The Royals: Will Harry seize the opportunity for reconciliation his brother and father have given?

Just as it had 25 years and eight days ago, the September sun shone down on William and Harry as they walked side by side behind their grandmother’s coffin. But everything else was different.

A quarter of a century before they were brothers united in grief at the sudden death of their mother and the fraternal bonds of shared loss seemed unbreakable.

Yesterday only their mutual sorrow at the passing of the Queen remained. Rarely has the relationship between princes once so close looked so strained, nor the gulf between them so wide.

There was no human barrier to separate them as there had been last year at the farewell for Prince Philip when the burly figure of their cousin, Princess Anne’s son Peter Phillips, walked between them.

At their mother’s funeral they were just boys who could barely lift their gaze from the ground. Yesterday, they stared rigidly ahead, Harry hatless in his mourning clothes, William’s eyes hooded by the peaked cap of his RAF No 1 uniform.

Both carried themselves with dignity and respect, impervious to those watching on who hoped for some sign small sign of reconciliation, some exchange of brotherly love, a flicker of forgiveness even.

There was none.

Just as it had 25 years and eight days ago, the September sun shone down on William and Harry as they walked side by side behind their grandmother’s coffin. But everything else was different, writes Richard Kay. Pictured: Britain’s Prince William, second right, Kate, Princess of Wales, right, Prince Harry, left, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, second left, leave after they paid their respects to Queen Elizabeth II in Westminster Hall for the Lying-in State, in London on Wednesday

Of course, the solemnity of the occasion could make such a gesture misplaced. Twenty-five years ago, there was a moment when Princess Diana’s cortege disappeared briefly beneath Horse Guards Arch before re-appearing on Whitehall.

Then there was a reassuring pat for William from his grandfather. This time there was no such release from the formality of it all and only Harry and William’s footfalls remained in lockstep.

Yet if there was an opportunity for this most tragic of rifts to be healed, this was surely it.

Four days earlier, as Harry and Meghan joined William and Kate to view the flowers and greet well-wishers at Windsor Castle, there was no disguising the coolness that now exists between brothers on whom the long-term future of the Royal Family once depended.

Where once they were a natural and spontaneous foursome, now they were awkward and uncertain. But at least they were together.

The question was, could Harry accept the olive branch he was being offered?

When Prince Philip died, Harry was a late arrival landing in Britain after a long flight from California — he found himself playing catch-up and missing out on the nation’s mood of loss and sadness. Attempts at reconciling with his brother failed and he was soon heading home to Meghan, then pregnant with daughter Lilibet, and son Archie.

This time there was no need for an urgent flight across the Atlantic — he was already here when the Queen died last Thursday.

It has meant he has been witness to the extraordinary outpouring of national grief and mourning that has gripped the country from the very beginning.

If ever he wished to re-evaluate the decisions he has taken, then there was no better place to start than on the Mall yesterday as he stood in silent reflection behind his father, the King.

The coffin of Queen Elizabeth II rests in Westminster Hall at the Palace of Westminster in London, Wednesday

The coffin of Queen Elizabeth II rests in Westminster Hall at the Palace of Westminster in London, Wednesday

From left, Prince William, King Charles III, Prince Harry, Princess Anne and Tim Laurence follow the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II as it is carried on a horse-drawn gun carriage of the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery, during the ceremonial procession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall, London, Wednesday

From left, Prince William, King Charles III, Prince Harry, Princess Anne and Tim Laurence follow the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II as it is carried on a horse-drawn gun carriage of the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery, during the ceremonial procession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall, London, Wednesday

How easy it would have been to confine the Prince and his wife to some minor role, tucked away as they were during the Platinum Jubilee celebrations as a mere support act. On that occasion the reality of their role as minor royals alongside the Queen’s cousins in the less prominent pews at St Paul’s Cathedral could not have been clearer.

And if the same had happened this week, wouldn’t they only have had themselves to blame? Their peevish complaints from their Montecito mansion, so often insensitive, have continued unabated. While looming over everything remains the spectre of Harry’s score-settling memoir.

Yet King Charles — and indeed William — have shown magnanimity. Rather than being excluded, Harry has been brought into the centre of things. His role yesterday was hardly obscure. Indeed he was afforded every courtesy of his position as the King’s son. He was in his rightful place alongside his brother and behind his father.

In Westminster Hall, he and the Duchess of Sussex lined up exactly as they should have in the order of succession behind William and Kate to pay their respects to the Queen’s coffin.

As for Meghan, she too was shown the respect that merits a monarch’s daughter-in-law.

Pictured: The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince William, Earl Spencer, Prince Harry and Prince Charles walk outside Westminster Abbey during the funeral service for Diana in 1997

Pictured: The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince William, Earl Spencer, Prince Harry and Prince Charles walk outside Westminster Abbey during the funeral service for Diana in 1997

Pictured: Prince Charles glances towards Prince William outside Westminster Abbey as the coffin of Diana the Princess of Wales is loaded into the hearse after the Funeral service.

Prince William and Prince Harry

Left: Prince Charles glances towards Prince William outside Westminster Abbey as the coffin of Diana the Princess of Wales is loaded into the hearse after the Funeral service in 1997. Right: Prince William and Prince Harry

William and Harry joined Kate and Meghan for dinner with other royals after receiving the Queen’s coffin

Princes William and Harry joined other royals for dinner at Buckingham Palace after receiving their mother’s coffin last night – as the brothers continue to support their father in the wake of the Queen’s death. 

Kate and Meghan were also present for the dinner as the Queen spent a final night in the palace’s Bow Room before being moved to the Palace of Westminster this afternoon to lie in state for four days.

It is the latest sign that the brothers have put aside their strained relationship to present a united front as the Royal Family mourns the passing of Her Majesty, Page Six reports. 

As the royals waited inside the gates, tens of thousands of people lined the streets of central London to cheer and pay their final respects as the new state hearse made its approach to the palace.

People also cheered ‘hip hip hooray’ after the coffin drove under the arch, with many putting down their umbrellas as a sign of respect. Others were seen wiping tears from their eyes as phone camera lights lit up the crowds lining the streets in central London.

It comes as the brothers stood together with their wives Kate and Meghan on Wednesday as they continued to put aside their bitter feud to honour the Queen as she was transported to Westminster.  

While Harry walked with his brother, his wife travelled in a royal limousine with his aunt Sophie, Countess of Wessex. She was second in the convoy of royal cars behind the Queen Consort and Kate, the new Princess of Wales.

In the fine-tuned world of monarchy these are more than just symbolic gestures. Here, Harry was being shown his rightful place in the House of Windsor, should he ever wish to return and pick up the threads of his royal life.

What is clear is that he is not — at least not yet — being treated as the royals once treated another former much-loved figure who chose exile over duty. King Edward VIII and his wife Wallis — who was always denied an HRH title — was never truly welcomed in Britain after the abdication.

Does Harry realise that? Can he even see the distinction? Surveying the now thinning ranks of frontline royals, even he must realise how much his father, a pensioner King, and his brother need him.

The question is, will Harry seize the opportunity?

There is one other factor, however. In America, where the Sussexes’ celebrity has definitely been waning, how significant will be Harry and Meghan’s central role this week? How much will it have breathed fresh life into their flagging brand?

The answer, of course, is that the brand will have been transformed by their closeness to an epic event that has gripped the world. They have reafirmed their status as outsiders with a ringside seat at great historical occasions.

For months, rumours have trickled out from California that Harry is homesick, that he misses his friends, his old Army buddies and even the English countryside. ‘What does he do all day,’ is frequently asked by some of his oldest friends?

It is only fair to say that in Meghan and their children, he has a settled and extremely happy domestic life.

And it would be a mistake to ignore the fact that he is here because of his love and affection for the Queen and he has been sincerely sorrowful.

His moving statement about her ‘unwavering grace and dignity’ was testament to that.

King Charles III, Princess Anne, Princess Royal, Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, Prince William, Prince of Wales, Prince Andrew, Duke of York, Camilla, Queen Consort, Sir Timothy Laurence, Mr Peter Phillips, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, Catherine, Princess of Wales, Princess Beatrice and Prince Edward, Duke of Kent are seen inside the Palace of Westminster for the Lying-in State of Queen Elizabeth II on September 14

King Charles III, Princess Anne, Princess Royal, Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, Prince William, Prince of Wales, Prince Andrew, Duke of York, Camilla, Queen Consort, Sir Timothy Laurence, Mr Peter Phillips, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, Catherine, Princess of Wales, Princess Beatrice and Prince Edward, Duke of Kent are seen inside the Palace of Westminster for the Lying-in State of Queen Elizabeth II on September 14

From left, Britain's Camilla, the Queen Consort, Kate, Princess of Wales, Sophie, Countess of Wessex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend a service for the reception of Queen Elizabeth II's coffin at Westminster Hall, in the Palace of Westminster in London, Wednesday

From left, Britain’s Camilla, the Queen Consort, Kate, Princess of Wales, Sophie, Countess of Wessex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend a service for the reception of Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin at Westminster Hall, in the Palace of Westminster in London, Wednesday

But opportunity for members of the Royal Family rarely knocks more than once. Between them, his father and brother have offered him a way back and he has had more than a glimpse of the life he left behind.

There is a pragmatism here on Charles’s and William’s part: they need him. Slimming down the Royal Family is all very well, but in just two years it has lost much of its firepower: the disgraced Andrew, the absent Harry and Meghan, and now the Queen.

Soon those royal cousins, the Gloucesters and Kents, who did much of the unsung heavy lifting are likely to retire. There will be a need for more working royals, not fewer.

For Harry any step towards a royal re-engagement would mean significant compromise. Can he cancel the book, for example, and can he stop his wife’s endless critical and selfish interventions about how shabbily they were treated by the royals?

There would need to be compromise on William’s side, too — and he will not find it easy to forgive. As one royal friend told me: ‘You can apologise but you can’t unsay things you have said and Harry and Meghan have said an awful lot, much of it deeply hurtful.’ 

Prince William, Prince of Wales, Catherine, Princess of Wales, Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex arrive as the coffin bearing the body of Her majesty Queen Elizabeth II completes its Journey from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall accompanied by King Charles III and other members of the Royal Family, on September 14

Prince William, Prince of Wales, Catherine, Princess of Wales, Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex arrive as the coffin bearing the body of Her majesty Queen Elizabeth II completes its Journey from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall accompanied by King Charles III and other members of the Royal Family, on September 14

Britain's King Charles III, Camilla, the Queen Consort, Britain's Princess Anne, Britain's Prince Harry, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, Britain's Prince Willian, Britain's Prince Andrew, Kate, Princess of Wales, Peter Phillips and Tim Laurence leave after the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II was placed on the catafalque in Westminster Hall, London, Wednesday

Britain’s King Charles III, Camilla, the Queen Consort, Britain’s Princess Anne, Britain’s Prince Harry, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, Britain’s Prince Willian, Britain’s Prince Andrew, Kate, Princess of Wales, Peter Phillips and Tim Laurence leave after the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II was placed on the catafalque in Westminster Hall, London, Wednesday

Just suppose some form of reconciliation came to pass, and Harry was prepared to resume his life here, where would that leave Meghan?

Could they find a new royal model that allows Harry to rejoin ‘The Firm’ and his wife to have a semi-detached role?

It could be done. A role of this sort developed over time for Princess Diana, who continued to support Charles at national events throughout their separation but followed her own path in terms of duties.

The difference of course is that Diana did not commercialise her life as Meghan and Harry have done.

And it is for this reason, tragically, that for all the positive signs the couple’s presence have triggered, not even the most optimistic of courtiers truly believe there is any way back for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

Of course, they will be back for Charles’s coronation, but after that?

In the years ahead, failing to recognise the possibilities presented to them this week may turn out to be the couple’s biggest error yet.

Together again for the Queen: Harry and Meghan stand behind William and Kate in Westminster Hall lying in state service days after they reunited to meet mourners in Windsor 

By Martin Robinson and Mark Duell and Rory Tingle For Mailonline

William and Harry stood together with their wives Kate and Meghan on Wednesday as they put aside their bitter feud to honour the Queen for her lying in state service inside Westminster Hall.

While the brothers walked side-by-side for the poignant 38-minute procession from Buckingham Palace, their spouses travelled in separate cars, with Meghan accompanied by the Countess of Wessex and Kate joined by Camilla, the Queen Consort.

During the service, the ‘Fab Four’ stood in formation facing the coffin on its purple-covered catafalque, which was flanked with a tall, yellow flickering candle at each corner of the wide scarlet platform in the heart of Westminster Hall – the backdrop of some of the most famous moments in British history.

The Sussexes stood at the back of the group of royals, with Harry directly behind William and Meghan behind Kate. The touching moment is the first time the couples have been seen together since their surprise walkabout together at Windsor Castle on Saturday, and a rare show of togetherness.

The Queen’s coffin entered Westminster Hall as the choir of Westminster Abbey and the choir of His Majesty’s Chapel Royal, St James’s Palace, sang Psalm 139. When the Queen arrived, Charles, William and Anne saluted. Harry and Prince Andrew – barred from wearing military uniform – bowed their head instead.

The Archbishop of Canterbury then read the opening prayer, which the King led the royals in reciting. The family stood silently for the short service that the late monarch had put together with the Church of England before she died aged 96.

After the congregation was dismissed, cries of ‘God save the King’ could be heard as the King and the Queen Consort left Westminster Hall as Big Ben rang out at 3.30pm. Royal couples left the building side by side, with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex holding hands and the Princess of Wales rubbing her husband’s arm reassuringly.

From 5pm mourners will be able to file past the coffin to pay their respects to Britain’s longest-reigning monarch with an estimated 1million people expected to queue for up to 30 hours to see her before the state funeral on Monday. 

William and Harry stood together with their wives Kate and Meghan as they put aside their bitter feud to honour the Queen for her lying in state service inside Westminster Hall

William and Harry stood together with their wives Kate and Meghan as they put aside their bitter feud to honour the Queen for her lying in state service inside Westminster Hall

Prince William, Prince Harry and Sophie, Countess of Wessex, stand in Westminster Hall alongside the Princess of Wales and the Duchess of Sussex

Prince William, Prince Harry and Sophie, Countess of Wessex, stand in Westminster Hall alongside the Princess of Wales and the Duchess of Sussex

The Sussexes hold hands as they walk just behind the Prince and Princess of Wales on the way out of the historic building

The Sussexes hold hands as they walk just behind the Prince and Princess of Wales on the way out of the historic building 

Catherine, Princess of Wales, Prince William, Prince of Wales, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex pay their respects in The Palace of Westminster after the procession for the Lying-in State of Queen Elizabeth II

Catherine, Princess of Wales, Prince William, Prince of Wales, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex pay their respects in The Palace of Westminster after the procession for the Lying-in State of Queen Elizabeth II

Harry put his hand on his face while reading the order of service for Wednesday's short ceremony in the heart of the Palace of Westminster

Harry put his hand on his face while reading the order of service for Wednesday’s short ceremony in the heart of the Palace of Westminster 

Kate and Meghan arrive at Westminster Hall, where the Queen's coffin will lie in state before her funeral at Westminster Abbey

Kate and Meghan arrive at Westminster Hall, where the Queen’s coffin will lie in state before her funeral at Westminster Abbey 

Prince Andrew, Duke of York, Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, Prince William, Prince of Wales, Catherine, Princess of Wales, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex pay their respects

Prince Andrew, Duke of York, Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, Prince William, Prince of Wales, Catherine, Princess of Wales, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex pay their respects

The Sussexes stood at the back of the group of royals, with Harry directly behind William and Meghan behind Kate

The Sussexes stood at the back of the group of royals, with Harry directly behind William and Meghan behind Kate

2020: William, Harry, Kate and Meghan leave Westminster Abbey during the Duke and Duchess of Sussex¿s last engagement as senior royals

2020: William, Harry, Kate and Meghan leave Westminster Abbey during the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s last engagement as senior royals

The royals walk together into Westminster Hall to take their places for the short service this afternoon

The royals walk together into Westminster Hall to take their places for the short service this afternoon 

Meghan curtseys in front of the Queen's coffin while Harry - wearing a morning suit - bows his head

Meghan curtseys in front of the Queen’s coffin while Harry – wearing a morning suit – bows his head 

Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex and Sophie, Countess of Wessex also walked up to the coffin, with William and Kate following behind

Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex and Sophie, Countess of Wessex also walked up to the coffin, with William and Kate following behind 

Royal couples left the building side by side, with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex holding hands

Royal couples left the building side by side, with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex holding hands

The Earl and Countess of Wessex lead the royal procession followed by William and Kate and then the Sussexes

The Earl and Countess of Wessex lead the royal procession followed by William and Kate and then the Sussexes 

Kate

The Duchess of Sussex

Kate (left) and the Duchess of Sussex curtsey in front of the Queen’s coffin in Westminster Hall this afternoon 

King Charles II, the Queen Consort and the Princess Royal behind the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II as it is brought into Westminster Hall

King Charles II, the Queen Consort and the Princess Royal behind the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II as it is brought into Westminster Hall 

Wednesday was the first time the two couples have been seen together for a religious service since the Commonwealth Day Service in Westminster Abbey two years ago

Wednesday was the first time the two couples have been seen together for a religious service since the Commonwealth Day Service in Westminster Abbey two years ago 

William and Harry again set aside their feud and stood next to each other as they accompanied their beloved grandmother to Parliament

William and Harry again set aside their feud and stood next to each other as they accompanied their beloved grandmother to Parliament

Britain's William, Prince of Wales, Catherine, Princess of Wales, Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex react as the coffin of Britain's Queen Elizabeth arrives at Westminster Hall

Britain’s William, Prince of Wales, Catherine, Princess of Wales, Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex react as the coffin of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth arrives at Westminster Hall

King Charles III, Anne, Princess Royal, Camilla, Queen Consort, Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence, Prince William, Prince of Wales, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, Catherine, Princess of Wales, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Prince Michael of Kent pay their respects inside the Palace of Westminster for the Lying-in State of Queen Elizabeth II

King Charles III, Anne, Princess Royal, Camilla, Queen Consort, Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence, Prince William, Prince of Wales, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, Catherine, Princess of Wales, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Prince Michael of Kent pay their respects inside the Palace of Westminster for the Lying-in State of Queen Elizabeth II

Harry and Meghan after a service for the reception of Queen Elizabeth II's coffin at Westminster Hall

Harry and Meghan after a service for the reception of Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin at Westminster Hall

The Duchess of Sussex leaving Wednesday's poignant service, which saw the Royal Family hand over the Queen's coffin to the nation

The Duchess of Sussex leaving Wednesday’s poignant service, which saw the Royal Family hand over the Queen’s coffin to the nation 

The Queen's grandson and his wife, Meghan, walk hand in hand out of Westminster Hall

The Queen’s grandson and his wife, Meghan, walk hand in hand out of Westminster Hall 

Prince William, second right, Kate, Princess of Wales, right, Prince Harry, left, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, second left, leave after they paid their respects to Queen Elizabeth II in Westminster Hall for the Lying-in State

Prince William, second right, Kate, Princess of Wales, right, Prince Harry, left, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, second left, leave after they paid their respects to Queen Elizabeth II in Westminster Hall for the Lying-in State

Harry placed a comforting hand behind his wife Kate's back as they left the service

Harry placed a comforting hand behind his wife Kate’s back as they left the service 

Britain's William, Prince of Wales, Catherine, Princess of Wales, Prince Edward and Prince Harry react as the coffin of Britain's Queen Elizabeth arrives at Westminster Hall

Britain’s William, Prince of Wales, Catherine, Princess of Wales, Prince Edward and Prince Harry react as the coffin of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth arrives at Westminster Hall

(Left to right) Peter Phillips, the Duke of Sussex, the Prince of Wales, the Earl of Wessex, the Earl of Snowdon, the Duchess of Sussex, the Princess Royal, King Charles III, the Duke of York, the Princess of Wales and the Countess of Wessex follow the bearer party carrying the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II into Westminster Hall

(Left to right) Peter Phillips, the Duke of Sussex, the Prince of Wales, the Earl of Wessex, the Earl of Snowdon, the Duchess of Sussex, the Princess Royal, King Charles III, the Duke of York, the Princess of Wales and the Countess of Wessex follow the bearer party carrying the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II into Westminster Hall

The King and his Queen Consort led the Royal Family into Westminster Hall

Mike Tindall, Zara Tindall, Princess Eugenie, Jack Brooksbank, Princess Beatrice and Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi

Mike Tindall, Zara Tindall, Princess Eugenie, Jack Brooksbank, Princess Beatrice and Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi

The Queen arrived at Westminster Hall at 3pm - where she was placed on a catafalque - a raised platform, with her crown, orb and sceptre on top. The monarch will lie in state there for four days and five nights

The Queen arrived at Westminster Hall at 3pm – where she was placed on a catafalque – a raised platform, with her crown, orb and sceptre on top. The monarch will lie in state there for four days and five nights

Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, and Sophie, Countess of Wessex, are driven in a car behind the procession taking the Queen's body to lie in state in Westminster Hall

Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, and Sophie, Countess of Wessex, are driven in a car behind the procession taking the Queen’s body to lie in state in Westminster Hall 

Kate, the Princess of Wales, travelled in a car with Camilla, the Queen Consort. King Charles III and Princes Harry and William walked behind the coffin

Kate, the Princess of Wales, travelled in a car with Camilla, the Queen Consort. King Charles III and Princes Harry and William walked behind the coffin 

Camilla, Kate, Sophie and Meghan watch as the Queen's coffin is carried into her resting place for the next four days

Camilla, Kate, Sophie and Meghan watch as the Queen’s coffin is carried into her resting place for the next four days

Meghan and Kate - standing side by side - watch as the Queen's coffin is carried into Westminster Hall - the oldest part of the Palace of Westminster

Meghan and Kate – standing side by side – watch as the Queen’s coffin is carried into Westminster Hall – the oldest part of the Palace of Westminster 

Meghan and Sophie in a car behind the Queen's coffin, which was adorned with a Royal Standard and the Imperial State Crown and pulled by a Gun Carriage of The King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery

Meghan and Sophie in a car behind the Queen’s coffin, which was adorned with a Royal Standard and the Imperial State Crown and pulled by a Gun Carriage of The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery

Catherine, Princess of Wales, and William, Princes of Wales, leave after the service in Westminster Hall this afternoon

Catherine, Princess of Wales, and William, Princes of Wales, leave after the service in Westminster Hall this afternoon 

The couple travel by car away from the ceremony at Westminster Hall, the ancient heart of the Palace of Westminster

The couple travel by car away from the ceremony at Westminster Hall, the ancient heart of the Palace of Westminster  

Harry and William stood side-by-side amid the ongoing feud between the siblings and hopes they may reconcile

(left to right) The Duke of Wales, The Duke of Sussex, King Charles III, the Princess Royal, the Duke of York and the Earl of Wessex walk behind the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, draped in the Royal Standard

(left to right) The Duke of Wales, The Duke of Sussex, King Charles III, the Princess Royal, the Duke of York and the Earl of Wessex walk behind the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, draped in the Royal Standard

Glittering with diamonds, the crown jewel of the ceremony 

Sparkling with 3,000 precious jewels, the Imperial State Crown was one of the dazzling treasures laid on top of the Queen’s coffin yesterday.

It contains some of the most famous jewels in the royal collection including the 317-carat Cullinan II diamond, the Stuart Sapphire and the Black Prince’s Ruby.

Created in 1937, the crown is set with 2,868 diamonds, 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds, 269 pearls and four rubies.

Also set in the top cross is St Edward’s Sapphire, which is said to have been worn by St Edward the Confessor and was discovered in his tomb in 1163.

It was made for the coronation of the Queen’s father, King George VI, and was worn by Her Majesty every year for the State Opening of Parliament.

Sitting next to the crown was a wreath of the Queen’s favourite flowers. It included pine picked from her Balmoral estate and pittosporum, lavender and rosemary from her gardens at Windsor.

The wreath, which also included white roses and dahlias, also served as a touching tribute to her late husband. Dahlias can symbolise a lasting commitment between two people – perhaps a poignant reference to her 73-year marriage with Prince Philip.

Both the crown and the wreath sat atop the Royal Standard.

 

The procession poignantly passed the statue of the Queen’s parents King George VI and the Queen Mother which overlooks The Mall. The Imperial State Crown, worn by the Queen on the way back to Buckingham Palace after her Coronation, glittered in the daylight as the crowds held aloft their phones to capture the scenes.

After a 38 minute journey to the cradle of British democracy, the coffin was brought into the Houses of Parliament via the Carriage Gates entrance and passed through New Palace Yard, which features at its centre a fountain to commemorate the Queen’s Silver Jubilee.

The King and the Queen Consort led the Royal Family into Westminster Hall – with William and Kate standing in front of Harry and Meghan during the 20 minute service led by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Hundreds of thousands of people lined the route but there was a silent reverence as the coffin appeared. There were some muted cheers and clapping and cries of God Save the Queen as well as many tears shed as the late monarch left her London home for the final time. All viewing areas on The Mall, Whitehall and Parliament Square were full by 1pm – with people turned away.

The Queen’s coffin was draped with the Royal Standard and adorned with the glittering, priceless Imperial State Crown on a purple velvet cushion and a wreath of white flowers for the procession to the lying in state. The flowers were white roses, spray white roses, white dahlias and foliage, including pine from the gardens at Balmoral and pittosporum, lavender and rosemary from the gardens at Windsor.

The procession left the palace at 2.22pm and is expected to arrive at Westminster Hall at 3pm. A service lasting around 20 minutes will be led by the Archbishop of Canterbury accompanied by the Dean of Westminster.

Princess Anne, who has remained with her mother since she died last Thursday, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward also followed the coffin on the 1.2mile journey to Westminster Hall – the ancient heart of the Houses of Parliament where up to 1million Britons hope to see the Queen lying in state there as her father and mother did in 1952 and 2002.

Queen Consort Camilla, the Princess of Wales, the Duchess of Sussex and the Countess of Wessex followed by car. Zara and Mike Tindall. Princess Beatrice, her husband Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, Princess Eugenie and her husband Jack Brooksbank are also taking part. But Andrew’s ex-wife Sarah Ferguson did not receive an invite because of their divorce.

The occasion is heavy with historical significance, with brothers Prince William and Prince Harry setting aside their ongoing feud to support their father by marching with him behind the coffin. For William and Harry it will bring back painful memories of when they, aged 15 and 12, walked behind the coffin of their mother Princess Diana in 1997.

The Queen’s coffin was borne on a Gun Carriage of The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery – poignantly used for the coffins of the late Queen’s mother and father.

Known as the George Gun Carriage, it carried King George VI from Sandringham Church to Wolferton Station after his death in 1952 and was used in the funeral of the Queen Mother in 2002. 

The coffin of Queen Elizabeth arrives at Westminster Hall

The coffin of Queen Elizabeth arrives at Westminster Hall

The coffin of Queen Elizabeth II in Westminster Hall watched by her bereft family Wednesday

The coffin of Queen Elizabeth II in Westminster Hall watched by her bereft family Wednesday

The Archbishop of Canterbury leads prayers for the late monarch in a short service she designed

The Archbishop of Canterbury leads prayers for the late monarch in a short service she designed

Princess Beatrice looked thoughtful

Lady Louise Windsor

Princess Beatrice looked thoughtful, as did Lady Louise Windsor and her younger brother James Siscount Severn

In the shadow of Big Ben and the Elizabeth Tower - named after the Queen - Her Majesty arrives

In the shadow of Big Ben and the Elizabeth Tower – named after the Queen – Her Majesty arrives

Members of the public line the Queen Victoria Memorial and the Mall as King Charles III and members of the royal family walk with Queen Elizabeth II's flag-draped coffin as it is taken in procession on a Gun Carriage of The King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall

Members of the public line the Queen Victoria Memorial and the Mall as King Charles III and members of the royal family walk with Queen Elizabeth II’s flag-draped coffin as it is taken in procession on a Gun Carriage of The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall

2.22pm: The gun carriage bearing the coffin of the late Queen Elizabeth II departs Buckingham Palace, transferring the coffin to The Palace of Westminster

2.22pm: The gun carriage bearing the coffin of the late Queen Elizabeth II departs Buckingham Palace, transferring the coffin to The Palace of Westminster

The King stares at his mother's coffin as they begin their doleful final march together

The King stares at his mother’s coffin as they begin their doleful final march together

King Charles and his heir the Prince of Wales, who followed his father on yet another emotional day for the royals

King Charles and his heir the Prince of Wales, who followed his father on yet another emotional day for the royals

The extraordinary scene as the procession leaves Buckingham Palace - the Queen's home for most of her 96-year life

The extraordinary scene as the procession leaves Buckingham Palace – the Queen’s home for most of her 96-year life

There were huge crowds again to see the Queen on her final journey before her coffin is handed to the nation

There were huge crowds again to see the Queen on her final journey before her coffin is handed to the nation

The Queen's coffin was adorned with the glittering, priceless Imperial State Crown on a purple velvet cushion

The Queen’s coffin was adorned with the glittering, priceless Imperial State Crown on a purple velvet cushion

The Queen's funeral cortege makes its way along The Mall from Buckingham Palace during the procession for the Lying-in State of Queen Elizabeth II followed by her bereft family

The Queen’s funeral cortege makes its way along The Mall from Buckingham Palace during the procession for the Lying-in State of Queen Elizabeth II followed by her bereft family

The Life Guards march before the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II as it is taken to the Palace Of Westminster

The Life Guards march before the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II as it is taken to the Palace Of Westminster

Britain’s King Charles and Britain’s William, Prince of Wales march during the procession

The brothers have become estranged but have appeared in public twice together in the past week since the Queen's death

The brothers have become estranged but have appeared in public twice together in the past week since the Queen’s death

King Charles marched with his sister the Princess Royal, who has stayed with their mother's coffin since she died

King Charles marched with his sister the Princess Royal, who has stayed with their mother’s coffin since she died

King Charles, Princess Anne, the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Sussex walked together

King Charles, Princess Anne, the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Sussex walked together

Britain's Queen Camilla and Catherine, Princess of Wales are pictured during the procession

Britain’s Queen Camilla and Catherine, Princess of Wales are pictured during the procession

The Queen enters Whitehall on the 1.2mile journey to Parliament to lie in state

The Queen enters Whitehall on the 1.2mile journey to Parliament to lie in state

Prince William, Prince of Wales, King Charles III, Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester, Anne, Princess Royal and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex walk behind the coffin

Prince William, Prince of Wales, King Charles III, Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester, Anne, Princess Royal and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex walk behind the coffin

The Queen's children including the King and her grandchildren, including William, Harry and Peter Phillips make the mournful journey to Westminster Hall

The Queen’s children including the King and her grandchildren, including William, Harry and Peter Phillips make the mournful journey to Westminster Hall

There were tears in the crowds as the nation said goodbye to its longest-reigning monarch

There were tears in the crowds as the nation said goodbye to its longest-reigning monarch

There were tears in the crowds as the nation said goodbye to its longest-reigning monarch

The royals moved in time to the imposing funeral marches, in step with one another and the troops.

William stared straight ahead as he processed directly behind his father the King, in keeping with his place as the new heir to the throne.

Charles, in his Field Marshal uniform, held onto the end of his Field Marshal Baton, which was presented to him by his mother when he became Field Marshal in 2012.

Solemn members of the Royal Family gathered this lunchtime to prepare to accompany the Queen for her poignant final journey from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall, where she will lie in state for the next five nights.

The crowd burst into applause and cheers as King Charles III passed the Victoria Memorial in his state Rolls Royce as he was taken into the residence, followed later by Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice and Queen Consort Camilla.

Hundreds of thousands of well-wishers are expected to line the route as they do so. The Queen’s other children Prince Andrew, Prince Edward and Princess Anne will also form part of the procession through London.

Her Majesty spent her final night in the Bow Room of Buckingham Palace before she will be conveyed on a gun carriage to Westminster Hall – where she will lie in state until 6.30am next Monday, the day of her funeral.

More than one million people are expected to queue in Central London for up to 35 hours to walk past her coffin – but experts believe only 400,000 will make it inside meaning 600,000 people will be left disappointed.

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