One year on: What's changed since the Queen's death and what does the future hold?

In a special report, ITV News Royal Editor Chris Ship spoke to some of those who were at Balmoral when Queen Elizabeth II died and assesses what the past year tells us about the future of the monarchy

When Queen Elizabeth II cancelled her virtual meeting with the Privy Council on a Wednesday evening last September, her family, staff and then prime minister Liz Truss, who the Queen had invited to form a new government the day before, knew that something was seriously wrong.

In previous weeks and months, including during the historic Platinum Jubilee celebrations earlier that summer, we'd grown used to the monarch cancelling events at the last minute due to her failing health.

In fact, in her final year, Buckingham Palace had decided to stop announcing the Queen's attendance at events in advance and opted instead to tell us just moments before if she was actually going to be there.

That same year she had already cancelled her attendance at the State Opening of Parliament, the annual Commonwealth Day service, at Westminster Abbey, and the traditional Maundy Thursday service, in Windsor - where she was now spending most of her time.

She even cancelled two of her scheduled appearances at her own jubilee, including horse racing at the Epsom Derby.

Her courtiers would tell us there was "nothing alarming" about Queen Elizabeth's health.

It was just her "usual mobility issues", they would say. On repeat.

In private however, in the Queen's inner circle and in her family they were quietly making preparations for an imminent Accession, something the country hadn't seen for 70 years.

Obviously, they didn't know when it would happen, but they knew the day was not far away.

It makes it all the more remarkable that, just two days before her death, the Queen did her final duty as Monarch and Head of State: receiving the outgoing prime minister, Boris Johnson, and the incoming one, Liz Truss.

The significant change had been the location.

The politicians had to go to the Queen - 500 miles north of London at Balmoral Castle in Aberdeenshire - as she was too frail to make the journey to Buckingham Palace.

Queen Elizabeth met with Liz Truss two days before her death. Credit: PA

And it is why, one year on, the King will spend this week on the Balmoral estate he loves so much, away from the public gaze.

On Friday September 8, he will mark the passing of his mother in quiet contemplation at the place where she died, much like Queen Elizabeth did herself each year at Sandringham on the anniversary of the death of her own father, George VI.

The King's Standard flies atop Balmoral Castle right now, where, in keeping with his mother's tradition, Charles III has spent his summer break, walking the hills and hosting family and the prime minister. 

Just like the late Queen and late Duke of Edinburgh, Charles and his consort, Camilla, have been enjoying the contrast between the peace and solemnity of the Scottish Highlands and their busy life of public engagements across the country and overseas, during the rest of the year. 

It's one of a number of traditions the King has maintained as his new reign is marked by continuity rather than radical change. 

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His schedule is much more restrictive and predictable now he has assumed the role as Head of State. 

There are weekly audiences with the prime minister, national events to attend, a quota of State Visits to achieve, foreign dignitaries to receive on top of the annual acts of remembrance and religious worship with which he is very familiar from his previous role as Prince of Wales.

And at a time when politics is fractious (the King is already on his second prime minister) and the economic situation is highly uncertain (interest rates and cost of living) Charles III has opted for stability over radical change.

Many had this King marked out as a great reformer, a man impatient for change after spending so long as heir to the throne.

Instead, he has chosen a path of continuity after he and his aides concluded the country didn't need any further upheaval in another branch of the British constitution.

King Charles has not, thus far, been the campaigning monarch some had expected. 

Less radical revolution at the palace. More considered evolution.

Yes, he still cares deeply for the environment and the natural world, but he's using his position differently from the way he operated as Prince of Wales. 

He followed the then government advice not to attend the COP27 climate change summit in Egypt, even if that was against his own instincts (he gave the key note speech at COP26 in Glasgow when he was Heir).

He chose instead to host a reception at Buckingham Palace for the world's leading environment advocates before he left for Egypt.

Later this year, the King will spearhead a campaign against food waste. Nothing political in that and yet it still chimes with his green credentials.

The King will spend the first anniversary of his mother's death on the Balmoral estate. Credit: PA

He has supported Ukrainians living in this country, but he hasn't given big speeches about the Russian invasion.

He decided to give not a single word of response to Prince Harry's accusations in his book 'Spare' and his son's criticisms of Queen Camilla and Prince William. 

The core working Royal Family is smaller, but that's not the result of any big reforms by the King.

Rather the inevitable consequence of the Queen and Prince Philip's passing, Harry and Meghan's departure, and Prince Andrew's isolation following his controversial association with Jeffrey Epstein.

The Coronation was just as grand and put on the spectacle the world expected, but it was shorter, much smaller and significantly more diverse than the one his mother had staged in 1953. 

At every level, continuity has been the guiding principle for Charles III and his staff.

However long his reign will be, or as the King himself has put it, whatever "the remaining time God grants me", it will be much shorter than the one which came before. 

Charles and Camilla have followed royal tradition since the Queen’s death, attending events such as Royal Ascot. Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA

He has therefore accepted that his son, the new Prince of Wales, will have a much better opportunity to be the modernising monarch, when the crown is placed upon his head as King William V.

It means the legacy of King Charles, when the time comes for it to be written, will have to include his long stint as heir to the throne as well as his time on the throne itself.

But he faces a new challenge from a campaign for the UK to become a republic which is much louder and more visible than ever. The were protests at the Coronation and at nearly every big event to King attends There will be another outside Buckingham Palace on the day of the anniversary of the Queen’s death Recent option polls show support for Monarchy remains steady, but just a third of young people support the Royal Family. Monarchy is increasingly less relevant to the younger generation and many 18 - 24-year-olds would rather the country had an elected Head of State.

We have grown used to seeing the King and his Queen consort much more often than we saw Queen Elizabeth in her final years.

Change will happen under this Monarch, but at a much slower pace than many had predicted.

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