This month sees the first anniversary of the passing of Queen Elizabeth II. We understand that King Charles III will mark the day in very much the same way his mother did for King George VI’s anniversary: a day of quiet contemplation – in her case at Sandringham, where her father died, and for the King Balmoral, which is where the Queen died.
The King has always been deeply religious and a day spent in prayer and meditation is a luxury he seldom has time for. A loner at heart, he is at his most content on Royal Deeside, which he has frequently described as the place he loves most on earth.
The royal family’s Scottish sojourn is precious to them all and especially so this year. Parts of the castle are being renovated and areas that were open to the public remained accessible until mid-August. This gave the family less time than usual to be there to enjoy the grouse shooting, stalking and fishing essential for the profitable running of the sporting estate.
The Prince of Wales has come in for some light-hearted criticism for his apparent unwillingness to wear the kilt. William has not been photographed in a kilt since he was a child, so it has been assumed in the media that he is not fond of the traditional Highland dress. I am sure that William would look magnificent in a kilt, given his height and athletic build.
When he became first in line to the throne he acquired a number of new Scottish titles: Duke of Rothesay, first conferred by King Robert III on his eldest son David in 1398; Earl of Carrick and Baron of Renfrew; Prince and Great Steward of Scotland (the hereditary office dating from the 12th century); and – my favourite – Lord of the Isles. This ancient title, held by those who ruled the Western Isles as vassals of the kings of Norway, Ireland or Scotland, was annexed to the crown by James V of Scotland in 1540 to be passed to his heirs.
With that many Scottish titles, I am pretty sure that we will see William in a kilt before too long. Balmoral is also his favourite place and was, of course, where he and Harry were staying when they were told that their mother had died following a car crash in Paris on 31 August 1997, now 26 years ago.
This month the Duke of Sussex, who celebrates his 39th birthday on 15 September, is travelling to Germany with the Duchess of Sussex for the Invictus Games Düsseldorf. The games, which Harry launched in March 2014, were first staged that September to great acclaim in London’s Olympic Park. Archewell Productions’ documentary series Heart of Invictus, which follows a group of remarkable veterans around the globe to the 2022 games in The Hague, with the duke as its executive producer, is due to be shown soon on Netflix. However, nothing is certain in the multi-million-dollar world of entertainment, as Harry and Meghan have recently been discovering.