“I think the letter was a poignant moment and I think it reminds us that Charles is grieving for his mother,” royal expert Myko Clelland exclusively told Us Weekly on Monday, September 19, following the late sovereign’s state funeral service held at Westminster Abbey. “Anyone who’s lost a parent can maybe sympathize. It must be incredibly difficult.”
The envelope placed on the casket read, “In loving and devoted memory” and included the new monarch’s official royal signature of “Charles R” — a touching gesture that reminded royal watchers of Prince William and Prince Harry‘s note to their late mother, Princess Diana, at her August 1997 funeral.
“I think [he had pride for] his mother and the great things she’s done, and I can imagine it’s probably quite daunting to step into such big shoes, but Charles has had a lot of preparation,” the MyHeritage.com genealogist shared with Us. “All of these things — these chances to say goodbye — I think they bring an incredible amount of closure and they do help in this process. I think all of those little touches are important for Charles as well as for the nation.”
The expert continued: “[Charles has] now got so much more responsibility,” calling the monarch’s period of public mourning — coupled with his new role as king —a “very difficult time.”
“He has to lead the nation through this farewell … we’ve seen moments where Charles has had tears in his eyes, we’ve heard his voice break a little bit in certain speeches, and there’s a clear, huge amount of love and respect for Elizabeth that you can see go through all of that,” Clelland explained.
In addition to the letter, the king made sure to adorn the casket with additional symbolism: bunches of rosemary for remembrance, English oak for the strength of love and myrtle, which represent a happy marriage (a sweet nod to Elizabeth’s seven-decade marriage to the late Prince Philip, who died in April 2021 at age 99). The myrtle had been cut from a plant that was grown from a sprig in her original 1947 wedding bouquet.
Elizabeth’s coffin — which also was adorned by the Sovereign’s Orb and the Sovereign’s Sceptre With Cross — was carried into Westminster Abbey by the British royal navy on the State Ceremonial Gun Carriage. Charles and his siblings — Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward — followed on foot. William, Harry and Peter Phillips also joined the march.
After the royal family had arrived at the 700-year-old cathedral, they were joined by Princess Kate, Meghan Markle, Queen Consort Camilla, Sir Tim Laurence and Sophie, Countess of Wessex. William and Kate’s eldest children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, walked alongside their parents before the memorial began.
Following the service, Charles, his sons and his siblings accompanied Elizabeth’s coffin from Westminster Abbey to Wellington Arch. The casket was then driven in a hearse to Windsor Castle for a committal service with the family. As Monday came to an end, she was buried alongside the late Duke of Edinburgh.
With reporting by Christina Garibaldi