Queen could ‘step back’ from royal duties in ‘turning point’ for monarchy

Prince Philip's funeral could mark a "turning point” in the history of the monarchy with the Queen potentially “stepping back” from her role as head of state, a royal expert has claimed.

She and other senior royals yesterday paid tribute to the beloved Duke of Edinburgh during the service at Windsor Castle.

At one point, Her Majesty was seen sitting alone in St George's Chapel in heartbreaking pictures.

Sarah Richardson, professor of modern British history at the University of Warwick, said the "poignant" ceremony would have been an "ordeal" for Her Majesty.

“[Her Majesty] has a really strong sense of service and duty and protocol,” Professor Richardson added. “She's attended many funerals in the past and she strongly follows the rituals and so on."

Before the service the Archbishop of Canterbury urged the public to support the Queen, who was “saying farewell to someone to whom she was married for 73 years . . . a very, very profound thing in anybody’s life”.

Professor Richardson said that "in some ways it would have been comforting for her that the Duke of Edinburgh played such a strong role in planning and organising the service but it must have been an ordeal at the very least".

She added that we could see a significant change in the way that the Royal Family works, stating: "The other thing I think it represented to me was that this is a turning point in the future of the monarchy.

"To some extent this is the end of a period, the Queen will carry on and she will carry on doing her duty, she's already gone back to work to some extent."

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But, she went on: ”I think she will step back more and more, she's in her mid-90s, and seeing her there solely on her own, when she's been accompanied by Philip for 70-odd years, I think it represents a turning point."

The royal expert also said that the brief conversation at the end of the service between the Prince Harry and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge would have been a "conscious decision" by the trio.

She added: "The whole family apart from the Queen walked back to the castle from the chapel and the fact that Harry walked with William and Kate I think was perhaps a symbol that there is at least a willingness to talk and perhaps have some rapprochement between the two princes."

Professor Richardson said the Queen would want a "reuniting" but that William and Harry will need to have "discussions" going forward.

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