On the day of Queen Elizabeth’s funeral, out of the thousands of guests there were two notable attendees, Prince George, 9, and Princess Charlotte, 7.
In what seemed a last-minute decision, the public was informed the night before the funeral that the two oldest children of the Prince and Princess of Wales would be going to Westminster Abbey to say goodbye to their great-grandmother, or “Gan-Gan,” as they affectionately called her.
The decision would not have been made lightly by their parents, especially after Prince William’s own painful experience of following his mother’s coffin at the age of 15.
However, with the world’s eyes on these two young royals, the pair turned up to Westminster Abbey and seemed to cope admirably with the service, and then again at Windsor Castle for the Queen’s committal ceremony.
There were reassuring touches of the knee, hand-holding and other techniques to offer support from their parents and other royals. And in return the two behaved impeccably, and seemed to soak up the importance of the occasion.
Their attendance at such a global event did raise the question from certain people on whether children should actually attend funerals in general. But, after today’s events, we can see how important it is for youngsters — especially those able to stay calm — to say goodbye to loved ones.
This day will provide George and Charlotte with memories of how much their great-grandmother was loved and respected. They’ll see how family should unite in grief, to offer one another strength and love. And, most importantly, if they’re able to follow the service they’ll have the reassurance of knowing that her eternal life is just beginning, and death is not to be feared.
Of course the occasion is ultimately very emotional, and must have been exhausting for the young royals, but, as with any children going to a funeral, if they’re well prepared for what to expect, they can honor their loved one, give thanks for them, and take heart that they’ll one day be reunited.