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Princess Anne opens up about heartbreaking family moment in rare interview

The Princess Royal gave a rare TV interview

Princess Anne at her father Prince Philip's funeral

The Princess Royal has touched upon the heartbreaking moment the late Queen Elizabeth II was seated alone at her husband's funeral.

The Duke of Edinburgh's state funeral took place in April 2021, when lockdown restrictions were still imposed, meaning that those in attendance had to social distance.

In a rare TV interview with CBC's Adrienne Arsenault, Princess Anne spoke about the impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on her family.

When asked about the image of her mother, the Queen, sitting alone in the pews of St George's Chapel during the funeral service, the 72-year-old royal said: "In some ways, I'm glad we didn't see that moment. And when you see the photograph, it's much worse somehow. And you saw more of that than we did, [since we were] accompanying the coffin."

The poignant image of the Queen seated alone at her husband's funeral © Getty
The poignant image of the Queen seated alone at her husband's funeral

Prince Philip died at the age of 99 at Windsor Castle, where he and the Queen predominantly resided during the pandemic.

Restrictions at the time meant that the number of guests attending the funeral was limited to 30.

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Princess Anne walked behind her father's coffin with her brothers© Getty
Princess Anne walked behind her father's coffin with her brothers

The attendees, which included the Queen and the Duke's four children and eight grandchildren, all had to wear face masks.  

Her Late Majesty travelled to the service by car and was accompanied by her lady-in-waiting, Lady Susan Hussey.

During the 30-minute interview with the Canadian TV channel on Monday night, Princess Anne was also asked about the future of the royal family and the idea of a 'slimmed-down' monarchy, which focuses on those at the top of the line of succession.

She responded: "Well, I think the 'slimmed-down' [monarchy] was said in a day when there were a few more people around to make that seem like a justifiable comment."

When it was put to her that the world changes, Anne said: "It changes a bit. I mean, it doesn't sound like a good idea from where I'm standing, I have to say. I'm not quite sure what else, you know, we can do."

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The Princess was also asked what kind of King her brother will be.

"Well, you know what you're getting, because he's been practising for a bit, and I don't think he'll change," she shared.

"He is committed to his own level of service. That will remain true."

Anne is expected to have a key role at the coronation on Saturday 6 May as the King's Gold-Stick-in-Waiting, who is entrusted with the monarch's personal safety.

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