An emotional Princess Anne today spoke of her heartache upon leaving Balmoral after the Queen’s death, telling of the ‘touching’ moment she saw thousands of mourning Briton’s lining the streets to say farewell.
In a rare, candid interview the stoic Princess Royal, 72, spoke of her relationship with her late mother and paid tribute to ‘sheer numbers of people’ who lined the roads from Balmoral to Edinburgh, and later from London to Windsor in the wake of Queen’s death.
The Princess, who was seen looking visibly moved as she accompanied her mother’s coffin in a funeral cortege last September, said she ‘took a lot of it in’ as she passed mourners, adding that she ‘spotted people’ ‘she knew on the way’.
She told Canada’s CBC News in a poignant interview: ‘It was such an impressive sight, and it was more than that because it was really touching (to see) how people responded and how they did things. …
‘The sheer numbers of people turned up in quite extraordinary places, you were never going to miss that and the atmosphere it created.’
In a rare interview with Canada’s CBC news, Princess Anne spoke of her heartache in leaving Balmoral after the Queen’s death, telling of the ‘touching’ moment she was thousands of mourning Britain’s lining the streets to say farewell
Reflecting on the tens of thousands of mourners that lined the street to bid their final farewell to the Queen, Princess Anne said it was a ‘touching’ and ‘impressive site’
In Glenfarg, a village in Perth and Kinross horse riders lined the fields surrounding the road where the Queen’s cortege passed by on September 12 last year
The Princess spoke of the number of people from rural communities across Scotland who brought out their ponies and horses, having plaited their tails.
Tractors lined the road, looking ‘tidy, all clean’ which the grieving daughter said was ‘an astonishing site’.
When asked how she felt leaving the Queen’s beloved Balmoral with her mother for the last time, she spoke of her own pain.
The Princess said: ‘Leaving Balmoral was never easy, but then it never has been, I mean I was just as bad when I was leaving as a child.’
The Queen had chosen her only daughter to accompany the funeral cortege, seeing Princess Anne take on perhaps the hardest role in the wake of the monarch’s death.
Pictured being driven in a Bentley behind the hearse, Anne, who was accompanied by her husband of 30 years Sir Timothy Laurence, was visibly moved as she looked out onto those members of the public who had come to pay their respects.
The mother and daughter had enjoyed a close bond, which was evident each time they were seen together.
Thousands lined the streets in Edinburgh as the hearse carrying the Queen’s coffin passed through the streets of the Scottish capital
Princess Anne, the Queen’s only daughter, was chosen by her mother to accompany the funeral cortege on the six-hour journey from Balmoral to Edinburgh (pictured). Speaking of that day in September she said it was not ‘easy’
Throughout the interview, the Princess also reflected on her exceptionally close relationship with her mother, the Queen (pictured at the Royal Ascot in 2013)
Princess Anne, the Queen’s only daughter, was chosen by the Queen to accompany her coffin. As she passed thousands of mourners she looked visibly upset
Poignantly reflecting on her and the Queen’s exceptionally close mother-daughter bond, she said: ‘The relationship tends to remain if you are lucky very similar throughout your life.’
In the interview, which took place ahead of her visit to New Brunswick in a few weeks time, the Princess spoke with sadness about the tragic photo of the Queen sitting alone in grief at Prince Philip’s funeral.
When asked by the interviewer whether she believed it was ‘thievery’ that her mother was forced to alone at a time of enormous grief she agreed.
She said: ‘Yes, you’re quite right. In some ways I’m glad we didn’t see that, at that moment. When you see the photograph it’s much worse somehow’.
Throughout the interview, the Princess went on to reflect on the future of the British monarchy.
Speaking in defence of the monarchy, she insisted it continues to bring ‘long-term stability’ and ‘goodness to the UK and the Commonwealth’, warning it should not be slimmed down further.
Over the last few years, since 2020, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle stepped down as working and Prince Andrew was stripped of his HRH, patronages and military affiliations by the late Queen.
Before he became King, Charles was vocal about wanting fewer working members of the Royal Family and a cheaper, smaller, institution.
During the interview, the Princess defended the British monarchy, suggesting it the Royal Family does not need to be ‘slimmed down’ any further. Pictured: King Charles and Princess Anne in Aberdeenshire a week before their mother’s death
But the Princess has suggested the number of working members of the royal family is already small enough.
She said: ‘Well, I think the “slimmed down” was said in a day when there were a few more people around. It doesn’t sound like a good idea from where I’m standing, I would say. I’m not quite sure what else we can do’.
Adding her defence of the monarchy, which has seen a backlash in some Commonwealth countries such as Australia and New Zealand in recent days, said: ‘There will be [conversations about relevance] everywhere. It’s not a conversation that I would necessarily have.
‘It’s perfectly true that there is a moment when you need to have that discussion, but I would just underline that the monarchy provides, with the constitution, a degree of long-term stability that is actually quite hard to come by in any other way.’
When asked what type of King her brother would be, the humorous Princess joked: ‘Well, you know what you’re getting because he’s been practicing for a bit, and I don’t think he’ll change’.
It comes as a new poll revealed in the Mail today that most believe that the King should apologise for historical links between the monarchy and slavery, something Charles recently signalled his support for.