As is tradition in September, the Queen is currently in Balmoral and is set to miss only her tenth Chelsea Flower Show since her 1953 coronation. The last time the monarch failed to attend the event, which was rescheduled from its usual May date due to the coronavirus pandemic, was 16 years ago. It has reportedly been a difficult week for the Queen as her son Prince Andrew is at the center of a New York civil lawsuit.
Equally, heir to the throne Prince Charles has seen the chairman of his charitable foundation resign after a Scottish regulator said it was probing a fresh “cash for access” allegation.
However, in her 69-year reign the monarch has faced few weeks as challenging as in the wake of Princess Diana’s tragic death in a Paris car crash in 1997.
The Queen was widely criticised for her decision to remain in Balmoral upon receiving the news rather than return to Buckingham Palace.
In a 2017 BBC documentary Diana, 7 Days William praised his grandmother’s decision to shield the boys from the public and allow them to grieve in private.
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The Duke of Cambridge said: “I think it was a very hard decision for my grandmother to make.
“She felt very torn between being a grandmother to William and Harry and her Queen role.”
Harry added: “It was a case of ‘How do we let the boys grieve in privacy but, at the same time, when is the right time for them to put on their prince hats and carry out duties?’”
William and Harry, who were 15 and 12 respectively when Diana died, also revealed that the monarch hid the newspapers at Balmoral so that they would not be aware of the intense media coverage surrounding their mother’s death.
The princess’ death triggered an unprecedented outpouring of public grief while her funeral was watched by an estimated 2.5 billion people.
William and Harry recalled visiting Crathie Kirk Church near Balmoral shortly after Diana’s passing and being greeted with hundreds of floral tributes and notes laid outside the castle’s gate upon their return.
William said: “I was very touched by it, but none of it sank in.
“All I cared about was, I’d lost my mother and I didnt want to be where I was… When we [would] go out and do things like that, in order not to completely and utterly break down, we [had] to put on a bit of a game face.”
“You have to be quite strong about it otherwise you’re a walking mess.”
Harry added: “Looking back now, probably the last thing I wanted to do was read what other people were saying about my mother.
“Yes it was amazing ‒ it was incredibly moving to know, but at that point I wasn’t there.
“I was still in shock.”