The One "Drastic Change" the Queen Is About to Make Now, Insiders Say
Be prepared to see less and less of this royal, according to Palace sources.
One of the most moving and heartbreaking images from Prince Philip's funeral on Saturday was the sight of Queen Elizabeth sitting alone with her head down in the nearly empty chapel of St. George's as her husband's coffin lay in front of her. Due to COVID restrictions, Her Majesty was socially distant from her family, most of whom sat in far apart clusters with their spouses. The symbolism of the moment was a powerful, stunning reminder that the Queen alone represents the stability and steadiness of the monarchy of the past 63 years, while her children and grandchildren must come together to modernize the institution in order to preserve it.
Though she is still going strong at 94, the Queen appeared vulnerable and a step slower than usual when she emerged from the Royal Bentley that chauffeured her and one of her ladies-in-waiting to the funeral. It was in stark contrast to the strength and resolve for which she has been long admired. Her most trusted advisor, the Duke of Edinburgh, often offered his support and advice in a way that no one else could; now, Her Majesty no longer has her "strength and stay" at her side.
But in addition to being a deeply felt personal loss for the Queen and her family, Prince Philip's passing is a watershed moment for the monarchy as one historic era in the House of Windsor ends and another begins. With her husband gone, there's a major change that Her Majesty is planning to make. Read on to find out what it is, and for more on the most talked-about members of the family, check out The One Thing Harry & Meghan Must Do Now That Philip Has Died, Sources Say.
The Queen will be stepping back from her responsibilities.
According to a Palace source, now that she is a widow, the Queen is planning a move that she believes is necessary to ensure there is a sense of constancy with the Crown. "The Queen is dealing with a major change in her life. Her Majesty has been preparing for this moment for some time and will now delegate more and more responsibility to the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Cambridge," said the insider. "She hasn't done any foreign travel for some time, and while she kept two engagements just days after the death of the Duke of Edinburgh, we may see less of her and more of Charles and Prince William carrying out duties she has delegated to them. It could be something of a drastic change for the British people and some members of the family, but it has already started to gradually happen."
But that doesn't mean the Queen has plans to abdicate. Robert Lacey, a historical consultant for Netflix's The Crown, told The Independent the plans for next year's Platinum Jubilee are underway and are an indication of Her Majesty's determination to carry on. "While the Queen might step back a little and we'll be seeing more of Prince Charles and Prince William doing representational work… the Queen will remain very firmly the Queen," Lacey said.
And for more on who wasn't originally on Her Majesty's good side, learn about The One Thing the Queen Didn't Like About Kate Early On, Says Insider.
Prince Charles is now the patriarch of "The Firm."
Prince Charles was the only member of the Royal Family to visit Philip during his month-long hospital stay in February, making the 200-mile round trip from his home, Highgrove House, in Gloucestershire to King Edward VII's Hospital in London in one day. While it is not known what they discussed during the visit, the prince looked distraught upon leaving. After the 30-minute stay at his father's at bedside, the prince emerged from the hospital with tears in his eyes, according to some reports.
Charles and his father had a difficult relationship when he was growing up and things became more contentious during the prince's marriage to Princess Diana, but they had grown quite close in recent years. With Philip gone, Charles is now the patriarch of "The Firm." Though his status within the institution has not changed, his role within the family certainly has. The Queen will rely on Charles even more during this difficult transition.
The prince first assumed a bigger leadership role in the wake of Prince Andrew's disastrous BBC interview when he led the discussions with the Queen and William that ultimately resulted in Andrew's loss of his royal role and patronages.
In the week leading up to the funeral, it was reported Andrew believed he could mount some sort of comeback. A Palace insider told Best Life, "Any type of public role for Andrew is out of the question. The Prince of Wales would never allow that to happen."
And for more on what Charles is dealing with, check out The One Way William and Charles "Underestimated" Harry, Says Insider.
The Queen is determined to keep the family together.
Though they were separated by their cousin Peter Phillips during the procession, much has been made of the fact that William and Prince Harry were seen talking and walking together after Philip's funeral. While it may have been that the brothers decided to put their differences aside for the time being in honor of their grandfather, many hope they're moving towards some kind of permanent reconciliation. But it will take time for the deep wounds on both sides to heal.
Prince Philip wanted his grandsons to end their feud and to, as he always said, "get on with it." A royal insider told Best Life, "The Queen may be considering slowing down, but she will never give up her belief that William and Harry will reconcile. She's lost the love of her life—and is determined to keep the family together."
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Charles is taking the lead in healing the rifts within the family.
Charles taking on the role of patriarch couldn't come at a more divisive time within the family. Just as Philip ruled over the royals' family life, Charles has assumed that role while being embroiled in a deep conflict of his own. Charles and William have grown closer since Prince Harry's departure with Duchess Meghan to North America, but his relationship with the Duke of Sussex is quite strained.
During the Sussexes' explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey, which included allegations of racism from within the family, Harry said he felt "let down" by his father who, he claimed, had cut him off financially and had stopped taking his calls for a time. Now, Charles needs to heal his own rift with Harry while finding a way to bring his sons back together. "The Prince of Wales wants very much to reconcile with Harry and see him reconcile with William," a source told Best Life. "He understands the future of the monarchy depends on it." And for more on what needs to be done for the sake of the Crown, check out The One Thing William Must Do to Save the Monarchy, Say Insiders.
Diane Clehane is a New York-based journalist and author of Imagining Diana and Diana: The Secrets of Her Style.