Welcome to a special edition of Royalist, The Daily Beast’s newsletter for all things royal and Royal Family, this Sunday focusing on the death of Queen Elizabeth II, King Charles III assuming the throne, and all the pomp, emotion, and drama around this week’s momentous events—and what’s to come.
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Tears and flowers as the queen begins her final journey
Sunday morning, Queen Elizabeth’s coffin, bathed in sunshine and borne through stunning Scottish countryside, began a slow and circuitous journey of just over 170 miles from the Balmoral Estate to Edinburgh.
The cortege moved at walking pace as it traveled through the local village of Ballater in Aberdeenshire, to allow gathered crowds, some of whom were weeping and some of whom cast flowers into the convoy’s path, to pay their respects, before traveling faster past isolated farms and homesteads in open country.
That pattern was expected to be repeated as the cortege made its way to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the monarch’s official home in the Scottish capital, via the outstandingly beautiful east coast of Scotland.
At 10am local time, the queen’s oak coffin, draped in a royal flag and covered in flowers, including dhalias, sweet peas (one of the queen’s favorite flowers, a source said), phlox, white heather and pine fir, was carried to a waiting hearse from the ballroom at Balmoral Castle by six estate gamekeepers. This was seen as a clear acknowledgment of the importance of hunting and fishing on the estate to the queen and her family. The gamekeepers are some of the 150 staff who work on the estate, and who have had the opportunity to pay their respects to the queen in recent days in the ballroom at Balmoral.
The unassuming, plain black hearse bearing the queen’s remains rolled out of the castle gates shortly after 10am. It was followed by a ceremonial Bentley which carried the queen’s daughter Princess Anne and Anne’s husband, Sir Tim Laurence. In one of the several other cars in the convoy was Kenneth Mackenzie, the minister of the local church, Craithie Kirk.
With that, the queen, the first monarch to die in Scotland since 1542, was off on her final journey through a Scotland luminous with fall sunshine. The slow procession to Edinburgh’s royal residence was expected to take six hours.
It was due to be tracked by helicopter and little else will be shown on the BBC’s main channel today, an arrangement not, of course, to everyone’s satisfaction.
As the cortege made its way through Scotland, King Charles was proclaimed king in a series of ceremonies in Edinburgh, Cardiff, and Belfast. Sunday evening, the coffin will repose in the Holyroodhouse throne room where more friends and household members based in Scotland will be able to pay their respects.
Monday will see the coffin process to St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh, followed by a cortege, on foot, including King Charles III.
On Tuesday, the coffin will be flown to London. The queen will again be accompanied again by Anne, the Princess Royal, on that journey.
From Wednesday to Monday, her body will lie in state in London’s Westminster Hall. Members of the public will be able to file past the coffin from Thursday to Sunday inclusive, which will be closed and covered in a royal flag and floral tributes.
On Thursday, it is expected that a ceremony known as the “vigil of the princes” will take place, which will see four male descendants of the queen stand guard at the four corners of the coffin.
It is not yet known who will be asked to participate. However in light of the carefully staged managed joint appearance of William and Harry and their wives on Saturday, it is just possible that the vigil may be another opportunity for Harry and William to present a united front.
Can the “temporary truce” hold?
Questions are already being asked about the sincerity of what has been described as a “temporary truce” between the Sussexes and the royals, with a growing focus on just how uncomfortable the foursome looked in each other’s company yesterday, and how studiously they avoided eye contact or chit-chat.
King Charles ordered Prince William and Prince Harry to “set aside their feud” ahead of Queen Elizabeth’s funeral, leading William to invite Harry and Meghan Markle to the headline-making Windsor walkabout on Saturday afternoon, the Mail on Sunday reports. William then extended an “11th-hour olive branch” to the couple to join him and Kate Middleton—now the newly-titled Prince and Princess of Wales—on a mini-tour of floral tributes and ecstatic crowds outside Windsor Castle.
As reported by The Daily Beast, a senior palace source had said: “The Prince of Wales invited the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to join him and the Princess of Wales earlier. The Prince of Wales thought it was an important show of unity for the Queen at an incredibly difficult time for the family.”
However, the Sunday Times headlined their story of the day as an “awkward truce” between the brothers, adding that getting them together “required extended negotiations beforehand, delaying their arrival by 45 minutes.”
The Sun on Sunday reported: “It is understood past wounds haven’t fully healed, and the walkabout was more a temporary truce.”
The couples emerged from a car, and walked as a quartet towards the crowds; however there wasn’t visible communication between them, and as they reached the crowds, they split off to greet people separately. It was the first time they had all been seen in public since Commonwealth Day in March 2020.
Omid Scobie, Harry and Meghan’s biographer and with impeccable pro-Sussex sources, said: “It is, without a doubt, a significant moment in the history of the relationship between the two brothers.”
The next questions: will the brothers spend more time together, or is their rift too great? Will Harry jettison his memoir; if he doesn’t how can royal relations fully restore themselves? Was the Saturday group shot just for the crowds and cameras, or is there a chance of a real royal rapprochement?
Another possible snarl in making up may lie, said the Times, in palace officials still refusing to say whether Archie and Lilibet, Harry and Meghan’s children, “would be styled as prince and princess with HRH titles,” as protocol would allow them to be as grandchildren of the sovereign, now King Charles III. At the time of writing, they are still listed as ‘Master” and “Miss” on the updated order of succession on the Buckingham Palace website.
There is no denying it would be rather odd for them to be given the HRH honorific when their parents have been asked to stop using it.
Mysterious timeline on day of queen’s death
The RAF jet which carried William, Andrew, Edward and Sophie to Scotland on Thursday, in a vain attempt to see the queen before she died, idled on the tarmac for an hour after suffering an unexplained delay. The jet was scheduled to leave at 1.30pm, but didn’t take off until 2:39pm, the Sun reports. The delay adds to a sense of intrigue about the exact sequence of events on Thursday. Buckingham Palace has declined to give an exact time of the queen’s death, saying only that it happened in the “afternoon” on Thursday.
On Thursday, Charles cancelled meetings at his charitable headquarters, Dumfries House in Ayrshire, and took a helicopter to Balmoral at 10.30am, landing about an hour later.He is known to have been with the queen when she died.William was seen leaving Windsor by car at about 1.10pm, the Sun said, and Andrew left at 1:30.The palace first said the queen was unwell in a statement issued at 12:32pm on Thursday, but added that she was “comfortable.”
The Daily Beast was informed by a reliable source shortly after 5pm that the queen was dead. The official announcement was made at 6:30pm.
“Grief is the price we pay for love”: from 9/11 to now
Prince William’s remembrance of his grandmother yesterday referred to the queen’s famous message to New York after 9/11, in which she said “Grief is the price we pay for love.”
The day after the attacks the queen ordered the “Star Spangled Banner” be performed during the Changing of the Guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace.
On Saturday, William said, “My grandmother famously said that grief was the price we pay for love. All the sadness we will feel in the coming weeks will be testament to the love we felt for our extraordinary Queen.”
The words ring down the years today, Sunday, as the solemn ceremonies remembering the victims of 9/11 at the site in downtown Manhattan unfold at the same time as the queen’s coffin is driven through Scotland.
The queen’s famous message was released 10 days after the attacks. It read: “You come together today in St Thomas church in New York united in sorrow by the terrible events of last week. Each and every one of us has been shocked and numbed by what we have witnessed in these recent days.
“But none of us should doubt the resilience and determination of this great and much loved city and its people. Men and women from many nations, from many faiths and from many backgrounds were working together in New York City when this unimaginable outrage overtook them all.
“At your service today, we think especially of the British victims. For some of them, New York was simply a stopover on some busy travel schedule. For others it was a workplace of excitement and of opportunity. For many it was a familiar second home.
“These are dark and harrowing times for families and friends of those who are missing or who suffered in the attack—many of you here today. My thoughts and my prayers are with you all now and in the difficult days ahead.
“But nothing that can be said can begin to take away the anguish and the pain of these moments. Grief is the price we pay for love.”
“At least granny is with great grandpa now”
Kate Middleton told a well-wisher in Windsor what her youngest child, Prince Louis, had said after learning of the death of the queen. “At least granny is with great grandpa now,” the young prince is reported to have said, according to the Mail. Banita Ranow said she had overheard Kate talking to young kids about Louis’ sweet words, and had been “welling up” with tears as she had done so.
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The amazing story of the last picture of the queen
Jane Barlow, a Press Association photographer, had no idea how historic her unposed picture of the queen would become. She had been assigned to photograph the queen receiving Liz Truss as the newly elected Prime Minister on Tuesday at Balmoral, when she captured a picture of the queen standing in front of the fire. It looks spontaneous, and also the queen has a lovely, casual smile on her face. It is the perfect farewell of an image.
Barlow told the Mail: “I was sent to Balmoral to cover the royal rota. I was there to photograph the queen receiving the new prime minister, and just prior to the new prime minister arriving in the room, I had a few moments with Her Majesty and that’s when I got that picture. When I came into the room with the Queen’s press secretary she was very smiley and then moved across the room into position, and there was a wee while we had to wait for Liz Truss to be announced, so during that short time she did comment on the weather. She did comment on how dark it was outside because the weather had closed in and she seemed in very good spirits. Obviously she was very frail but she was very smiley and I got lots of smiles from her. She seemed very happy, very smiley.
“It wasn’t posed at all, it was just a nice natural moment where she just looked up and smiled and now also all the more poignant because it is one of the last pictures that was taken of her.”
— Jane Barlow
“So then Liz Truss gets formally announced as she enters the room and she approaches Her Majesty for the handshake and obviously I was there to photograph that. Obviously she greeted Liz Truss with another big smile and at that point I then move out of the room and that was just my very brief few minutes with Her Majesty on Tuesday. It was just a lovely moment while we were waiting for those few minutes. It wasn’t posed at all, it was just a nice natural moment where she just looked up and smiled and now also all the more poignant because it is one of the last pictures that was taken of her.”
What did you miss?
The last few days since the death of the queen have been a dizzying whirl of events as the royal family both grieves and changes in front of our eyes. In this special edition of the Royalist, hopefully being read on a Sunday when some relaxing reading can be done, we thought it would be nice, useful even, to have some of our major pieces all in one place. So, here we go:
Will Harry and William spend any more time together before the queen’s funeral on September 19, or was the Saturday walkabout all for public consumption and delight at their father’s behest? Will Charles himself do more spontaneous public walkabouts, as he seems pretty into suddenly? What roles will Prince Harry and Prince Andrew play at the funeral, and in the run-up? Will Archie and Lilibet get their royal titles?
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