DAN WOOTTON: Prince Charles heads to his Welsh bolthole to grieve privately for his father and ‘contemplate the future of the Royal Family’ – after holding extraordinary funeral summit with William and Harry
Prince Charles has left for his cottage in Wales to privately grieve the loss of his father – following an extraordinary summit with Prince William and Prince Harry immediately after Prince Philip’s funeral.
I have learned the grief-stricken Prince of Wales fled to Llwynywermod in Llandovery on his own within 24 hours of his father being laid to rest.
He departed after a face-to-face meeting within the grounds of Windsor Castle with his two sons, where they started the ‘baby steps’ towards a reconciliation following Harry and Meghan’s bombshell Oprah Winfrey interview.
But, in an unprecedented development that lays bare the depth of their rift, Charles and William preferred to meet with Harry together so that nobody’s words could be misconstrued afterwards.
Prince Charles left for his cottage in Llwynywermod, Wales, within 24 hours of his father being laid to rest on Saturday
The royal decided he needed to contemplate on a solitary basis in peace at his Welsh hideaway, a £1.2million converted farmhouse in the Brecon Beacons (pictured)
Prince William, Prince Harry, Peter Phillips and Vice-Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence during the funeral procession of the Duke of Edinburgh
A senior royal insider said: ‘Obviously after the worldwide fallout of the Oprah interview trust has to be rebuilt.
‘There was no official wake after the funeral, but Charles, William and Harry took the opportunity to speak and catch-up face to face after many months apart.
‘They were only able to spend a short time together outdoors given Covid restrictions and also without staff, including senior courtiers, overhearing what was being said.
‘It was important to Charles and William that they were both there together. It means nothing spoken about can be misconstrued in the future.’
Given the tensions, sparked by claims of racism and uncaring behaviour by the Royal Family when Meghan says she was suffering from mental health issues, a full rapprochement did not occur.
Another senior royal insider said: ‘There is much pain and hurt on both sides, so this reconciliation will take place in baby steps.
‘First, they need to decide on some ground rules as to how they conduct business going forward in a way that makes all parties feel safe and protected.’
Crucially, Charles and William have the Queen’s support to deal with the situation.
The source explained: ‘The Queen has made it clear to senior advisers that she is united with Charles and William, and was disappointed with aspects of Harry and Meghan’s interview.’
Harry remains in Windsor on an open-ended ticket, with a source revealing earlier today that he could stay for the Queen’s 95th birthday on Wednesday before returning to his pregnant wife in California later in the week.
But Charles decided he needed to contemplate on a solitary basis in peace at his Welsh hideaway, a £1.2million converted farmhouse in the Brecon Beacons.
It is believed his wife Camilla has remained in London, where she is continuing with private commitments.
My source added: ‘Charles felt he wanted to reflect alone.
‘He also wants to attend to the thousands of letters sent to him in condolence of his father’s death.
‘He is acutely aware that this is a hugely significant moment in his life and he feels like he has the weight of the world of his shoulders.
‘All his life he has been heir to throne, but Prince Philip was the patriarch of the family.
‘Overnight that’s changed, and it’s impacted him both professionally and personally.
‘He needs time to think and contemplate the future of the Royal Family after what was a very difficult week.’
Prince Charles leaving a drinks reception at his £1.2million Welsh property in Llwynywermod in Llandovery in 2009
Prince Charles walks behind the Duke of Edinburgh’s coffin at it makes its way to St George’s Chapel in Windsor
Senior royals, including Princes Charles and William, walk behind Prince Philip’s coffin during Saturday’s funeral in Windsor
Her Majesty sits alone and looks towards the altar during the poignant service for Prince Philip inside St George’s Chapel on Saturday
The Daily Telegraph reported today that Charles and William are planning a major summit on the future of the monarchy following the death of Prince Philip.
The two direct heirs will plan which members of ‘The Firm’ will be working royals and what they should do.
Prince Edward and Sophie Wessex are expected to take on more prominent roles, stepping into the void left by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
Charles usually spends a week in Llwynywermod every July and it is a perfect location for him to seek solace.
The hideaway has its own 192-acre organic farm but the nearest shop is a mile away.
The no-frills cottage has no TV but features bare floors, traditional Welsh weavings on the walls and local pottery.
The Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke of Cambridge look towards Philip’s coffin before it is lowered into the Royal Vault
Prince Harry was sat directly across from his older brother and his wife Kate having flown in without his wife Meghan
Charles has previously revealed it took ‘a long search lasting some 40 years’ to find the property, which he believes is ‘very important’.
In an interview, he said: ‘Several houses and sites were explored until, finally, we came across Llwynywermod in an exceptionally beautiful part of Carmarthenshire, on the edge of the Brecon Beacons and within reasonable reach of Cardiff.’
The secluded and fully sustainable three-bedroom property has been Charles and Camilla’s country retreat in Wales since March 2007, but they tend to spend a couple of weeks there a year.
The source added: ‘There is no better place for Charles to come to terms with his grief and start to think about his future.
‘He has a daunting amount to consider, including the ongoing tensions between William and Harry which will not be easily resolved.’
Clarence House declined to comment.
Prince Charles ‘walked and talked’ with Prince Harry before ‘family summit’ after funeral – as it’s revealed Duke of Sussex flew to UK with his own US private security team to be met by Met Police at Heathrow
By Rory Tingle and Izzy Nikolic for MailOnline
Prince Charles ‘walked and talked’ with Prince Harry at Windsor Castle after his father the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral before later taking part in a ‘family summit’, a source said today.
It is not clear what was discussed at the meeting, but the source said they began the ‘long task’ of looking at condolence letters sent from around the world.’
The talks come as speculation whirls around when the Duke of Sussex will fly back to LA to be with pregnant wife Meghan Markle.
Prince Harry arrived in the UK on April 11, reportedly with his own US private security team.
According to the Telegraph, the Duke was met at Heathrow Airport by Met Poilce officers, who helped whisk him off to the royal residence of Frogmore Cottage – where he was placed into quarantine ahead of the funeral.
The prince is said to have booked a return flight on British Airways. The airline has just one direct flight to LA, which left Heathrow at 4.30pm. It is not clear if Harry left on that flight.
Prince Harry (left) and Prince Charles (right) at Philip’s funeral in Windsor Castle on Saturday, where they walked behind his personalised Land Rover hearse
Meghan and Harry personally chose the locally-sourced flowers for their wreath (second from right) – including Acanthus mollis and Eryngium. Pictured: Wreaths from members of the royal family lie against the pews during the funeral
Meghan’s note for Prince Philip: Duchess left handwritten card on wreath for Duke of Edinburgh and watched funeral from her LA home at 7am
Meghan Markle left a handwritten card on a wreath for the Duke of Edinburgh at St George’s Chapel on the day of his funeral.
The Duchess of Sussex – who is around six-months pregnant with Prince Harry’s second child – was advised not to make the 10-hour flight to Britain for the funeral by her physician.
Instead, she watched the ceremony – which began at 7am Pacific time – on television from her and Harry’s £11million mansion in California while the Duke of Sussex attended.
A wreath from the couple was earlier left in St George’s Chapel, Windsor, to mark their respects, sources told PA news agency.
Meghan and Harry personally chose the locally-sourced flowers for their tribute – including Acanthus mollis (Bear’s breeches), the national flower of Greece, to represent Philip’s heritage, and Eryngium (sea holly), to represent the Royal Marines.
The wreath also features campanula for gratitude and everlasting love, rosemary to signify remembrance, lavender for devotion, and roses in honour of June being Philip’s birth month.
If Harry did return today, he will miss the Queen’s upcoming 95th birthday on Wednesday.
A source told MailOnline it was likely the Prince would leave for LA this afternoon, but that the Prince had managed to hold talks with his family.
The source said: ‘Harry and Charles walked and talked at Windsor after the funeral. My understanding is that Harry goes back today. They talked with Harry as a family.’
It comes as a royal expert said that the Queen’s new puppies will play an important role as she continues to mourn for her beloved husband of 73 years.
Harry made the 10-hour flight to Britain for the funeral this week while his wife Meghan – who is around seven-months pregnant with their second child – remained in LA.
Arrivals from the US must quarantine for 10 days upon landing – but can leave after five days if they provide a negative test under the Government’s Test to Release scheme.
Harry was allowed to attend the funeral at St George’s Chapel in Windsor on Saturday in line with Government rules that make exceptions for such occasions.
He arrived in England last Saturday, which means – should he have tested negative – the duke no longer needs to isolate in Windsor.
He is understood to be based in Frogmore Cottage for the rest of his stay. He and Meghan lived in the house on the Windsor estate during their time as senior royals.
It is there that he is said to have met Prince Charles, just weeks after the Sussexes plunged the monarchy into crisis when they accused the royals of racism and the institution of failing to support Meghan when she was suicidal in their Oprah Winfrey interview.
Following the bombshell tell-all – which included Harry’s claim that he needed to ‘educate’ his relatives – Prince Charles was said to be ‘deeply hurt’ but resolved to ‘mend the broken relationship’ with his son.
Poignant images from Philip’s funeral on Saturday showed the Queen sitting alone in St George’s Chapel at Windsor, and on Wednesday she will mark her 95th birthday – only able to meet those outside her household in the open air.
Prince Harry speaks to Prince William as they leave the service at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle on Saturday afternoon
The source told MailOnline this morning: ‘Harry and Charles walked and talked at Windsor after the funeral. My understanding is that Harry goes back today. They talked with Harry as a family.’ Pictured: Prince Philip’s funeral
Frogmore Cottage was Harry’s old address where he previously lived with his wife Meghan Markle
Duchess of Cornwall dedicates the second season of her online book club in memory of ‘great fellow reader’ Prince Philip
By Jessica Green for MailOnline
The Duchess of Cornwall has shared a touching dedication to her late father-in-law the Duke of Edinburgh following his funeral on Saturday.
Having launched her very own online book club at the start of this year, Camilla, 73, dedicated its second season in memory of ‘great fellow reader’ Prince Philip, who died on April 9, aged 99 at Windsor Castle.
On Instagram today, the duchess revealed the second four personal picks for her Reading Room – ranging from fantasy novels to romantic tales.
She shared the titles alongside a special message, in which she dedicated the second season of her project to Prince Philip.
The duchess wrote: ‘As Patron of Booktrust, which I inherited from my late father-in-law His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh, I would like to dedicate the next series of my Reading Room to him, in memory of a great fellow reader….. C.’
The Duchess of Cornwall has shared a touching dedication (pictured) to her late father-in-law the Duke of Edinburgh following his funeral on Saturday
But the grieving Queen will have two lively new companions – a corgi called Muick and a dorgi named Fergus – running around her feet and providing a ‘distraction’, along with her elderly dorgi Candy.
Joe Little, managing editor of Majesty Magazine, said: ‘The thinking was enough was enough, and that she was getting too old for new dogs and who would look after them when she was gone.
‘But clearly that decision was reversed and, as it turned out, it probably is very fortuitous. I think it’s useful to have these puppies in her life now as way of a distraction.’
The Queen’s life-long love of horses and dogs is well known and, while Philip spent his final period in hospital, it emerged the Queen had been given the puppies.
Mr Little believes that, while Buckingham Palace will remain the seat of the royal court, the Queen may make Windsor Castle her permanent home, travelling to the capital for official events.
The Queen’s birthday will fall during the period of royal mourning so any public events to mark it – such as the release of an official picture – are likely to be cancelled.
Mr Little said: ‘She will mark her first birthday as a widow, and 95 is quite a significant birthday.
‘I don’t think there would have been a fuss made of it, but nevertheless 95 is quite something. This is going to be a private day for her and that’s how it should be.
‘Royal mourning continues until Friday so that makes it even more of a sombre occasion.’
In paying tribute to Philip, who died peacefully at Windsor on April 9, aged 99, members of the royal family have been rallying to the Queen’s side and said they will continue to support her in the future.
The Queen returned to public duties a few days after the death of her ‘beloved’ husband and is expected to return to a full diary of official events after the period of royal mourning ends this week.
Mr Little added: ‘I think she will be personally devastated by this, but I don’t think the death of the Duke of Edinburgh, her husband of 73 years, is going to impact on her working role.
‘I think, as monarch, although she doesn’t have him there for guidance, I think her role will continue pretty much as it has for the last 69 years.
‘There’s the public queen and there’s the private queen, and she’s great at being able to compartmentalise.’
The Queen has been spending the lockdown at Windsor Castle with a reduced number of staff and aides dubbed HMS Bubble and, under Covid regulations, will be restricted in the number of birthday well-wishers she can see outside.
But Philip’s funeral would have provided the opportunity for her to speak with the Duke of Cambridge, the Duke of Sussex and her other grandchildren.
Asked about the funeral during a briefing, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman highlighted that Boris Johnson had observed the national minute’s silence in memory of the duke on Saturday afternoon.
Prince Andrew left his father’s funeral in back of his new £220,000 Bentley that replaces older model
Prince Andrew left the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral in the back of his new £220,000 racing-green Bentley which he had fitted with personalised number plates.
The Duke of York, 61, sat in the back of the 200mph Bentley Flying Spur – which was blue when first delivered in September before being spray-painted.
The motor, with its personalised number plate, was pictured driving out of Windsor Castle on the way to nearby Royal Lodge, the home Andrew shares with ex-wife Sarah Ferguson, 61.
Prince Andrew left Prince Philip’s funeral in a brand new £220,000 racer-green Bentley
Just hours earlier, Prince Andrew walked behind his father’s coffin as it was slowly carried to St George’s Chapel in Windsor on the back of a custom-built Land Rover hearse. Inside the chapel, Andrew sat closest to the Queen – with the family still separated by several empty chairs due to social distancing rules.
Previous Bentley: The Duke of York driving a Bentley Continental GT – the old Bentley he replaced
He added: ‘Alongside many of us across the country, he thought that the funeral was a poignant and fitting tribute to a much-loved and highly respected public figure, whose extraordinary life we will forever remember with gratitude for his decades of selfless service to this country.’
Sources told the Telegraph official and personal duties cannot be decided separately because they are too closely linked.
Prince Charles is said to be taking the lead in the talks due to him becoming king first and because any immediate decisions will impact his reign.
But he is understood to have wanted his son the Duke of Cambridge involved every step of the way for major policies that affect him when he inherits the throne.
Meanwhile Prince Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex are believed to be stepping into the void left by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s exit.
They are expected to take on bigger roles despite already fulfilling 544 duties as of the last year before the coronavirus lockdown.
Harry and Meghan did 558 jobs between them in 2019, meaning the Royals have to review how these will be redistributed.
Prince Andrew, who stepped back from duties after his Newsnight interview over his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein, also has roles that may need to be dished out.
The Duke of York, Prince Philip and Prince Harry have hundreds of patronages and military titles that now need to be taken on.
The Prince of Wales and Duke of Cambridge are expected to decide over the next few weeks and months how they will tackle the issues.
They are said to have rocketed in importance for the Queen and Charles after Harry and Meghan’s review period ended last month.
But the decline in the Duke of Edinburgh’s health followed by his death just over a week ago shifted the focus.
Prince Charles had wanted a smaller monarchy made up of the Queen, Prince Philip, himself, his wife the Duchess of Cornwall, the Cambridges and Prince Harry.
In these plans the Duke of Sussex was expected to help out until William and Kate’s children George, Charlotte and Louis grew up and took on roles.
Insiders revealed Charles, William and the Queen will need to discuss whether to continue with thousands of engagements annually or cut them down.
A source said: ‘The question is whether you start off by deciding how many patronages and engagements there should be, and then work out how many people are needed to achieve them, or whether you decide how many people there should be, which will dictate how many engagements and patronages they can take on.’
Prince Charles took part in 550 Royal duties in 2019 while the Duke of Cambridge focused on 220.
Prince William is believed to prefer a targeted approach so he can lend more support to each cause.
Currently around 15 members of the Royal Family take part in more than 3,000 duties per year.
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