The Most Heartbreaking Moments From King Charles In The Year Since The Queen's Death

King Charles hasn't had the easiest year since his mother's death in September 2022. Queen Elizabeth is said to have died from natural causes at the age of 96, and she was the longest-reigning British monarch in history. "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. We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished Sovereign and a much-loved Mother," Charles said in a statement published on the royal family's official website. Charles, who lost his father, Prince Philip, a year earlier, was immediately thrust into the role that he'd been preparing for all of his life — he was the new king of England. 

It's been a bit of a whirlwind for Charles, who mourned his mother's death while simultaneously stepping into her shoes. He went from taking part in his mother's funeral services to starting to prep for his coronation, which would take place eight months later. And although Charles may have familiarized himself with royal protocols and whatnot, nothing could have truly prepared him for the heartbreaking moments that he would experience over the next 12 months of his life.

King Charles walks behind his mother's coffin in September 2022

King Charles was front and center at the funeral service for his mother in September 2022. All eyes were on Britain's new king, as just about everyone appeared to be taking cues from him. Charles remained stone-faced through much of the procession behind his mother's casket, and he didn't show much of a reaction until Queen Elizabeth's committal service at Windsor Castle. According to Hello! magazine, Charles appeared to become emotional just before his mother's casket was "lowered into the royal vault." It was during the national anthem that Charles seemed to be unable to hide his sadness. 

About a week prior, crowds of people gathered outside of Buckingham Palace where they left flowers and candles for the late queen. When Charles arrived, he walked about, greeted some people, and spent some time looking at the items that had been left in his mother's honor. According to My London, Charles appeared emotional as he stood outside of his mother's home — an undoubtedly heartbreaking moment for him that he may have played over and over again in his mind before it actually happened.

King Charles mourned the loss of his cousin in December 2022

Three months after the death of his mother, King Charles mourned the loss of his first cousin, Max, Margrave of Baden. Margrave Max was the son of Prince Philip's sister, Princess Theodora of Greece and Denmark. "Margrave Max always felt a great responsibility for the common good and was involved in many functions in the state of Baden-Württemberg," read the House of Baden's statement on Max's death. "He always had an open ear for people in need, for people who asked him for help," the statement continued. Max died on December 29, 2022.

A funeral service for Max was held on January 13 in Germany and was not attended by Charles or his wife, Queen Camilla. However, according to German news outlet SWR Aktuell, the British royal family was represented by Heinrich Donatus von Hessen, also known as Donatus, Prince and Landgrave of Hesse. King Charles did not release an official statement about the passing of his cousin.

King Charles made a heartbreaking remark about Prince Harry

Since the death of Queen Elizabeth II, the chances of reconciliation between King Charles and his youngest son, Prince Harry, seem even more unlikely. Harry had an incredibly close bond with his grandmother, and she was often the reason that he'd kept in touch with his family following his decision to step away from royal life. And while Charles hasn't said too much about his relationship with his son, he has been asked many times. In February, during a trip to the University of East London's Stratford in honor of the campus' 125th anniversary, someone shouted to the king, "Bring back Harry please, can you please bring him back please, Sir?" according to The Mirror. Evidently not hearing the man, Charles' responded, "Who?" to which the man replied, "Harry, your son." The king's response was nothing short of heartbreaking. "It would be nice," he said.

Three months later, Harry would attend his father's coronation, but the two are still believed to be on the outs — however, it's possible that could change. OK! magazine reports that the father and son are trying to carve out some time for "peace talks" among the royal family in September. "Staff are trying to fine-tune the details as we speak," a source told the outlet. 

King Charles was solemn during his coronation in May

On May 6, the congregation gathered at Westminster Abbey for the coronation of King Charles, who was officially crowned king of Britain eight months after he ascended the throne. While a coronation is supposed to be a joyous occasion, Charles kept his composure throughout. The event was a solemn one for the new king, who didn't so much as crack a smile as he went through the motions, all of which are deeply rooted in tradition. According to the Royal Collection Trust, "this ancient ceremony is an occasion for spectacle and celebration. The English ceremony has remained essentially the same for a thousand years."

The passing of the torch, so to speak, happens months after the previous monarch's funeral due to the celebratory nature of the event itself, according to Penhaligon's, with the outlet calling the ceremony "happy and glorious." Indeed it seems that Charles masked his excitement with ease, perhaps being overcome with a variety of emotions. There was undoubtedly a lot on Charles' mind throughout the day, from remembering his mother to having his estranged son, Prince Harry, among the crowd. Charles did ease up a bit during his carriage ride back to Buckingham Palace though, and we even got to see the king smile a few times.

King Charles was seen crying at the Royal Ascot in June

Back in June, King Charles attended the Royal Ascot for the first time without his mother. Queen Elizabeth II loved the annual event, as she was a very big fan of horse racing. "My philosophy about racing is simple. I enjoy breeding a horse that is faster than other people's," she said in a BBC documentary, "The Queen's Racehorses: A Personal View," according to the Associated Press. "And to me, that is a gamble from a long way back. I enjoy going racing but I suppose, basically, I love horses, and the thoroughbred epitomizes a really good horse to me," she added.

As Charles carried on the tradition of the monarch's presence at the race, he couldn't hold back his emotions when his horse, Desert Hero, won, per The Guardian. While Charles may have been shedding tears of joy, we can't help but think just how heartbreaking the moment was for him. In an interview after the race, Charles' niece, Zara Tindall, said that the whole thing was "bittersweet," and we totally see why.