On 14 November King Charles III will celebrate his 74th birthday. He is not a big fan of birthdays and will no doubt keep as quiet about it as he can, especially as from next year he will have two – the sovereign’s official birthday in June and his own 75th in November. There is also a coronation to be scheduled in and it is thus fortunate that our new monarch has boundless energy. He will need it.
I am delighted to see that 40-year-old Prince William, now the Prince of Wales, carries on with enthusiasm some of the issues that his father is obliged to leave behind. Both are passionate about the natural world and worry about its survival. In October Prince William spoke eloquently about the illegal wildlife trade at the United for Wildlife global summit in London.
‘Our natural world is one of our greatest assets,’ he said. ‘It is a lesson I learnt from a young age, from my father and my grandfather, both committed naturalists in their own right, and also from my much-missed grandmother, who cared so much for the natural world.’
William, who founded the taskforce with the Royal Foundation in 2014, highlighted the reality of many criminals killing and trading wild animal parts, believing that they can act with impunity. ‘Too many lives are being destroyed and too many species are on the brink of extinction due to this heinous crime,’ he observed.
In 2015 William travelled to China and had a meeting with President Xi Jinping, who later took the monumental step of banning the trading of elephant ivory within the country, which was a huge victory for the prince.
William and Catherine took their children to their new school, Lambrook at Winkfield Row, a short drive from their Windsor home, for the first time on 7 September, the day before the Queen died. The following afternoon Catherine decided to stay behind when William flew to Balmoral so that she could explain the situation to George, Charlotte and Louis first-hand.
Exactly three weeks after the Queen died, her death certificate was published by the Registrar-General for Scotland, Paul Lowe. It records that Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor, a widow, died at Balmoral Castle in Ballater, Aberdeenshire, at the age of 96. The certifying registered medical practitioner was Douglas Glass, a GP in the village of Aboyne. He had been Apothecary to Her Majesty’s Household since 1998 and saved the Queen Mother’s life when she choked on a fishbone.
Dr Glass said he had been keeping an eye on the Queen during the summer at Balmoral as he lives less than 20 miles away. He was able to make frequent visits without causing a fuss or worrying anyone. He confirmed that he was present when she died and told The Times ‘it was not unexpected’. ‘We had been concerned about the Queen’s health for several months.’
The historic document reveals that Her Majesty died at 3.10pm, two hours before the rest of her immediate family managed to join Charles and Anne at the castle. The cause of death is given as ‘old age’, as was the case when Prince Philip died in April 2021.