King Charles, PM Sunak lead UK tributes on Queen Elizabeth II's death anniversary

Queen Elizabeth II died aged 96 on September 8 last year


Britain's King Charles III and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak led tributes to the late Queen Elizabeth II on Friday, the first death anniversary of the country's longest-serving monarch, and praised her dedication and service to the nation.

Queen Elizabeth II died aged 96 on September 8 last year.

In a statement recorded at Balmoral Castle the Scottish castle where his mother breathed her last, Charles also thanked people for the "love and support" shown to him and his wife Queen Camilla since then. 

Buckingham Palace had previously announced that the royal couple would be marking the solemn occasion privately, with bell-ringing at Westminster Abbey in London to mark the King's first year of reign among the public events on the agenda.

In marking the first anniversary of Her late Majesty's death and my Accession, we recall with great affection her long life, devoted service and all she meant to so many of us, Charles said in his message.

I am deeply grateful, too, for the love and support that has been shown to my wife and myself during this year as we do our utmost to be of service to you all, he said.

Sunak, in his message, praised the scale of the late monarch's 70-year service and expressed the nation's gratitude for such an extraordinary life of duty and dedication.

With the perspective of a year, the scale of Her Late Majesty's service only seems greater. Her devotion to the nations of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth only seems deeper, he said.

I treasure my memories of those occasions when I met Her Late Majesty, in particular the private audience I had with her at Buckingham Palace before presenting my first Budget as Chancellor. 

"I was struck by her wisdom, by her incredible warmth and grace, but also her sharp wit. People across the UK  whether they had the good fortune to meet Her Late Majesty or not  will be reflecting today on what she meant to them and the example she set for us all. We will cherish those memories, he added.

The Opposition Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer, said the late Queen "always enjoyed a special bond with her people". His message read: "It was a relationship built from her understanding that service of this great nation is the thread that unites sovereign and subject."

Buckingham Palace has also released a new portrait of the late Queen taken by Cecil Beaton in 1968 when she was 42. In it, the late monarch is standing side-on to the camera, wearing her Garter robes and the Grand Duchess Vladimir's Tiara, made of 15 interlaced diamond circles.

The Prince and Princess of Wales, William and Kate, will attend a special service at St. Davids Cathedral in St. Davids, west Wales, in memory of Queen Elizabeth II and a 62-gun salute will be fired at the Tower of London by the Honourable Artillery Company. 

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