The times they are a-changin’.
For the vast majority of people in the UK, there has never been a monarch not named Elizabeth. At least not in living memory.
Arguably one of the most well-loved, well-respected figureheads in history, Queen Elizabeth sat the English throne for an incredible 70 years, overcoming trials and tribulations and retaining poise and dignity until the very end.
Yet Father Time comes for queen and pauper alike. Last week marked the end to a glittering reign that began all the way back in February, 1952.
The word first broke regarding the Queen’s death on Thursday last week. 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.
Queen Elizabeth’s reign saw 15 different prime ministers, from Winston Churchill to the newly-appointed Liz Truss. It should go without saying that Her Majesty will be remembered as one of, if not the most, iconic figures in British history.
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.
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“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.”
Yet it’s not just Queen Elizabeth who’s been the subject of media headlines all across the globe.
The British royal family is so much more than a monarch and his/her relatives. It’s a veritable institution, one whose members are watched and followed every day of their waking lives.
Sometimes, of course, such scrutiny can cross the line and become, quite frankly, too much. The tragic story of Princess Diana – hounded by the press so often that it took a very real toll on her happiness – is evidence of this. The same fate, it could be argued, almost befell Meghan Markle, before she and Prince Harry decided to step back from their royal duties for good and move to the US.
That move, however well intentioned, caused a rift of sorts between Harry and Meghan and the royal family, but it was nothing compared to the fallout of the couple’s now infamous sit-down interview with Oprah Winfrey.
In July of 2020, Meghan and Harry moved into their new home in Montecito, California. The area is home to many celebrities that want away from the hustle and bustle of Hollywood; celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, Gwyneth Paltrow and Ellen DeGeneres are all residents.
The couple stayed out of the public eye to the best of their ability following them leaving the UK. However, everything changed as they sat down with Oprah Winfrey for their first big primetime interview.
That’s when things took a huge turn for the dramatic.
Meghan and Harry’s interview with Oprah laid the framework for plenty of criticism, but it seems as though a large portion of the damage was already done, since the couple shared plenty of shocking claims during their sit-down.
For her part, Queen Elizabeth confirmed in a statement that the Royal Family would address allegations of racism within Buckingham Palace.
“The whole family is saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan,” the Queen said at the time.
“The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning. While some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately. Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved family members.”
Whilst it’s true that Harry has been on UK shores since his famous fall-out, it’s relatively safe to surmise that his relationship with immediate family members remains strained.
Only yesterday did we relay reports that Harry and his father, King Charles, are making tentative efforts to repair bridges burned. Much of what goes on between the pair – and indeed Harry and Prince William – will likely never see the light of day where the public is concerned, but it makes sense to assume that the royal family as a whole understand that presenting a unified front is advantageous moving forward.
In any case, many eyes are trained on Harry given that he is now, if only temporarily, back in the royal fold.
According to Hello Magazine, Harry was overcome with emotion during the ceremony for the late Queen Elizabeth’s lying in state at Westminster Hall. Harry walked alongside his brother and other close members of the royal family, but could be seen wiping tears from his eyes as his grandmother’s coffin was placed in the hall.
Donning a suit adorned with his medals, Harry reunited with Meghan inside the hall before they left together holding hands.
Indeed, the weight of the event, a truly historical moment for the royal family, was evident on the faces of a number of the Queen’s loved ones.
Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice were clearly emotional, while the likes of Prince William and Prince Edward looked on solemnly.
The Queen’s funeral is scheduled to take place on Monday, September 19. According to reports, the Queen will be interred at the King George VI Memorial Chapel in Windsor Castle. What’s more, the body of her late husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, will be moved to joined her there.
Philip, as you may remember, passed last year at the age of 99 – he and Queen Elizabeth had been married for an incredible 73 years.
As per Page Six, the Queen will follow a tradition that has seen her parents King George VI and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, as well as her sister, Princess Margaret, buried at King George VI Memorial Chapel.
At the time of writing, the remains of Prince Philip are still at the Royal Vault at St. George’s Chapel, but they will be moved to lay beside Queen Elizabeth’s when she is laid to rest.
As for Prince Harry, he and Meghan have made it known that they will be staying in the UK until after the ceremony. This may mean that they opt to fly their two children, Archie and Lilibet, across the Atlantic with their grandmother on Meghan’s side, Doria Ragland.
One insider is said to have stated: “The family has already spent more than a week apart, and the state funeral isn’t for another eight days. Meghan and Harry will stick around until the end of the royal mourning period, which ends seven days after the service.”
Meanwhile, the once-unbreakable bond between William and Harry could be repaired while the latter is in the UK. Reports state that William and Kate extended an invitation to Harry and Meghan to greet well-wishers and take in floral tributes laid outside Buckingham Palace in the Queen’s memory.
I don’t know about you, but I for one hope that Prince Harry can reunite with his family and repair any burned bridges.
Are you a fan of the British royal family? Are you going to miss Queen Elizabeth? Let us know in the comments box below.