Princess Anne reflects on Queen Elizabeth’s final days in new documentary

Dec 23, 2023
The documentary promises an unprecedented look at the Royal Family's dynamics during a time of transition. Source: AP Photos.

In a gripping interview set against the backdrop of the historic Balmoral estate, Princess Anne has offered a unique and personal perspective on the final days of her mother, the late Queen Elizabeth II, in an upcoming documentary titled Charles III: The Coronation Year.

The 90-minute film, set to be screened on Boxing Day, promises an unprecedented look at the Royal Family’s dynamics during a time of transition following the passing of the Queen.

Recounting the events that led her to be present at Balmoral when the late Monarch passed away on September 8, 2022, Anne claimed it was “purely serendipity” that she was by her mother’s side.

“I had been… two days up on the West Coast and I was coming back, stayed the night, was going south,” she said.

She reflected on the familial ties to Balmoral, a place where the Royal Family enjoyed a more independent life during their youth, away from the public eye.

“We always enjoyed being at Balmoral. We spent a lot of time there in our youth and.. a lot of it was a probably more independent life than almost anywhere else. That’s probably still true. That’s a bonus,” she said.

Anne also provided a glimpse into the thoughts that occupied the Queen’s mind during her final days.

“I think there was a moment when she felt that it would be more difficult if she died at Balmoral,” she revealed.

“I think that we did try and persuade her that shouldn’t be part of the decision making process. So I hope she felt that was right in the end because I think we did.”

The documentary captures Princess Anne’s emotional journey as she accompanied her mother’s coffin from Balmoral to London and then on to Windsor for the committal service at St George’s Chapel.

Reflecting on the day, she shared that she experienced a moment of unexpected relief as Charles, her elder brother, officially took on the role of King.

“When he takes the crown off the coffin, I rather weirdly felt a sense of relief. That’s it. Finished. That responsibility being moved on,” she said.

Speaking about the succession, Princess Anne remarked, “To be honest, I’m not sure that anybody can really prepare themselves for that kind of change… not easily.”

“Monarchy is a 365 days a year occupation. It doesn’t stop because you change monarchs, for whatever reason,” she explained.

In a surprising moment of warmth, Princess Anne also offered some kind words for Camilla, the Queen Consort.

“I’ve known her a long time, off and on,” Anne said.

“Her understanding of her role and how much difference it makes to the King has been absolutely outstanding, and this role is not something she would have been a natural for, but she does it really well. And she provides that change of speed and tone. She’s equally modern.”

Narrated by Helena Bonham Carter, Charles III: The Coronation Year features contributions from figures such as Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, and close friends.

The documentary provides an insider’s look at behind-the-scenes rehearsals for the coronation, offering viewers a unique perspective on the meticulous preparations for the historic event.

-with PA.

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