‘Fab four’: Still estranged, but side by side for the Queen – Times of India


LONDON: Princes William and Harry and their wives Catherine and Meghan — once called the “fab four” — walked together behind Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin on Monday, just as the royal brothers did 25 years ago for their mother Princess Diana.
But with an all-encompassing Harry memoir due out next year and reportedly behind-the-scenes fights over military uniforms and titles for his and Meghan’s children, the two couples seemed as far apart as ever.
The brothers did their duty, walking side by side behind their father King Charles III and other senior members of the royal family when their grandmother’s coffin was taken to Westminster Abbey.
Willem wore a military uniform. Harry, who has been banned from doing this since he gave up his life as a working royal, was dressed in a morning suit with his medals pinned to it.
As the coffin was carried into the abbey, Harry looked down as other members of the family in military uniform saluted.
William told mourners last week that walking behind his grandmother’s coffin as it was laid out on Wednesday brought back memories of his mother’s funeral procession when he was 15.
But if that painful shared experience was in their minds, there was no outward recognition of it.
At the entrance to the abbey, the siblings, who were once so close they could finish each other’s sentences, were joined by their wives and William and Catherine’s eldest two children, Prince George, nine, and Princess Charlotte, seven.
Catherine, who had just been dubbed the Princess of Wales, just like William’s mother Diana before her, wore a black ensemble with a wide-brimmed hat and her long hair in a low bun.
She added a three strand pearl necklace and earrings that were part of the Queen’s personal jewelry collection.
Meghan wore a black cape and dress and a wide-brimmed hat.
The four, who were seen as the future of the monarchy until they fell apart, made no eye contact as they walked down the aisle behind the coffin and sat separately.
William and his family sat in the front next to his father and his siblings Anne, Andrew and Edward.
Harry and Meghan, known as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, sat in the second row directly behind the King and Queen consort with his cousin Princess Beatrice.
There had been speculation that Harry might be allowed to wear his uniform for the funeral after he appeared in the uniform of the Blues and Royals cavalry regiment, in which he served next to the Queen’s coffin at a wake Saturday night.
That turned out to be the last olive branch given to him and Meghan by the king.
Harry did two tours with the British Army in Afghanistan, but strict protocols reserve military attire for working royals on such occasions.
That has put Harry in a difficult position since he jettisoned his royal duties to move to North America in 2020.
In an interview there with talk show queen Oprah Winfrey, Meghan accused a member of the royal family of being racist.
She also accused Kate of making her cry and refusing to help palace officials if she felt suicidal.
The frosty relations between the two couples are a long way from the time when they were hailed as the “fab four” by the British media.
Two days after the Queen’s death, public hopes were also raised that the damaging rift would end when the two couples showed up for an impromptu walk outside Windsor Castle.
However, sources have told the Daily Mail that there has been “no meaningful rapprochement” so far.

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