Princess Anne has consistently been one of Queen Elizabeth II’s staunchest defenders, as she demonstrated by defending the monarch’s response to Princess Diana’s passing in 1997.
The Princess Royal stated that the criticism the Queen faced for her response to the late Princess of Wales’ Paris car crash was unfair in an interview with ITV News Royal Editor Chris Ship in 2017, which was first broadcast on Sunday, September 11.
The Queen, her son King Charles III, and her grandchildren Prince William and Prince Harry stayed in Scotland’s Balmoral Castle rather than flying right away to London to meet the thousands of mourning royal fans. It was “exactly the right thing,” according to Anne, to provide the young royals, who were 15 and 12 at the time, with “structure” to help them process the death of their mother away from the spotlight.
In all that hullabaloo, she said, “I think it’s absolutely extraordinary that any right-minded thinking parents should believe… [there] would have been an alternative to bring those children down here to London.”
“I just don’t understand how you could think that would have been a better course of action. I don’t believe either of those two could, would have been able to handle things if they were somewhere else.
The fact that they were there, had that support system, and were surrounded by understanding individuals allowed them to take advantage of the limited time they had—which was never going to be much—to attempt to come to terms with what had transpired, even if only momentarily.
The majority of people, let alone children at that age, couldn’t do that in that location, Anne continued.
Six days after Diana’s passing, on September 6, 1997, her sons were pictured at Westminster Abbey walking alongside her casket.
On his recent episode of The Me You Can’t See, which he co-hosted with Oprah Winfrey to discuss mental health issues, Harry recalled: “For me, the thing I remember the most was the sound of the horses’ hooves going along the pavement. Along the Mall, the red brick road. By this point, both of us were in shock. It was like I was outside of my body and just walking along doing what was expected of me.
“I was only displaying a tenth of the emotion that everyone else was. I reflected, “This is my mother.” You haven’t even spoken to her.
The royal accompanied her mother’s casket on its journey from Balmoral to the Palace of Holyroodhouse and will also accompany her when she travels to London to lie in state in Westminster Hall. The Queen’s funeral will be held on Monday, September 19, days after Her Majesty passed away “peacefully” at Balmoral on September 8.