Notes show that Charles had begun to use an “R” for “rex” – Latin for “king” – the initial letter that monarchs usually use when signing letters. Signed by Queen Elizabeth as “Elizabeth R”. Represents “Regina” or the Queen.
Taking personal notes on the coffins of those holding public funerals has been an unofficial royal tradition for decades. The Queen has previously left notes on the coffins of her mother, Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, who died in 2002, and her husband Prince Philip, who died last year.
For her mother, the Queen wrote her farewell message on the same coat of arms at Buckingham Palace, as Charles did during Monday’s funeral procession. She reportedly used her personal stationery for her 74-year-old husband. In both notes, the Queen signed her message not “Regina” but the more familiar “Lillibet”, her girlhood name.
At Princess Diana’s 1997 funeral, an unforgettable sight featured envelopes tucked in white floral spray that read one of her children, Prince William, then 15, and Prince Harry, then 12. It says “Mummy”.
Parting notes were not only exchanged between royals: when Queen Elizabeth’s father, King George VI died in 1952, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill left a note in a floral eulogy dedicated to the king, It says “For Courage”. The same text is engraved on the Victoria Cross, the highest honour awarded to members of the British Armed Forces.
In addition to Charles’ personal notes, the flowers on the Queen’s coffin tell their own story.
According to Buckingham Palace, the king asked for the wreath to contain flowers and leaves cut from the gardens of Buckingham Palace, Clarence House – where William, Prince of Wales and his wife Catherine, Princess of Wales officially live in London – and Highgrove Charles and his Wife Queen Camilla lives at the house in Gloucestershire.
The leaves include rosemary, which symbolizes remembrance; English oak, the power of love; and myrtle, a plant symbolizing a happy marriage, which grew from a sprig of myrtle in Elizabeth’s 1947 wedding bouquet. At the request of the king, the wreath was made in an environmentally sustainable manner, the palace said.
At the request of the king, the wreath contains rosemary, English oak and myrtle (cut from a plant grown in myrtle in the Queen’s wedding bouquet) and flowers in gold, pink and burgundy with tinges of white , cut from the gardens of the Royal Residence. pic.twitter.com/5RteIWahuW
– Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) September 19, 2022