Welcome to this special edition of Royalist, The Daily Beast’s newsletter for all things royal and Royal Family, bringing together the latest developments as the world prepares for Queen Elizabeth’s funeral tomorrow, Monday September 19.
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“I just wish they were together”
“Heartbroken” and “devastated”: that is how Prince Harry is reportedly feeling after the military uniform he was finally allowed to wear at yesterday’s vigil in front of the queen’s coffin was stripped of her initials. He also feels “excluded” after a week around his royal relations, and the rescinding of a palace party invitation, according to a detailed report in today’s U.K. Sunday Times.
Those close to Harry and Prince William also confirm to the paper’s royal correspondent Roya Nikkhah The Daily Beast’s previous reporting—that there has been “no meaningful rapprochement” between the brothers, despite all the carefully choreographed sharing of physical space over the last week, including yesterday’s vigil featuring all Queen Elizabeth’s grandchildren.
The Sunday Times reports that Harry and William were both at a Buckingham Palace dinner on Tuesday, “but it is understood there have been no cups of tea at their neighboring Windsor homes and the lines of communication have mostly run through their aides.”
A friend of the brothers told the Times: “The joint appearances take effort. There was an understanding that ‘we need to show solidarity’, not just ‘we need to do this because it’s our duty’. But I don’t think it goes much beyond that. There have been some awkward moments this week. I definitely don’t get the sense of any deeper meaningful rapprochement or a sense that this is it: things will be mended.”
As The Daily Beast has reported, Nikkhah intimates the constant shadowy specter is Harry’s memoir and what it may or may not reveal—and Meghan’s determination to also say what she wants. A friend of both brothers told the Sunday Times: “We know there are other things that will come out in the future that will be very damaging.”
Tantalizingly, the most intimate exchange between the brothers as related by the Times happened by accident on Thursday, both driving their cars in opposite directions on Harry’s 38th birthday, with William having just picked up his own three kids from school. “The brothers drove past each other but then stopped, reversed, wound down their windows and chatted for a while,” the Times says.
Sources close to William told the paper he is “solely focused on doing what is right to honor the queen”. He is “processing his grief and the death of his grandmother, rather than sitting there processing his relationship with Harry.” He does not want the focus to be on him and Harry and other rows within the family. “That weighs on him a lot. He doesn’t want that,” a friend told the Times. On this he and Harry agree; a friend of Harry’s said: “People need to just stop talking about all this stuff and focus on my grandmother.”
“It’s all really sad. I just wish they were together, to help each other for the rest of their lives”
— Friend of both William and Harry
A friend of Harry’s said that “the world wants them to reconcile,” but “it is very hard to make any personal decisions” with the added public weight of “How does it look?” every time the brothers share physical space.
A friend of the Sussexes added: “They are very sensitive to how everything is happening and very much see the bigger picture, not just from a personal point of view but from the family’s point of view. Meghan is not afraid of throwing in a hand grenade here and there, but there are no toys being thrown out of the pram now. Their view is: ‘Let’s get on and do it—we’ll be where we need to be and we won’t be where we don’t need to be.’”
A lifelong friend of William and Harry told the paper: “They are both just doing their jobs and will go back to their own lives after that. It’s all really sad. I just wish they were together, to help each other for the rest of their lives, which is what they were born to do.”
“It’s hard—nobody likes to feel like they’re being excluded”
The ongoing family conflicts are real—now focused on a painful snub over his military uniform and the party snub which saw Harry and Meghan first invited and disinvited to the big Buckingham Palace shindig featuring world leaders tonight, Sunday.
While Harry—so far this week only allowed to wear conventional mourning attire, having been stripped of his military titles when he quit his senior royal role in 2020—was allowed to wear his military regalia at the vigil, he was, says the Sunday Times’ Nikkhah, “devastated” to find the queen’s “ER” initials had been removed from the shoulder. Will he be allowed to wear the military clothes, ER initials intact, at tomorrow’s funeral? The word, so far, is no, he will be wearing a morning suit—but we shall see. The Times makes the point that Prince Andrew’s vigil military uniform retained its “ER” initials.
Harry felt so humiliated by the removal of the initials he considered attending the vigil not wearing the military regalia, one friend told the Sunday Times: “He is heartbroken. To remove his grandmother’s initials feels very intentional.”
The good news? For his many fans, Harry looked as hot as hell in his regalia. As one viral tweet had it: “I can see why they didn’t want him to wear his uniform.”
As for tonight’s palace party, the Sussexes were told their invite was rescinded because the party was for “working members of the royal family” only. A friend of the Sussexes told Nikkhah: “It is beyond bonkers if they’re not there. Everyone is coming in from around the world to pay their respects to the queen.”
A source close to the Sussexes told the Times that this decision, and prohibiting then allowing him to wear military uniform at the vigil, made him feel as if “the majority of the operation is against you. It’s hard—nobody likes to feel like they’re being excluded.”
Page Six reported that Harry and Meghan only found out they were uninvited from press reports.
Amid all the reported grimness, friends of Harry told the Times “he could not be happier or more fulfilled by his family dynamic now” with Meghan and their children. But being around the royals and all the events of the last week also means he feels “regret over a missed opportunity of what could have been,” and a feeling that “it didn’t have to be this ugly.”
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Senior officials want George to attend funeral
The Mail on Sunday reports that senior palace advisers have asked Prince William and Kate Middleton to allow Prince George—their eldest son, William’s heir, and second in line to the throne—to attend the state funeral of the queen Monday “because of the powerful symbolic message it would send.”
One insider told the Mail: “Courtiers are keen for Prince George to be at the funeral in some capacity, if only to reassure the nation of the order of succession.” Another palace source said: “It’s currently under discussion. No decision has been made yet.”
George called Queen Elizabeth “Gan Gan,” the pair smiling and chatting on June 5 when she appeared on the Buckingham Palace balcony at the culmination of her Platinum Jubilee celebrations.
So, will he go? It is a tough decision for William and Kate. George is just 9 years old, and the funeral events tomorrow will last for multiple hours, with much hand-shaking, emotion, and general hullabaloo. Both William and Harry have spoken about how traumatizing it was at 15 and 12 respectively having to walk behind their mother Princess Diana’s coffin in 1997.
Surely the public understands the order of succession well enough without the presence of George. Most people, if they care at all, would rather know that a 9-year-old and his parents were doing what they felt was right, rather than what symbolism and protocol dictated.
Plenty of fuss about the bus—and the Beast
The sight of not only Joe and Jill Biden landing on British soil Saturday, but also his famously fortified presidential limousine, the Beast, is a sharp reminder of all the status anxiety around tomorrow’s funeral.
British diplomats are working overtime to make sure the queen’s funeral doesn’t descend into chaos, the Sunday Times reports—but not everyone is impressed by the arrangements, which have included trying to persuade world leaders to leave their private jets at home and take a shuttle bus to the funeral.
Alexandra Hall Hall, a former British ambassador to Georgia told the Times: “Can you imagine the King of Thailand nestling next to President Erdogan [of Turkey] on a bus? I find it incredible that they’ve been planning this thing for years and years, and yet we haven’t figured out a way to get heads of state in private cars to Westminster Abbey.”
Since it was revealed that Biden and other G7 leaders are getting an exemption from the indignity of being bussed into the funeral, the organizers have been besieged by requests for similar breaks for other leaders.
“It’s a bit like a family wedding,” said Hall Hall. “For the sake of the hosts, everyone will be on their best behavior, but behind the scenes they’ll be saying ‘Why have we been stuck in this bus? Why have we been put in row 34?’ It’s bad enough when you have to deal with a difficult uncle or a drunk ex-wife, but you’ve got this in spades with this funeral, it’s a diplomatic minefield.”
Monday will see England grind to a halt for the queen’s state funeral, arguably the biggest ever event in British history. Two million people are expected to descend on London and as many as four billion will watch globally.
Here’s how the day will unfold, according to the Sun. All times are local British times.
6:30am: Westminster Hall, where the queen is lying in state attended by a vast queue of her grateful citizens, will close to the public. Feel bad for the person at the head of the queue who doesn’t get in.
8:00am: Guests start arriving at Westminster Abbey; the 2,000 guests will represent the largest gathering of world leaders ever assembled.
10:35am: The queen’s body, in its lead-lined coffin, will be lifted by a team of eight soldiers onto the State Gun Carriage and begin its journey to the Abbey, followed on foot by royals including Charles, Edward, Andrew, Anne, William and Harry.
11am: The funeral service will begin. Shortly before it ends at noon a two-minute silence will be called across the U.K., followed by the National Anthem. (There will also be a minute’s silence tonight at 8pm.) A lament will be played by the queen’s piper as the coffin is borne out of the church. It will then be processed through the streets of London with a full cortege and much military pomp.
1pm: The coffin heads to Windsor, where the grand events will continue, concluding with a committal service at 4pm.
7:30pm: A private burial service, attended only by the king, and close family and friends, will be conducted by the Dean of Windsor. The queen will be buried alongside Prince Philip.
Sussex kids are in California
One of the remaining mysteries of this extraordinary ten days, the whereabouts of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s children, has finally been answered. They are reportedly at home in Montecito, California, under the care of Meghan’s mom, Doria Ragland, and a team of nannies. Doria was seen out behind the wheel of a vehicle earlier this week, the Daily Mail reports.
The children have been at home without their parents for at least two weeks now; Harry and Meghan were initially planning a short trip to the U.K. and Europe to undertake a quasi-royal tour supporting some of their favored charities. However the queen’s death on Thursday 8 September threw all their plans into chaos. Meghan and Harry are expected to return home shortly after the funeral on Monday.
Counselors of state: who’s in, who’s out
King Charles might not like to think about it, but the truth is, at 74, he is no spring chicken. So there was considerable consternation when it was revealed earlier this week that his counselors of state—the four individuals who can stand in for him in event of sickness or incapacity—included Prince Harry and Prince Andrew. The Daily Beast was told by a palace source that this was not a deliberate attempt to include Andrew, rather a consequence of the way the law was framed in 1937 to nominate the four adults next in line for the throne.
Now, the Sunday Telegraph reports, the king wants the law amended so that counselors are “working royals.” Kate Middleton, Prince Edward and Princess Anne are likely to be elevated to the role, with Beatrice, Harry and Andrew likely to be given the boot.
Prince Andrew is finished
The Daily Beast has reported that the intention of the king is that Prince Andrew will “disappear” from royal life once his jarringly prominent role in his mother’s funeral is over.
Telegraph royal correspondent Victoria Ward today comes to the same conclusion, with a source saying: “[The queen] always stood by him, she supported him and she believed in him. It was never in doubt. Perhaps, had she lived for many more years, she may have tried to help him stage some kind of a comeback. But now, there is no way back.”
Camilla’s personal tribute, her power—and soapy passion
The Sunday Times reports that Queen Consort Camilla will pay a personal tribute to Queen Elizabeth on the BBC, calling her a “solitary woman” surrounded by male leaders. “She’s been part of our lives for ever,” Camilla will say. “I’m 75 now and I can’t remember anyone except the queen being there. It must have been so difficult for her being a solitary woman. There weren’t women prime ministers or presidents. She was the only one, so I think she carved her own role. She’s got those wonderful blue eyes that when she smiles they light up her whole face. I will always remember her smile. That smile is unforgettable.”
The hard sell is certainly on for Queen Camilla, and it certainly seems she is going to be busy calming the king down should he be confronted by any more leaking pens. Julian Payne, former communications secretary to Camilla and Charles, writing in the Sunday Times, sings her praises most fulsomely, and says her influence and counsel is a vital part of Charles’ life. If you need to be convinced, happy reading.
One thing which links Camilla and those of us here at Royalist—OK, one half of us, Tim—is a full-on, no-episode-missed devotion to BBC Radio 4’s long-running soap opera The Archers. It is the world’s longest-running drama program set in the fictional Midlands village of Ambridge (six episodes a week, around 13 minutes an episode, fresh episodes air after 7pm every day, except Saturdays). It’s never too late to become an addict. You only have (according to Wikipedia, at least) 19,788 episodes to catch up on.
“It was quite prudent to ensure you had a reasonable grasp of the currently plot twists and storylines in order to ensure you could join in with some of her conversations during downtime on tour.”
— Julian Payne
Payne writes of Camilla’s own love of the show: “There was one time of the day when she would be simply impossible to reach and that was at 7pm – the moment when The Archers was on was considered sacrosanct. Such was her love of the Radio 4 program (even more so than Strictly Come Dancing) that she had even appeared on it playing herself. In fact, it was quite prudent to ensure you had a reasonable grasp of the current plot twists and storylines in order to ensure you could join in with some of her conversations during downtime on tour.”
And so, just for Camilla and other fans: we hope Chelsea finds the best way through her predicament, that we discover more secrets about Kenton, 1974, and that Lily and Russ… well, let’s leave it there. As fans know, discussing Archers storylines can prove almost as passionate and polarizing as discussing William and Harry. See you for episode 19,789 tonight!
Miss anything this week?
If you have missed any of our Queen Elizabeth, King Charles, William, Harry, Kate, Meghan (and all the rest) coverage this week, or if you have some time today and want to catch up, here is a selection of Daily Beast articles from the last seven days.
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