Royal biographer Robert Hardman’s latest, The Making of a King: King Charles III and the Modern Monarchy, gives ample detail surrounding September 8, 2022—the day Queen Elizabeth died at age 96 at her beloved Balmoral in Scotland—and the days immediately after.
After the family gathered at Balmoral, the new King Charles and Queen Camilla flew together from Aberdeen Airport to RAF Northolt, in West London. From there, they drove to Buckingham Palace, where the new King asked his driver to stop outside of the gates. He made a beeline for the mourners outside, ready to shake their hands.
The first mourner reportedly asked, “Can I hug you?” to which the King said, “Of course.” Camilla, the book recounts, later recalled to friends that one of her strongest memories from that walkabout was an interaction with a woman who said to her, “Look after him for us,” of course alluding to Charles. Her poignant two-word reply? “I will,” she promised.
"The Making of a King" by Robert Hardman
Following Her late Majesty’s death but before leaving for London, Charles, along with his son and heir, Prince William, were said to have sat down to watch what was essentially a training video, The Mirror reports. It is said to have been prepared in 2015 by Sir Clive Alderton, Charles and Camilla’s private secretary; its contents ran through the first days of Charles’ reign and the most complicated feature of that time—the Accession Council.
As the rest of the royal family ate at Balmoral, father and son sat together to watch the video on an office computer. Later, Alderton described Charles’ “informal formality” in a meeting with staff.
At the same time, Charles was carefully writing and rewriting a speech before he delivered it in the evening. Camilla, for her part, sat in a corner of the Blue Drawing Room, positioned so she could watch Charles without him being able to see her. “This was in case the speech set her off crying, which it did, so she wouldn’t set him off in turn,” The Mirror writes.
The Making of a King is out now.