King Charles III led the Royal Family during the state funeral for Queen Elizabeth II on Monday. He and his wife Queen Camilla headed the procession into Westminster Abbey before taking their seats in the front row, facing the late monarch’s coffin. Further along the row were the Queen’s other children — Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward — and Prince William, second in line to the throne, and his family.
Prince Harry, the new King’s younger son, sat behind Charles. This seating arrangement was quickly noted as a snub by some reports, but royal commentators have since claimed this was actually a purposeful move to signal Charles’ bond with Harry.
Christina Garibaldi and Christine Ross, hosts of the Royally Us podcast, argued that the monarch wanted his son “close”.
Ms Garibaldi said: “A lot of people were saying that it was a snub to have him [Harry] behind King Charles at Westminster Abbey. A lot of people were also saying that he wasn’t singing ‘God Save The King’. There’s always this sort of speculation.”
Ms Ross added: “I actually think Prince Harry being right behind his father kept them quite close. That front row was the Queen’s children who were bearing tremendous grief — this was their mother.
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Mr Russell urged people not to consider Harry and Meghan snubbed by where they were located during the funeral service, and suggested the focus of the seating plan may have been on the Queen’s children rather than her grandchildren, particularly paying tribute to Charles’ sister, Princess Anne, who has dedicated decades to the Queen and the Firm.
Harry’s relationship with his father has been highly publicised in recent years, following the exit of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and their subsequent media interviews. There has been a reported distance between the two royals.
According to Mr Russell, “the King very much does want reconciliation between himself and Prince Harry,” adding, “hopefully we’re going to see a Palace administration under Charles III that perhaps is a bit more flexible about things”.
He continued: “I think most people are hopeful that the family will unite.”
Ms Brown admitted that there are certain details that may put a return on hold, namely the Prince’s highly-anticipated memoir. She said: “I think unless he does give up his book and these tell-all documentaries then there can be no trust.”
She added: “They should definitely make that compromise. If Harry doesn’t want to bin the book then I don’t see a way forward. Which would be very sad.”
Grieving the loss of Elizabeth II has seemingly brought the Royal Family together to some extent. Just days after her death, Harry and Meghan joined the new Prince and Princess of Wales on a surprise walkabout outside Windsor Castle.
Prince William reportedly extended the olive branch to his younger brother and his wife, inviting them to greet well-wishers and read tributes left at the gates.
While Harry and William were far apart at Westminster Abbey, they walked side by side during the processions which took Her Majesty’s coffin from Westminster Hall to St George’s Chapel, along with their father King Charles.
At the chapel in Windsor, Harry and Meghan were seated between Princess Charlotte and Isla Phillips, one of Princess Anne’s granddaughters.
Meghan and Harry, who relocated to California in March 2020, were already in the UK when the Queen died as they were taking part in events linked to charities “close to their hearts”.
They have now returned to the US to be reunited with their children, Archie and Lilibet, who they had not seen in person since September 3.