Kate and William ‘protected’ children in ‘measured’ funeral appearance

Queen’s funeral: Princess Charlotte travels in car with Kate

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Kate, Princess of Wales and Prince William took their two eldest children to the state funeral for Queen Elizabeth II on Monday. Nine-year-old Prince George and seven-year-old Princess Charlotte sat between their parents during the service at Westminster Abbey. They were the youngest mourners at the funeral, sitting amongst foreign dignitaries and world leaders. 

Rachel Bowie and Roberta Fiorito, hosts of the Royally Obsessed podcast, noted the way Kate and William “protected” their young children during the solemn event. 

Ms Bowie said: “The gravity of the news that George and Charlotte would be participating [in the funeral] really stunned me. But when I watched it, I think it just added to the humanness of the whole day. I actually can’t imagine now them not being there because it was so significant and emotional to see them.

“I also think my relief came — with all of those conversations about them joining — seeing that they weren’t actually sandwiched between Kate and William and Harry and Meghan, they were in between, in the same line as their parents. And, to me, that was Kate and William protecting them. 

“It was a very short procession that they actually participated in; they were in the car the rest of the time. It was a very measured choice that was made.” 

Ms Fiorito added: “I verbally let out a ‘thank God’ when I saw Kate and William flanking them and holding their hands. I was like: ‘It’s ok.’ 

“They had their parents, Kate was constantly checking in on them — rubbing George’s knee during the service.”

During the funeral, a tired and emotional George could be seen wiping his eyes as he looked down at the Order of Service. Kate later placed a gentle and protective hand on her son’s lap. 

William was also seen showing support to his heir, by placing his hand gently on his shoulder as they made their way to the seats passed the Queen’s coffin. 

Just before, a nervous-looking Charlotte was comforted by her mother as she entered the Abbey; Kate placed a hand on her daughter’s shoulder as the pair exited the car. 

The couple walked on either side of their two oldest children, rather than in front of them which was the originally suggested formation, with Kate holding her daughter’s hand.

The Queen’s great-grandson became second in line to the throne after her death on September 8. He walked alongside his father, the new Prince of Wales and King Charles III’s heir apparent. 

George wore a dark blue suit and black tie, while Charlotte wore a black dress and, for the first time, a wide-brimmed hat — a custom for British women when attending formal events. The Princess also wore a diamond horseshoe brooch to honour her late great-grandmother’s love of horses; the sentimental brooch was gifted to the young princess by Queen Elizabeth herself.

The two children played a prominent role in the service at the Abbey, joining the core royal party behind the King and his wife and consort, Queen Camilla, as the late Queen’s body was carried into the London church. Their role in the hour-long ceremony is understood to have been the subject of considerable deliberation and only emerged on Sunday night, the eve of the funeral. 

At previous state funerals for monarchs, great-grandchildren and even grandchildren have not typically played a formal role. The Wales children’s involvement is in part because of the Queen’s long life and 70-year reign but is also a symbol of the monarchy’s desire to protect stability and continuity to the UK and the Commonwealth. 

They travelled from Westminster to Windsor by car as part of the procession with the Queen’s hearse. Travelling with them were Camilla, their step-grandmother, and the Princess of Wales, their mother, ahead, of the service of committal at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.

Two days after the Queen’s death, during a walkabout at Windsor Castle, William reportedly told a member of the public that “they were trying to keep some sense of continuity for them at school and keep things as normal as possible”.

On Sunday, it was reported that George and Charlotte’s presence at the funeral was suggested by “senior palace advisers”, with an unnamed official saying the young heir’s presence would be desirable “if only to reassure the nation of the order of succession”.

It mirrors the final appearance of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations in June, when the late monarch was joined by Charles, Camilla, William, Kate and the three Wales children — George, Charlotte and their younger brother four-year-old Prince Louis. 

According to reports at the time, the Queen wanted to put emphasis on the future of the monarchy, drawing focus to her three heirs and those high in the line of succession. 

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The Waleses were seated in the front row facing the coffin. A couple of seats along, their great uncle and aunt, Sophie, Countess of Wessex and Prince Edward, were visibly emotional. Further along, sat Princess Anne, and at the end of the row was the King, their grandfather. 

Aged nine and seven, George and Charlotte are younger than William and his brother Prince Harry were when they attended the funeral of their mother, Diana, Princess of Wales. The Princes have both previously spoken of how walking behind their mother’s coffin impacted them. 

In 1997, Diana died in a Paris car crash and aged 15, William described walking in the procession as “one of the hardest things I’ve ever done”. The Duke of Sussex, who was 12 at the time, has said: “I don’t think any child should be asked to do that, under any circumstances.”

Ms Bowie and Ms Fiorito noted the difference in circumstances for the Queen’s funeral. While William and Harry walked down the Mall with only Charles, Prince Philip and Diana’s brother, Earl Spencer, George and Charlotte only took part in a short procession as they entered the Abbey, as Ms Fiorito noted, they were “flanked” by their parents, with Kate and William walking either side of the two youngsters.

Ms Bowie said: “It was not the same as what happened to Harry and William in 1997, which in hindsight was not great.” 

At the end of the funeral, George and Charlotte joined the congregation in singing God Save the King. Then, the coffin was taken by procession to Wellington Arch, where it was loaded onto a hearse to be taken to Windsor. 

As the two oldest children of the Prince and Princess of Wales waited for the coffin to pass them at Wellington Arch, Charlotte was seen letting George know what to do when the moment came.

In a short video, the young Princess can be seen telling her older brother: “You need to bow.” The second in for the throne appeared to listen intently as she gave the instruction. 

George and Charlotte then travelled from Westminster to Windsor by car as part of the procession with the Queen’s hearse.

Upon their arrival in Windsor, another procession to St. George’s Chapel took place. 

The Royal Family and members of the royal household then gathered for a committal service. Queen Elizabeth was privately interred in St. George’s Chapel.

She was buried beside her husband Prince Philip and near her sister, Princess Margaret, and her parents, King George VI and the Queen Mother.

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