, my wife and I just wanted to share our most sincere and heartfelt thanks to all those who have helped to make this such a special occasion,’ he said in a written message.
‘We pay particular tribute to the countless people who have given their time and dedication to ensuring that the celebrations in London, Windsor and further afield were as happy, safe, and enjoyable as possible.
‘To those who joined in the celebrations – whether at home, at street parties and lunches, or by volunteering in communities – we thank you, each and every one. To know that we have your support and encouragement, and to witness your kindness expressed in so many different ways, has been the greatest possible coronation gift, as we now rededicate our lives to serving the people of the United Kingdom, the realms and Commonwealth.’