How the Queen's death brought together her four children

The Queen’s children united: How Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward strode shoulder-to-shoulder through the streets of Edinburgh after being brought together by their mother’s death

  • King Charles III today led a sombre procession following Elizabeth II’s coffin 
  • The Queen’s oak coffin had on Sunday been driven to the Scottish capital 
  • After a regimental band played ‘God Save The King’, Her Majesty’s four children stepped out behind the hearse flanked by kilted soldiers in a show of unity 
  • Full coverage: Click here to see all our coverage of the Queen’s passing

On foot and flanked by his three siblings, King Charles III today led a sombre procession following Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin through hushed Edinburgh streets packed with mourners.

The Queen’s oak coffin had on Sunday been driven to the Scottish capital from the Balmoral estate where she died on Thursday aged 96, and held overnight at the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

After a regimental band played ‘God Save The King’, Her Majesty’s four children – Charles III, 73, Princess Anne, 72, Princes Edward, 58, and 62-year-old Andrew – stepped out behind the hearse flanked by kilted soldiers in a show of unity.

Yet the Queen’s offspring haven’t always been united – with Charles and Anne previously described as ‘chalk and cheese’ and the monarch and his brothers Andrew and Edward reportedly having a ‘sibling rivalry’.  

On foot and flanked by his three siblings, King Charles III today led a sombre procession following Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin through hushed Edinburgh streets packed with mourners

Charles and his sister have notable differences – including their farming preferences (in 2017 Anne defended genetically modified farming, which His Majesty has described as ‘the biggest disaster environmentally of all time’).

Meanwhile, their parenting style is also different; Anne inherited her father’s sharp tongue, and whenever her children, Peter and Zara, ‘acted up’, she would ground them, stopping their pocket money and turning down party invitations as a punishment.

Keen not to replicate what he felt was Prince Philip’s hectoring, Charles always reasoned with William and Harry.

The siblings’ hobbies also differ – with Charles preferring classical music, painting, architecture, fishing, shooting, hunting, polo and farming. 

While Anne is all about her horses, with Prince Philip once memorably having said: ‘If it doesn’t fart or eat hay, then [Anne] isn’t interested.’

Yet as Charles grapples with his new role, Anne has emerged as a key confidante to the new King.

Yet the Queen’s offspring (pictured with their parents in 1979) haven’t always been united – with Charles and Anne previously described as ‘chalk and cheese’ and the monarch and his brothers Andrew and Edward reportedly having a ‘sibling rivalry’

Charles and Anne were born just 21 months apart and grew up the closest of the siblings (pictured in 1970) – both were teenagers by the time their parents’ third child Prince Andrew started primary school

As Charles III grapples with his new role, Princess Anne has emerged as a key confidante to the new King. The siblings are pictured together at the Highland Games on September 3, just days before their mother’s death

Charles III, Queen Consort Camilla and Prince Andrew at the Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall on November 10, 2018 in London 

Alongside his mother, she has been a mainstay in his life – and insiders say they are closer now than ever.

They were born just 21 months apart and grew up the closest of the siblings – both were teenagers by the time their parents’ third child Prince Andrew started primary school.

Inevitably, given the Royal Family’s protected environment, they forged a special bond above and beyond those that followed with their younger brothers.

They are known to revel in each other’s company, sharing the same sense of humour, love of the countryside and affection for all things Scottish.

Yet, in adulthood, Anne has also respected their different roles and her elder brother’s constitutional destiny. The brother-sister banter common in so many families has, in her case, been underpinned by a quiet respect.

Their relationship has been compared to that of Queen Elizabeth II with her younger sister Princess Margaret.

King Charles III, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward walk behind the cortege carrying Queen Elizabeth II

Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward line up to follow the hearse carrying their mother on her final journey

Huge crowds lined the streets of Edinburgh to pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth II

Now Charles, as was once the case with his mother, is an inexperienced Monarch in need of a trusted ear, someone with whom to share confidences – and, increasingly, seek advice.

Neither the King nor his sister would surely have wished to be the only siblings present at the bedside of their mother as she passed away at Balmoral Castle, but it is understood Andrew and Edward, travelling in a car driven by Prince William, were not able to reach the castle in time.

The fact that Charles and his sister were the only siblings present meant they could briefly mourn privately together, further strengthening their unique relationship.

Meanwhile, Anne and Prince Edward and his wife Sophie, Countess of Wessex, have been pushed into the fray as ‘key’ parts of King Charles’ future monarchy, according to royal watchers. 

Royal commentator Ian Lloyd, the author of The Duke: A Life in 100 Chapters told Express.co.uk in January 2022: ‘She has a good relationship with Charles. In the next reign, I think, she will be an essential part of the Royal Family.’

Sophie, Countess of Wessex, guest and Camilla, Queen Consort are seen outside St Giles Cathedral

The Royal Family watch as the Crown of Scotland is place on the Queen’s coffin this afternoon

The youngest child of the Queen, Prince Edward and wife Sophie have developed an ever more prominent role in the last couple of years, following recent royal scandals with other family members. 

Prince Andrew and Prince Harry will not wear military uniform for the Queen’s funeral

Working members of the royal family will wear military uniform when present at five ceremonial events during this period of mourning the Queen.

These are the Service of Thanksgiving at St Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh, the procession to Westminster Hall and service of prayer and reflection, the Vigil at Westminster Hall, the state funeral at Westminster Abbey and the Committal Service at St George’s Chapel Windsor.

But as a non-working member of the royal family, the Duke of York will not wear uniform except as a special mark of respect for the Queen at the final vigil in Westminster Hall, sources said.

Prince Andrew has been largely side-lined and removed as a key working royal in the wake of his US sex assault lawsuit with Virginia Giuffre, which he agreed to settle in early 2022, shortly after being stripped of his patronages and military titles. 

He reportedly had a ‘rivalry’ and ‘jealousy’ with Charles, according to royal author Katie Nicholl in 2020 – which was portrayed in Netflix’s The Crown.

Meanwhile the Wessexes, who reside at Bagshot Park in Surrey, have taken on a significant chunk of work following the departure of Harry and Meghan from front-line royal duties.

Having plugged the gap left by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex following their move to the US, the Earl and Countess of Wessex were more prominent than almost any other member of the Royal family in the days leading up to Prince Philip’s funeral in 2021.

Prior to Covid they had picked up a significant number of royal duties – 544 between them in the last full year pre-pandemic.

As for titles, it is thought Prince Edward will be given the Duke of Edinburgh title, previously held by his father Prince Philip. The title has not been redistributed since his death in 2021.

But former press secretary to the Queen, Dickie Arbiter, told The Sun last year: ‘That Prince Edward will become The Duke of Edinburgh in the next reign was his father’s and is his mother’s wishes and Prince Charles won’t go against those.

‘It won’t happen immediately, but by 2029, when Edward turns 65, it will. Time for speculation, without substance, to cease.’

As for Prince Andrew, he was left ‘crushed and confused’ after he was banned from attending the Order of the Garter Day service in June 2022.

The Duke of York was not seen in public during the ceremony at Windsor Castle, one of the most colourful events in the royal calendar, after the Prince of Wales and Duke of Cambridge reportedly lobbied the Queen about his participation.

The decision was clearly taken at the 11th hour, because Andrew’s name was on the order of service.

A source said Andrew was ‘crushed… [and] a little confused’, according to Omid Scobie, known for his biography, Finding Freedom, about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, in his column for Yahoo News.

Yet today, Andrew joined his siblings as they followed the Queen’s coffin as it arrived at St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh.

Thousands of people lined the route to watch as the procession made its way to the 12th-century St Giles’ Cathedral as cannon fired at one-minute intervals from Edinburgh Castle.

The royals were joined by Prime Minister Liz Truss and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon for a service of prayer and reflection for the monarch who reigned for a record-breaking 70 years.

Later, the king and senior royals will stand vigil at the cathedral, with the coffin draped in the Royal Standard of Scotland and topped with a wreath including heather from Balmoral, and the ancient Crown of Scotland.

The public will also be able to pay their respects to the monarch known as ‘Queen of Scots’ until the coffin is flown to London on Tuesday ahead of the state funeral at Westminster Abbey on September 19.

Prince Andrew was not wearing his military uniform, unlike his siblings, after stepping back from public life following a scandal over his links to US sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

But his presence represented a show of unity, as did the joint appearance at the weekend by Charles’ warring sons William and Harry, as they surveyed flowers and cards left outside Windsor Castle.

Harry, the youngest, who renounced royal duties in 2020 and moved to the United States, had earlier paid tribute to his grandmother, calling her his ‘guiding compass’.

‘You are already sorely missed,’ the 37-year-old said in his first statement since her death on Thursday, adding that he and his American wife Meghan ‘now honour my father in his new role’.

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