DAN WOOTTON: Her late Majesty unified us behind family one final time

DAN WOOTTON: I worried the death of Queen Elizabeth the Great could leave Britain divided but today’s spine-tingling state funeral shows her late Majesty has unified us behind her warring family one final time. Now it’s over to them…

United we grieved.

The New York Times may have tried to present the UK to the world as some sort of simmering republican hellscape, divided by the cost of the biggest state funeral of all time.

CNN and MSNBC might have tried to damage the legacy of Queen Elizabeth the Great with ancient history from the British Empire, ignoring her role as the monarchy’s great moderniser, and shame the new King Charles with demands to deliver reparations.

LBC’s conspiratorial anti-British mouthpiece James O’Brien even claimed the queue to end all queues – the great Elizabeth line that brought the public together in unexpectedly magical ways to pay tribute to the Queen lying in state – was some form of confected establishment plot to portray mass grief (yes, really).

But it made not a jot of difference to the national display of reverence, unity and, yes, very real grief we have collectively felt these past 12 days, culminating in today’s spine tingling state funeral.

DAN WOOTTON: United we grieved. The New York Times may have tried to present the UK to the world as some sort of simmering republican hellscape, divided by the cost of the biggest state funeral of all time

DAN WOOTTON: CNN and MSNBC might have tried to damage the legacy of Queen Elizabeth the Great with ancient history from the British Empire, ignoring her role as the monarchy’s great moderniser, and shame the new King Charles with demands to deliver reparations

Who else could literally stop a nation, with every McDonald’s shut and virtually all TV stations broadcasting a funeral service in synchronicity, sparking barely a ripple of discontent?

Who else could see virtually every country in the world represented, with usually haughty heads of states happy to pack onto a transit bus in order to witness history?

Who else could encourage hundreds of thousands of Britons of all backgrounds, all ethnicities and all ages to line up for 14-hours through the night simply to see their coffin?

For a long time, I worried the death of Queen Elizabeth II could leave Britain even more divided.

But after the official mourning period put a halt to six solid years of national acrimony, there is reason to hope we could enter the post-Elizabethan era in surprising unity.

DAN WOOTTON: Indeed, what’s become clear to me is that her late Majesty has provided the new king and his heir with the biggest stage and the best ever opportunity to protect the monarchy for another century

I mean, if you wondered why Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was looking a little peaky in the pews of Westminster Abbey this morning, it’s probably because support for Scottish independence has plummeted by seven points since the Queen’s death.

My thoughts too at this sad time must go to Australia’s avowed republican new Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, whose stony face could probably be explained by new polling showing support for the monarchy remains overwhelming Down Under, rising by five per cent in the past decade.

Indeed, what’s become clear to me is that her late Majesty has provided the new king and his heir with the biggest stage and the best ever opportunity to protect the monarchy for another century.

In death, she has unified us behind her warring family for one final time and now it’s over to them.

King Charles has, since his mother died, provided the living embodiment of the phrase ‘cometh the hour, cometh the man’, putting at ease so many of us who struggled to imagine him as monarch with his pledge to be apolitical and an up close and personal approach to his first week in the world’s biggest job.

The Queen Consort Camilla has endeared herself to a public that has long been suspicious of her, thanks to her role in the breakdown of her husband’s marriage with Princess Diana.

And Princess Anne, Prince Edward and Sophie Wessex have proven Charles should not exclude this hardworking trio from his vision of a slimmed down monarchy.

DAN WOOTTON: King Charles has, since his mother died, provided the living embodiment of the phrase ‘cometh the hour, cometh the man’, putting at ease so many of us who struggled to imagine him as monarch with his pledge to be apolitical and an up close and personal approach to his first week in the world’s biggest job

But it’s the new heir to the throne and Prince of Wales whose young family now shoulders the biggest burden.

The selfless decision by William and Kate today to bring Prince George, nine, and Princess Charlotte, seven, to the funeral service provided a glimpse of how the monarchy will try to regenerate into the 22nd century.

The couple will rightly do their utmost to protect their children from the glare of the royal spotlight, but it was correct in this instance to make an exception.

Many decades in the future, there is no doubt George will want to tell his subjects how he was able to pay tribute to his great-grandmother, the greatest monarch in history, on the day of her funeral.

Of course, while the late Queen has given him the best possible launchpad, the challenges facing King Charles are immense.

The disgraced Prince Andrew and self-exiled Prince Harry – who both marched in procession in morning suit today, despite having served in the Falklands and Afghanistan respectively – provide the biggest imminent threat.

As for Harry and Meghan, the media briefing campaign launched during the mourning period suggests they will certainly not be going quietly 

Charles will have to convince his younger brother to slip away into obscurity without a fuss, something the Duke of York is unlikely to want to do.

As for Harry and Meghan, the media briefing campaign launched during the mourning period suggests they will certainly not be going quietly. 

Even Charles’ magnanimous decision to allow Harry to wear his military uniform was met with vicious briefing from friends of the Duke to The Sunday Times over the fact the Queen’s initials had been removed in line with protocol.

Harry, it was reported by the newspaper, came close to ditching the military garb and wearing his morning suit instead, in a sign of just how fragile relations remain.

But those ongoing issues will have to be dealt with as the reign of King Charles III goes on.

What’s important to remember on this day is the way the British public repaid the commitment that Queen Elizabeth the Great made to us at the start of her 70-year historic reign, when she promised: ‘I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service.’

We know that such unwavering public duty will never be repeated and that’s why we have honoured her in the best way we can: With an outpouring of love, not just for the woman, but for the institution she represents.

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