A whirlwind visit. King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla rounded out their royal tour of the U.K. in Wales ahead of Queen Elizabeth II‘s funeral.
The new monarch, 73, was accompanied by his wife, 75, at the Llandaff Cathedral in Cardiff on Friday, September 16, as the nation continues to mourn the loss of its longest-reigning queen. The twosome later received a Motion of Condolence at the Senedd, with Charles set to host a meeting at Cardiff Castle and attend an event for local charities with Camilla.
Buckingham Palace outlined the pair’s schedule in a statement, noting: “Their Majesties will be greeted at the Cathedral by the Lord Lieutenant of South Glamorgan. A Service of Prayer and Reflection for the Life of The Queen will be led by the Dean. The Archbishop will give the address and the First Minister will be called upon to give a reading. The Bishop of Llandaff and Interfaith leaders will lead the prayers.”
The statement continued: “After the Service has taken place, The King and The Queen Consort will undertake a short walkabout on Llandaff Green to meet with school children and members of the local community.”
Charles and the former Duchess of Cornwall arrived in Wales via helicopter and were welcomed with a gun salute from the 104 Regiment Royal Artillery at Cardiff Castle.
The eldest son of Elizabeth and Prince Philip assumed the throne following his mother’s death on September 8. She was 96 when she passed away at her Balmoral residence in Scotland. Charles and other members of the royal family rushed to be by her side earlier that day as the queen’s doctors grew more concerned for her health.
“The death of my beloved mother, Her Majesty The Queen, is a moment of the greatest sadness for me and all members of my family,” His Majesty wrote in an emotional statement hours after the palace announced Elizabeth’s death. “We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished Sovereign and a much-loved Mother. I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world.”
Charles went on to address the big changes coming for the monarchy as he transitions into his new role. “During this period of mourning and change, my family and I will be comforted and sustained by our knowledge of respect and deep affection in which The Queen was so widely held,” he added.
While a date for his coronation has not yet been confirmed, Charles was officially proclaimed king during a meeting with the Ascension Council on Saturday, September 10. At the time, he declared that the U.K. would recognize a national bank holiday on Monday, September 19, in honor of Elizabeth’s funeral.
“I take this opportunity to confirm my willingness and intention to continue the tradition of surrendering the hereditary revenues, including the crown estate to the government for the benefit of all in return for the sovereign grant which supports my official duties as head of state and head of nation,” Charles noted during his speech to the council. “In carrying out the heavy task that has been laid upon me, to which I dedicate what remains to me of my life. I pray for the guidance and help of almighty God.”
Funeral proceedings have been underway as Elizabeth’s coffin traveled back to London from Scotland. Charles was with his relatives — including Prince Harry and Meghan Markle — when the late monarch’s casket was received at the palace on Tuesday, September 13. One day later, the former Prince of Wales was joined by Harry, 38, Prince William, Princess Anne and more during the royal procession to Westminster Hall, where Elizabeth will lie in state until her funeral.
As the family continues to grieve, Charles has been leaning on his wife for support. “King Charles calls Camilla his ‘tower of strength,’” a source exclusively told Us Weekly. “[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] 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.”
Scroll down for a closer look at King Charles and Camilla’s trip to Wales: