The sympathy of the nation is directed towards the bereaved, especially the Queen. The day after Prince Philip’s funeral, the British newspapers published on Sunday published a sad picture of Elizabeth II on their front pages, with the headline “The Great Farewell” and “Alone in Her Grief.” Because while serving in St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle, the Queen had to stay with herself. The pictures were shocking: she was lying, she was sitting front left in the choir stalls, wearing a black mask and a black hat. Like many other widows who lost their husbands during the pandemic, distance rules condemn them to loneliness.
Corona was also responsible for the fact that this funeral, meticulously prepared by Prince Philip himself, had to be different from what was planned in many ways. The funeral ceremony was held in a small group, only thirty guests were allowed, and they all had to wear mouth and nose protectors and walk away from each other. Two priests, the Dean of Westminster and Archbishop of Canterbury, performed the service, and the choir consisted of only four people.
Just outside in the open air with the military corps and the majestic procession of the sarcophagus to the chapel was there something of the pomp that usually flashed major royal events.
And of course the crowds would have appeared absent as well if Corona had not entered the way. Instead, the nation and many viewers around the world watched the event on television. In Germany alone, seven broadcasters showed the funeral live.
One can at least look forward to reconciliation at the end of the broadcast. Brawling brothers Prince William and Prince Harry showed their feud at the start of the funeral ceremony when they walked separately.
When Philip’s coffin, placed on a green military Land Rover, was transported in procession from the courtyard to the chapel, the brothers walked side by side, but not shoulder to shoulder. Between them was, it is said, their cousin, Peter Phillips. But after the service, when the royals returned to the castle, William’s wife Kate began a conversation with Harry, who seemed to relax. Kate then stepped aside to let William in and the brothers began chatting. Court reporter Caroline Graham ruled it was “one of the most indelible impressions of the day, which indicates at least a temporary dissolution of the lukewarm relationship between them.”
The end of something always represents the beginning of something new. But what will it be? “This heralds a transition to a new concept of ownership that in the future will be very different from what Prince Philip knew,” the Times said in an editorial.
This may be true because Prince Charles, the heir to the throne, is now passing on to the position of patriarch of the family. Downsizing the royal family has always been part of his vision for the monarchy. The least of the royals, is its motto, rather than the central players. These include – after the Queen of course – himself, Prince William and their wives.
Unlike Queen Victoria of the nineteenth century, who withdrew completely from the public after the death of her husband Prince Albert, Elizabeth II will continue to be sober. Resignation is included. Even the era in which Charles would take office and for which there would be legal regulation would not be in place as long as it was still physically possible for the Queen to appear in public.
But the so-called soft judgment has already begun. The heir to the throne has become increasingly involved in managing the “company” in recent years. After Philip retired into private life in 2017 and the Queen was able to attend far fewer appointments due to her advanced age, Prince Charles took on more and more duties. This trend can only get stronger now.
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