The King and Queen have travelled to Scotland to begin their private mourning for Elizabeth II in the place she loved best.
After 12 days of duty, hosting world leaders and serving as the face of a grieving nation, the King retreated on Tuesday for a week of private reflection.
There was only one place he could go – Balmoral, where his mother found peace in life and death.
Accompanied by the new Queen, the King left Windsor Castle on Tuesday after spending the night there with his extended family.
Flying from RAF Northolt to Aberdeen and being driven via eco-friendly electric car, they are expected to stay at their own home of Birkhall, on the Balmoral estate, which was inherited from Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.
There, the King will be able to visit the last place he saw his mother, who died at the age of 96 on Sept 8 while at Balmoral.
The King and his sister, the Princess Royal, were able to reach her bedside before she died peacefully.
The Balmoral estate was a particular favourite home of the late Queen, with a special place in the heart of the Royal family who spent happy summers there together each year.
It is largely private, allowing them to picnic, walk unobserved and host guests in happier times.
The monarch will continue with his constitutional duties. He will read red boxes and is likely to hold some telephone audiences that cannot wait.
But, a source said, it is a moment for “quiet reflection” for the King and Queen to grieve for their late mother and mother-in-law and process all that has happened since her death.
Shortly after Queen Elizabeth II’s burial, in the King George VI Memorial Chapel in Windsor on Monday night, the Royal family’s social media shared a photograph of her on the Scottish estate.
Underlining its importance to her, it showed the late Queen in the wilds of the Scottish hills surrounded by heather.
Taken in 1971 by her cousin, the 5th Earl of Lichfield – a photographer whose archive contains a treasure trove of images of the off-duty Royal family over numerous Balmoral summers – it is thought to be previously unseen. It was retrieved from the royal archives to commemorate Her Majesty’s death.
A caption, posted online, echoed the Shakespeare quote used by the King in his first television address to the nation to say: “May flights of Angels sing thee to thy rest.”
It added: “In loving memory of Her Majesty The Queen. 1926-2022.”
The King has previously considered Highgrove to be his personal sanctuary, briefly returning there for a night away from the London spotlight between the late Queen’s death and her funeral.
The King has asked the Royal family to observe another week of royal mourning, in which they are not expected to make public appearances.
Some events have been cancelled and, although senior members of the Royal family will be permitted to visit patronages or thank the public where it feels appropriate, there are currently no plans to do so in the coming days.
Once the mourning period is over, there will be a phased period back to working life – starting with military or charity engagements, before working members of the Royal family continue with their personal projects and causes.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will observe the same protocol.