Leaning on his family. King Charles III is depending on son Prince William and wife Camilla after inheriting the throne from his late mother Queen Elizabeth II, a source exclusively tells Us Weekly.
“King Charles calls Camilla his ‘tower of strength,’” the insider reveals. “[He] says she makes him a better man. This is obviously a challenging time for him as he transitions into a new era without his beloved mother and he’s incredibly emotional.”
Charles stepped into the role of king following Elizabeth’s passing on Thursday, September 8. The late sovereign, who was the longest-running monarch in British history, “died peacefully” in her sleep at age 96 while at her Balmoral estate in Scotland, Buckingham Palace announced at the time.
On Friday, Camilla, 75, stepped out with Charles on her first day as queen consort to greet well-wishers outside of Buckingham Palace. While a sad day for the couple, who wed in 2005, it was also a monumental one as they assumed their new titles.
“[Charles] knows he’ll never outshine the queen and doesn’t expect to, but he does plan to make a difference in his own, unique way,” the insider explains to Us, adding that he has been “working closely with Prince William in a slimmed-down monarchy.”
Later on Friday, the king made his first speech as the new royal patriarch of the U.K. In his remarks, Charles officially announced Camilla’s new title and declared William and Kate, both 40, the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall, respectively. The Cambridges’ have also inherited the respective titles of Prince of Wales and Princess of Wales, which formerly belonged to William’s father and late mother, Princess Diana.
During his address, the king also expressed “love” for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle as they “continue to build their lives overseas” in California — a moment royal expert Gareth Russell exclusively told Us was an “olive branch” to the Sussexes amid royal tensions.
As another one of his first proclamations as king, His Majesty extended the country’s mourning period for Elizabeth.
“Following the death of Her Majesty The Queen, it is His Majesty The King’s wish that a period of Royal Mourning be observed from now until seven days after The Queen’s Funeral,” a Friday statement read, noting that a date for Elizabeth’s funeral has yet to be announced. “Royal Mourning will be observed by Members of the Royal Family, Royal Household staff and Representatives of the Royal Household on official duties, together with troops committed to Ceremonial Duties.”
Traditionally after a monarch’s death, the country enters a 12-day bereavement period while staff uniforms change, TV comedy programs are paused and flags are flown at half-mast.
According to a second insider, while the “royals knew that Elizabeth’s end was near,” the family is “struggling to come to terms” with the reality of her death.
While the king and Duke of Cornwall are balancing their new duties with their grief, the Duke of Sussex, 37, is especially upset about his grandmother’s death after he failed to arrive in Scotland in time to say his last goodbyes.
“Harry is guilt-stricken — full of sorrow and regret about not saying goodbye to the queen,” the source tells Us. “They met up a couple of times during the Platinum Jubilee, but he by no means expected it to be the last time he saw her.”
The Invictus Games founder officially stepped down from his royal duties in January 2020 to move to the United States with his wife Meghan Markle, but he managed to maintain a close relationship with the late royal matriarch.
“He loved his grandmother with all his heart and is going through a terrible time right now,” the source adds. “The news hasn’t fully sunk in.”