Prince Charles leaves a note with flowers on Queen Elizabeth’s coffin

King Charles III added a personal touch to Queen Elizabeth II’s state funeral, paying tribute to his late mother and predecessor. On Queen Elizabeth’s coffin, Charles left a handwritten note among the lush bouquets he had personally chosen.

The note contained a simple yet moving message: “In loving and devoted memory.”

Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin was carried past Horse Guards Avenue after her funeral at Westminster Abbey in central London on Monday 19 September 2022.

Alkis Konstantinidis/pool photo via AP

Charles signed the memo as Charles R., with an “R” for Rex, the Latin word for king.

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This gesture of leaving a note on a royal coffin is at least a decades-old tradition. Most recently, Queen Elizabeth herself left a handwritten note on the coffin of Prince Philip, who died in 2021. Part of her message said, “I love you.”

Elizabeth and Philip had been married for over 70 years, and letters played an important role in their courtship.

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Those who remember Princess Diana’s funeral may recall the heartbreaking moment when Prince William, then 15, left a note on Princess Diana’s funeral wreath in an envelope that simply read “Mummy.” Hmm.

The origins of this tradition may be traced back to the funeral of Elizabeth’s father, King George VI, in 1952. As King, George led Britain through World War II with Winston, his Prime Minister at the time, Churchill. When George died, Churchill sent a funeral wreath that prominently displayed the note. The message read: “For valor”, a phrase that adorns Britain’s highest military honor, the Victoria Cross.

When Churchill died in 1965, Queen Elizabeth reciprocated his kind words to her father by writing “Thanks to the Nation and Commonwealth, Elizabeth R.” I left a note. (In this case, the “R” stands for Regina, the Latin word for queen.)

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When Charles left a note on his late mother’s coffin, he placed it among a very symbolic bouquet of flowers he had specifically requested.

The flower wreath was plucked from the royal residence and included clippings from a myrtle bush grown from the twigs of the plant that were in Queen Elizabeth’s wedding bouquet.

“At the King’s request, the wreath includes flowers and leaves cut from the gardens of Buckingham Palace, Clarence House and Highgrove House,” the royal family said in a statement ahead of the funeral.

“This includes leaves chosen for their symbolism; rosemary for remembrance; myrtle, an ancient symbol of a happy marriage; Cut from a plant grown in the English oak symbolizing the strength of love.”

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The wreath also contained fragrant pelargoniums, garden roses, autumn hydrangeas, sedums, dahlias and scabies. Added.

“Again at Your Majesty’s request, the wreath is made entirely sustainably, with a nest of English moss and oak branches, and without the use of floral foam.”

It seems that notes and wreaths were not the only things that adorned the Queen’s coffin at her funeral, along with the royal crown, scepter and orb. One sensitive Twitter user spotted a small spider on Charles’ handwritten notes as the Queen’s coffin passed through Westminster Abbey.

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“Royal spiders keep flying until the end,” wrote one Twitter user.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Prince Charles leaves a note with flowers on Queen Elizabeth’s coffin

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