On September 8, William and Kate, the Prince and Princess of Wales, are expected to lead the public tributes to Queen Elizabeth II on the first anniversary of her death.

For the core members of the royal family, it has been a period of transition. “They have been through a lot over the years,” admits a royals insider. In addition to the loss of Elizabeth, her husband, Prince Philip, the family patriarch, passed on in 2021. The publication of Prince Harry’s tell-all book, Spare, also subjected the entire family to a period of criticism and heightened scrutiny. “Even though Harry and Meghan are in the U.S., the family only gets stronger,” insists the insider. “With time, hopefully, they’ll all come together.”

For King Charles, it has been an exciting time. As Britain’s monarch, he’s met with religious leaders from across the country, made plans for several overseas state visits and slimmed down the number of working royals. “He’s determined to stay relevant and grow with the times,” notes the insider.

So far, he has been elated by his subjects’ acceptance. “He was surprised by the respect and loyalty he’s received from not only longtime staffers, but also by the British people,” shares the insider.

Princess Kate and Prince William clap their hands with kids George, Charlotte and Louis
Comic Relief/BBC Children in Need/Comic Relief via Getty Images

William and Kate have also grown into their larger roles within the monarchy — and justified the queen’s faith in them. “Elizabeth instilled in William the need to stay strong and carry on,” says the insider, who adds that Kate has taken this lesson to heart, too. “If they are ever stressed out by their positions, it doesn’t show,” says the insider. “In fact, they find regular family life and raising three children to be more stressful than working within the monarchy!”

William’s younger brother, Harry, Harry’s wife, Meghan Markle, and their children, Archie, 4, and Lilibet, 2, were already living in California at the time of Elizabeth’s death, but her passing had special significance for the Duke of Sussex. “Harry felt that Elizabeth’s death gave him permission to move on with his life,” says the insider. “He misses her dearly, but he has no regrets about the path he took.”

Despite leaving their roles as working royals, Harry and Meghan still strive to do good. They are both expected to appear at the Invictus Games, the international competition for sick, injured or wounded former soldiers, occurring in late September.

The insider notes that Harry’s contact with his father and brother remains minimal, but that doesn’t mean it will always stay that way. “William is hopeful that he and Harry will someday reestablish their friendship. At the end of the day, they are brothers and their bond will never be broken.”

In their own ways, each member of the royal family is doing their best to honor the late queen by their actions. “They all understand what’s right and wrong,” says the insider. “They are carrying on the queen’s legacy by just doing the right thing.”