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How Brits rated King’s first year as he faces ‘supercharged’ summer

Buckingham Palace garden party.

Source: The Royal Family

Shaking his top hat at the end of the national anthem, the King was in great spirits alongside the Queen this week as he hosted the first garden party of the British summer with 8000 guests at Buckingham Palace.

It also marked the week he celebrated the first anniversary of his coronation, with the palace asking the public to post a memory of the big day on the royal family’s social media.

The 75-year-old monarch was crowned alongside his wife, Queen Camilla, 76, at Westminster Abbey in London on May 6 last year.

It followed the death of his mother Queen Elizabeth, aged 96, in 2022.

His first year after the coronation began well. The King and Queen were running a soft, steady ship despite ongoing tabloid headlines about his estranged son, Harry, and brother Prince Andrew.

“It’s been surprising in its lack of surprises,” royal commentator Pauline Maclaran told the BBC in September.

“People have very quickly become used to him as King.”

Then came a series of bombshells that threw the royal family into turmoil.

In January, the King was admitted to hospital for a corrective procedure for a benign enlarged prostate. Tests later uncovered a “form of cancer” for which he’s since been treated.

Then came the news the most popular senior royal, the Princess of Wales, 42, had also been admitted to hospital in January. After major abdominal surgery, she vanished from public view.

It lead to outrageous speculation, forcing Kate to deliver the news via video message on March 22 that she was having preventative chemotherapy after tests revealed cancer.

A May 7 Ipsos poll revealed the royal family’s image has improved since March, and questioned whether it was because they were getting the sympathy vote.

Ipsos’ head of political research, Gideon Skinner, said the family’s public image had “proved resilient over the past few months”.

“As the King resumes public-facing duties, he is greeted by an uplift in his popularity and that of other key royals,” Skinner said.

“However, it is unclear whether this is a temporary boost due to a rise in public sympathy or a more lasting change.”

More than 55 per cent of Britons believe the King is doing a good job, and the public attitudes remain supportive about the royal family’s decision to share private health information about the King and Kate.

Princess of Wales reveals her cancer treatment

Source: Kensington Palace

‘Supercharge the diary’

The King kept up private royal duties after his cancer diagnosis. Then, with insiders telling The Sun he told aides to “supercharge” his diary for this summer, he resumed public duties with a visit to a cancer centre in London on April 30.

Kate, 42, remains out of the public eye and is a confirmed no-show for the upcoming BAFTA TV awards. There is still no date for her return.

On Thursday, the King met military staff and their families at a training base for the Army’s Royal Engineers – telling them he had finally been “allowed out of my cage”.

Although the King’s diary will be carefully managed to minimise any risks to his health, the palace said he might also attend some high-profile annual events.

This could include overseeing his official birthday celebration at the Trooping the Colour military parade in June, as well as commemorations for the 80th anniversary of the World War II D-Day landings, also in June.

The palace has confirmed the King and Queen will host a state visit by Japanese Emperor Naruhito and his wife Empress Masako later that month.

The King and Queen, (at the time, Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall) on the Gold Coast in 2018. Photo: Getty

Will the King come to Australia?

The King has visited Australia 15 times, dating back to his time at Geelong Grammar. He was last here in 2018 to open the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, and to visit Queensland and the Northern Territory.

While a date has yet to be set, a visit to Australia this year is expected to coincide with the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting that will be held in Samoa in October.

Any visit by the King and Queen would be the first to Australia by a reigning monarch since 2011.

In March, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said plans were under way.

“The King has shown his compassion for Australians affected by recent natural disasters, just as Australians have shown compassion and support for the King following his cancer diagnosis,” Albanese said.

harry invictus st paul's

Prince Harry greets well-wishers as he leaves St Paul’s Cathedral on Wednesday. Photo: Getty.

What about Harry?

The official word was that the King’s full program didn’t allow for a meeting with his youngest son, Harry, 39, when the duke made his flying visit to London last week.

The move has been widely seen as a snub from the royal household. While Harry was at St Paul’s Cathedral for his Invictus Games ceremony, his father was just five kilometres down the road at the garden party.

Harry was clearly delighted to see his uncle Earl Spencer at the service. But he cut a lone figure, with wife Meghan Markle and their two children remaining in California, and his only sibling, Prince William, nowhere in sight.

Harry and Meghan were due to be reunited as the couple began a visit to Nigeria on Friday.

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