A royal tradition. Following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, Buckingham Palace honored the monarch with a message on an easel set outside the gates.
The announcement reads: “The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon. The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow.” Hours before the statement was released, photos of a rainbow above the palace went viral.
The statement was the same note that the palace shared via social media on Thursday, September 8. The palace also released a photo of the queen — a portrait taken in February 2006 in honor of her 80th birthday. Late photographer Jane Bown, who took the picture at Buckingham Palace, included the shot in her 2009 book, Exposures.
“I spent my whole life worrying about time and light. If I had time it was something, but if I had light it was even better,” Brown told The Independent before her 2014 death.
Friday, September 9, marked the start of the official mourning period in the U.K. as church bells rang at Westminster Abbey and St Paul’s Cathedral.
One day after his death, the queen posted a heartfelt message in honor of her husband via the official royal family Instagram account. The post included a photo of the couple, who got married in November 1947.
“At The Queen’s Coronation in 1953, The Duke of Edinburgh swore to be Her Majesty’s ‘liege man of life and limb,'” the caption read. “The Duke was a devoted consort (companion to the Sovereign) for almost 70 years, from Her Majesty’s Accession in 1952 until his death.”
The message added a quote from a speech given by the queen during her wedding anniversary in 1997: “He has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years, and I, and his whole family, and this and many other countries, owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim, or we shall ever know.”
The longtime monarch continued to mourn her husband and she chose to have a quiet birthday following his passing.
“The Queen had a somber birthday this year,” a source told Us Weekly at the time. “She’s grieving the loss of her beloved husband, Prince Philip, and spent the day with her corgis. She spoke to family members who are rallying together to keep her company.”
While the queen returned to her royal duties following the eight-day mourning period, she was still missing Philip. “Prince Philip’s passing has hit the queen harder than expected, but she’s remaining calm and collected,” an insider added at the time. “She’s strong and I’m sure she’ll pull through.”
The queen later reflected on her loss and on the outpouring of love that followed. “I have, on the occasion of my 95th birthday today, received many messages of good wishes, which I very much appreciate. While as a family we are in a period of great sadness, it has been a comfort to us all to see and to hear the tributes paid to my husband, from those within the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth and around the world,” she said in a statement shared with the public on her birthday. “My family and I would like to thank you for all the support and kindness shown to us in recent days. We have been deeply touched, and continue to be reminded that Philip had such an extraordinary impact on countless people throughout his life.”
One year later, the late royal was honored during the queen’s Platinum Jubilee by Prince Charles and Prince William. “Your ‘strength and stay’ is much missed this evening, but I am sure he is here in spirit,” the Prince of Wales, 73, said during his speech at the “Platinum Party at the Palace” concert in June, referring to his late father. “My Papa would have enjoyed the show and joined us wholeheartedly in celebrating all you continue to do for your country and your people.”
Following his mother’s passing, Charles is now king of the United Kingdom. His eldest son, William, 40, will be first in line for the throne. Meanwhile, The Duke of Cambridge’s children with Duchess Kate: Prince George, 9, Princess Charlotte, 7, and Prince Louis, 4, are next in order.
Prince Harry is fifth in the line of succession.