The world stood still for a time on Monday as the British Royal Family laid to rest arguably the most inspiring monarch they have ever known.
Queen Elizabeth was so much more than just a figurehead, just a queen.
Word first broke regarding the Queen’s death on Thursday, the week before last. Worrying reports had emerged during the day suggesting that she was in ill health, then the serious nature of the rumors was confirmed when royals from all over the UK and beyond began to make their way to the monarch’s Balmoral home.
In a statement last Thursday evening, Buckingham Palace said:
“The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon. The King and the Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow.”
The flag atop Buckingham Palace was lowered to half-mast at 6:30 p.m. local time, while an official notice announcing the Queen’s death was posted on the gates to the palace, as is tradition.
The Queen’s eldest son and heir, Charles – the former Prince of Wales – has now become King of the United Kingdom and the 14 Commonwealth realms.
“The death of my beloved Mother, Her Majesty The Queen, is a moment of the greatest sadness for me and all members of my family,” King Charles said in a statement.
“We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished Sovereign and a much-loved Mother. I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world.”
King Charles added: “During this period of mourning and change, my family and I will be comforted and sustained by our knowledge of the respect and deep affection in which The Queen was so widely held.”
Indeed, much of the world stood still on Monday to pay respects to Queen Elizabeth as she made the journey to her final resting place. 2,000 people, many of them world leaders and other important dignitaries, were in attendance for the funeral, while the Royal Family were said to have held their own private ceremony later on in the day.
It should go without saying that the Queen’s funeral was a grand affair, one watched by millions of people across the globe. From every corner they tuned in to mark the historical moment, while the sheer weight of the coverage meant that absolutely nothing was missed.
That includes the other members of the Royal Family, forced to stand under scrutiny for the entirety of the ceremony.
One of those was Queen Elizabeth’s grandson, Harry, who has found himself at the center of a media storm since his decision to step back from royal duties alongside his wife, Meghan Markle.
Suffice it to say that the pair have strained relationships with the rest of the Royal Family – not at all helped by the tell-all interview they did with Oprah Winfrey, during which they made claims of racism toward their then-unborn son, Archie, and Meghan went as far as to say that she had harbored suicidal thoughts during her time in England.
Harry has been back on UK shores since then – he was present last year for the funeral of his grandfather, Prince Philip, as well as for the unveiling of a statue to commemorate his late mother, Princess Diana – but his once-strong bond with Prince William remains damaged, if reports are to be believed.
There had been hopes that Harry’s time in the UK could be used to rebuild any bridges burned between he and his close family members, but only time will tell if that is indeed the case.
Diana’s sons presented a unified front last week when they met members of the public at Windsor Castle to receive flowers in honor of their grandmother. What’s more, they stood shoulder-to-shoulder several times during the Queen’s funeral as they marched behind her coffin.
Yet according to a body language expert, as reported by the Daily Mirror, there was one slightly awkward moment as the royals took their seats in St. George’s Chapel for the Queen’s committal service.
The moment occurred when William appeared to hold back his wife Kate, as well as the couple’s two children Prince George and Princess Charlotte, so that Harry and Meghan could take their seats first.
As per said royal expert, Judi James, the gesture marked a moment of communication between the two families.
James told the Mirror: “During the second service in Windsor there was a moment when William and his family had to hold back to allow Harry and Meghan to get into the pews first.
“Despite the proximity, there seemed to be no sign on camera of any glances or exchanged acknowledgements, apart from a hand-flicking gesture from Harry.”
James went on to point out another moment that may well signal a breakthrough in the feud between Harry and William.
Photos from the day of the Queen’s funeral show the brothers, along with the other royals who took part in the procession behind her coffin, awaiting the funeral cortege in Windsor Castle.
The Mirror state that King Charles, Princess Anne, Peter Phillips, Prince Andrew, Prince Edward, William and Harry can be seen alongside the other male royals who walked in the procession.
James stated: “Harry looks physically excluded or sidelined in this grouping with some royals gathering around Charles while the others stand with the Earl of Snowdon, almost with their backs turned to Harry.
“The one moment we have not seen during this visit, despite Charles’s warm words during his speech, is any form of physical meeting between Harry and his father Charles.
“All the attention has been on Harry and William but they have performed a couple of forced-looking chatting rituals in the past, and in the Oprah interview it seemed to be his father that received all the really negative body language responses from Harry, rather than William.
“William does seem to have hung back slightly here, which could hopefully be prompted by empathy and the brothers might just be looking in each others’ direction and even speaking, even if their body language is not mirrored as usual.
“Hopefully these images outside do signal a breakthrough in terms of the sibling relationship and once the funeral is over and there is no risk of dragging sibling soap operas into the spotlight there might be one last sign of some sort of a reunion.”
In any case, it should go without saying that we hope that Harry and William can repair their relationship. We can imagine that’s something Queen Elizabeth would have wanted for them.