The King’s milestone 75th year was marked with a 41-gun royal salute in Green Park, a 62-gun salute at the Tower of London and a 21-gun salute in Edinburgh today – and a birthday sing-a-long at an Oxfordshire food waste project.
Charles looked to be wearing his 75 years lightly as he arrived in cheery spirits in Didcot around lunchtime with Queen Camilla to help launch the Coronation Food Project at a food waste distribution centre.
The King, who’s enjoying a working birthday before private celebrations later on, laughed as he was treated to a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday to mark his three quarters of a century.
Charles replied: ‘Oh gracious!’ after Baroness Louise Casey, who is helping to create his Coronation Food Project, asked whether he minded if guests serenaded him.
Baroness Casey told the monarch: ‘I was wondering if it was alright…’ at which point the King raised his eyebrows questioningly and looked around comically. He then quipped: ‘Have you practiced?’ to a group of volunteers behind him.
Happy birthday! King Charles III waves to well-wishers as he arrives at the launch of the Coronation Food Project with Queen Camilla at the South Oxfordshire Food and Education Alliance, a surplus food distribution centre in Didcot
The 41 gun salute lit up a murky day in Green Park with members of The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery carrying out the ceremonial tradition
The King looked a tad bashful as everyone joined in – including Queen Camilla, who also clapped loudly at the end.
The monarch wore a warm-looking camel coat and a smart royal blue tie with a slate grey suit for the official visit, taking time to wave to those who’d gathered outside – many wearing disposable raincoats – to offer well wishes on his birthday.
Queen Camilla, 76, opted for a stylish emerald green skirt suit with black knee-high boots and black leather gloves, and antique pearl drop earrings for the public outing – with both royals needing umbrellas to brave the inclement Oxfordshire weather.
The Coronation Food Project was inspired and devised by the King, who has long been concerned about waste, particularly when it comes to food, and the cost of living crisis. More than 12 million tonnes of food is wasted each year in the UK alone.
The project will work with – and crucially raise funds for – existing food waste projects around the country to save and circulate more surplus food and use it for social good.
The monarch wore a warm-looking camel coat and a smart grey suit for the official visit, taking time to wave to those who’d gathered to offer well wishes on his birthday. Queen Camilla opted for a stylish emerald green skirt suit with black knee-high boots for the public outing – with both royals needing umbrellas to brave the Oxfordshire weather
As workers at the food waste depot, wearing hi-vis jackets, looked on, the king and queen waved to those who’d made the journey to wish Charles a happy birthday
Waving in the rain! The King, who’s enjoying a working birthday but will celebrate privately this evening with friends and family, looked in good spirits as he waved to the crowds ahead of launching the initiative in Didcot
Seeing the funny side of the dismal weather served up on his birthday, King Charles pictured waving at those gathered in Didcot
Queen Camilla shakes hands with community leaders in Didcot; the royals also met with supermarket chiefs during the visit
Lord John Bird, the founder of the Big Issue, (centre), shows off this month’s front cover after the King buys a copy from a vendor of the charity magazine
Not quite birthday cake: Charles eyes up a crate of Ryvita as he tours the food distribution warehouse
It will help scale up nationwide projects and build warehouses, as well buy fridges, freezer and refrigerated lorries. The project is being led by Baroness Casey and Dame Martina Milburn and co-ordinated by the King Charles III Charitable Fund.
‘We are beyond delighted about it. It is such an honour for us and support for the project just wouldn’t have happened without you. We are incredibly grateful to you,’ Baroness Casey told the King and Queen.
Arriving in pouring rain, they met with staff and volunteers in the warehouse, the King asking questions about how the surplus food is received and distributed to community organisations.
At one point, the monarch asked: ‘I hope you have had a lunch break. There’s plenty to eat!’
The King also took a peek inside a freezer and then outside viewed four Fareshare food vans loaded with goods for distribution. ‘Are you just about to go out?’ he asked one driver.
Although the engagement hadn’t been publicised in advance, there was a small but vocal crowd outside who burst into another rendition of happy birthday.
The royal couple visited the kitchen at the food hub, meeting New Zealand chef Alex, far left, and admiring some of the dishes created from surplus food
Looks good! One of the dishes created included a lentil and black bean stew
Although King Charles declined to try any – he famously works through his lunch break – he was inquisitive about how the dishes were made
There was no escaping a rendition of Happy Birthday either, with Queen Camilla enthusiastically joining in
The monarch also waved off four food delivery vans from the car park, chatting to the drivers about their day
On fine form! The King smiles at those shouting happy birthday in his direction
Stoic support: A group of royal fans, wearing plastic rain macs, patiently await the arrival of the king and queen
The project in Didcot aims to bridge the gap between food waste and food need (Pictured: Charles and Camilla in Oxfordshire this afternoon)
Queen Camilla and King Charles chat as they arrive at the centre on Tuesday
The Coronation Food project uses food waste to create new meals for the community, and was officially launched by the King and Queen on Tuesday
Meanwhile 70 miles away in London, members of The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery carried out the ceremonial tradition of a 41 gun salute for the king, lighting up a murky day in Green Park.
The Honourable Artillery Company fired an additional 62-gun salute at Tower Wharf, Tower of London – an extra 21 for the City of London – at 1pm.
North of the border in Edinburgh Castle, the Band of Royal Regiment of Scotland played their instruments, ahead of 16 Regiment Royal Artillery firing a 21-gun salute.
Baroness Louise Casey greets King Charles as the royals arrive by car in Oxfordshire
Finally under shelter, the king and queen met with workers at the food waste centre
Back inside the Didcot hub’s offices, Charles and Camilla popped into the kitchen where chef Alex MacKay was making a delicious array of hot food with a team of volunteers.
‘Happy birthday,’ he told the sovereign. ‘How did you know?’ joked Charles.
The chef continued: ‘Would you like to see what we are cooking, sir? This is all from surplus food.’ The dishes included plates of fresh vegetables and a lentil and black bean chilli.
‘I had hope to feed you but I understand we can’t. Would you like to have a taste?’ he added.
The King – who famously never stops for lunch – explained he had another engagement to get to.
Before he left, Charles asked him: ‘Are you from Australia?’
Alex replied: ‘Oh no, and we were getting on so well! I’m from New Zealand. You know what you do, sir. You ask someone if they are from New Zealand and for the Australians, that’s a compliment!’
The 41 gun salute in Green Park was followed by a 62-gun salute at Tower Wharf, Tower of London – an extra 21 for the City of London – at 1pm
The King also chatted to food influencers including Bake Off’s Crystelle Pereira, as well as the chief executives of several major supermarkets and food suppliers including Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose, alongside Amazon, ABF and Prince’s, who have all signed up to the newly-created Food Alliance to help stop food waste and donate surplus produce.
There was also time to chat with Lord Bird, co-founder of The Big Issue, who launched the Coronation Food Project on Monday with a new portrait by Rankin of the King on the front cover.
He told the King: ‘I haven’t seen you for a quarter of a century.‘
‘Has it been as long as that?’ asked the King. ‘You haven’t changed a bit!‘
The King’s horses trot through the royal park ahead of the 41 gun salute which took place at noon on Tuesday
Before Charles and Camilla left for another engagement, followed by a private dinner in London, the King unveiled a plaque to mark his visit before he and the Queen waved off four food distribution vans.
Later today, Charles will host a Buckingham Palace reception highlighting the work of nurses and midwives over the decades as part of the NHS 75 celebrations.
Among the guests will be around 400 nurses and midwives alongside the Chief Nursing Officer of England, Dame Ruth May, and Amanda Pritchard, chief executive of NHS England.
Armed with earplugs to protect their hearing against the sound of the gunfire, the Honourable Artillery Company (HAC) prepare to carry out a 62-gun salute in the rain at the Tower of London
Members of the HAC pictured at Tower Wharf, the Tower of London on Tuesday morning
The guns are fired across the Thames in the 62 gun salute at Tower Wharf
This morning, the Royal Family‘s social media accounts paid tribute to King Charles on his 75th birthday, posting a photobook-style montage of images showing the monarch from his very first public appearance as a baby to more recent times – and lots of key moments in between.
The 39-second clip was posted on X this morning by the @RoyalFamily account and rolls back the decades for the monarch as he celebrates a milestone birthday – showing some of the most important moments of his life and more intimate photos spent with family members through the years.
With Tower Bridge in the background, the artillery soldiers fire of the dramatic salute
The Band of Royal Regiment of Scotland play, ahead of 16 Regiment Royal Artillery firing a 21 Gun salute at Edinburgh Castle
The Right Honourable the Lord Lyon King of Arms chats with 16 Regiment Royal Artillery after they fired a 21-gun salute at Edinburgh Castle
Queen Camilla pictured being greeted by Dame Martina Milburn as she arrived to officially launch The Coronation Food Project
Queen Camilla climbs into a car with an umbrella and smiles as she departs the launch of the Coronation Food Project
Holding a stylish transparent umbrella, the Queen looked relieved to be back under cover
Queen Camilla took shelter from the rain under an umbrella as she exited a royal car in rainy Didcot
The post shared two emojis, one of a crown and the other of a cake, alongside the words ‘Wishing His Majesty The King a Happy 75th Birthday.’
There are images of the late Queen – including one from 1948 when she was pictured for the first time in public with her firstborn. Charles is seen fast asleep wearing a royal christening gown in his mother’s arms.
Princes William and Harry also appear – although not together – with happy scenes from their childhood flashing past, including the moment the then Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana introduced their second son to the world at St. Mary’s Hospital in London in September 1984.
To mark the King’s 75th birthday on Tuesday, the Royal Family’s official X account shared a touching 39-second photo montage of Charles’ life
A young then Prince Charles pictured in 1970, when he was just 22, right: a photo of the late Queen in a playful scene with her children
Charles is working today, and will launch the Coronation Food Project with the Queen which aims to bridge the gap between food waste and food need. Yesterday he was presented with a cake at Highgrove
There’s also a November 1997 image of the then Prince Charles with a young Prince Harry as father and son are seen smiling together as they recorded their handprints in concrete while on an official visit to South Africa.
Elsewhere, a 1998 snap of Charles with Princes William on the slopes in the Swiss ski resort of Klosters, a long-time faovourite of the royals, also appears.
The photobook-style montage opens with a blue-and-white front cover featuring a floral scene with bee imagery and the words ‘Happy Birthday Your Majesty’.
Stirring classical music provides the soundtrack as the montage races through the decades.