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Princess Anne recalls moving moment from late Queen Elizabeth II's funeral

The Princess Royal was at Balmoral at the time of her mother's death

King Charles and Princess Anne at Queen Elizabeth's funeral
Emily Nash
Emily NashRoyal EditorLondon
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Princess Anne has spoken movingly about the death of her late mother Queen Elizabeth II in a new documentary about the King’s coronation year.

In an interview at Balmoral, where the late monarch died on 8 September 2022, she says: "It was purely serendipity that I was there. I had been… two days up on the West Coast and I was coming back, stayed the night, was going south. 

"We always enjoyed being at Balmoral. We spent a lot of time there in our youth and.. a lot of it was a probably more independent life than almost anywhere else. That's probably still true. That's a bonus."

Referring to the late Queen, she said: “I think there was a moment when she felt that it would be more difficult if she died at Balmoral. I think that we did try and persuade her that shouldn’t be part of the decision making process. So I hope she felt that was right in the end because I think we did.”

The Princess, who accompanied her mother’s coffin from Balmoral to London and then on to Windsor for a committal service at George’s Chapel, added: “When he takes the crown off the coffin, I rather weirdly felt a sense of relief. That’s it. Finished. That responsibility being moved on.”

Anne opens up in Charles III: The Coronation Year, which airs on Boxing Day.

Imperial State Crown removed from Queen Elizabeth II's coffin during committal service in Windsor© Getty
The royals look on as the Imperial State Crown is removed from the late Queen's coffin

She is seen making her own preparation for the ceremony at Westminster Abbey and later celebrating with her brother the King back at the Palace, where he kisses her hand.

Speaking about his new role as monarch, she says: "To be honest I’m not sure that anyone can really prepare themselves for that kind of change. At least not easily. And then the change happens and you go, Okay, I now have to get on with it.

"Monarchy is a 365-days a year occupation and it doesn’t stop because you change monarchs, for whatever reason. It’s a big operation. The amount of entertaining is much bigger than even they recognised. 

“But I think, my brother, he is learning things about the organisation that he perhaps was very vaguely aware of before and he’s quite enjoying that too.”

The Princess Royal arrived at the coronation ceremony in a green cape© Getty
The Princess Royal was the King's Gold Stick-in-Waiting at the coronation

The King himself is seen remembering his mother in emotional scenes after his horse Desert Hero wins the King George V Stakes at Royal Ascot.

“My late Mama won this race in 1955. She would be so thrilled,” he says.

Duke of Kent with Charles and Camilla at Royal Ascot© Getty
The King and Queen with their trophy after their horse, Desert Hero, won the King George V stakes

Narrated by Helena Bonham Carter and directed by royal author and journalist Robert Hardman, the feature-length film also includes interviews with Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, the Queen’s sister Annabel Elliot and her close friend and Companion of Honour Lady Lansdowne.

Charles III: The Coronation Year airs on Tuesday 26 December at 6.50pm BBC One & iPlayer

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