Princess Anne has spoken out about the toll lockdown had on her father Prince Philip before his death saying lost conversations would have ‘kept him interested’.
The Princess Royal revealed her thoughts on how the pandemic affected her family and others during an interview with Canadian public broadcaster CBC, released just five days before the King’s Coronation.
She said lockdowns robbed her father and other older people of social interaction and stimulation, saying that the ‘switch to online’ didn’t work for everyone.
‘Covid stole from my father, who lost a lot of the people who would have gone to see him and come and talk to him and have those conversations that would have kept him interested. He lost all of that,’ she said.
‘I’m sure that there are lots of families who will tell you the same thing. For the older generation, losing those contacts – online didn’t do that for everybody’.
Princess Anne said lockdowns robbed her father and other older people of social interaction and stimulation
Anne described the sadness at the photo of her mother alone at her husband’s funeral in 2021
The Princess Royal also spoke with sadness about the defining image of her mother alone in grief at Prince Philip’s funeral, amid pandemic social-distancing rules.
Asked if this was a ‘thievery’, she said: ‘Yes, you’re quite right.
‘In some ways I’m glad we didn’t see that, at that moment. When you see the photograph it’s much worse somehow’.
She also looked deeply moved as she also described following her mother’s coffin on its journey from Balmoral in Scotland to Buckingham Palace after her death last September.
Speaking of the days travelling the country during the mourning period, she said: ‘I think we took a lot of it in, partly because we knew the route and I did actually spot people I knew on the way.
‘It was such an impressive sight and it was more than that because it was really touching in the way that people responded and how they did things.
‘People brought their ponies and horses out, but they not only brought them out, they plaited them, they were properly dressed and well turned out.
‘They brought their tractors out, and they parked them tidily, they were all clean.
‘If you come from a rural background I was really impressed, it was just an astonishing sight.
‘But the sheer numbers of people who turned up in quite extraordinary places. You’re never going to miss that and the atmosphere it created.
‘Leaving Balmoral was never easy, but then it never has been. I was just as bad when I was leaving as a child, because I didn’t like leaving, [I was happy there].’
Princess Anne insisted today that the monarchy is in safe hands with King Charles after sitting down for a rare interview ahead of her brother’s Coronation
How Princess Anne was once again the hardest working royal in 2022
Princess Anne: 214 engagements
King Charles: 181 engagements
Prince Edward: 143 engagements
Sophie Wessex: 138 engagements
Prince of Wales: 126 engagements
Queen Consort: 102 engagements
Duke of Gloucester: 100 engagements
Duchess of Gloucester: 94 engagements
Princess of Wales: 90 engagements
The Duke of Kent: 78 engagements
Princess Alexandra: 44 engagements
SOURCE: Reboot SEO company
Anne’s interview CBC News is one of the most wide-ranging carried out by royals, other than Harry and Meghan, in recent times.
At the end, when asked whether she is worried about the future of the British Royal Family, she gave a resounding: ‘No’.
Defending the role of the monarchy in modern times, especially with a new King, she added: ‘There will be [conversations about relevance] everywhere. It’s not a conversation that I would necessarily have.
‘It’s perfectly true that there is a moment when you need to have that discussion but I would just underline that the monarchy provides, with the constitution, a degree of long-term stability that is actually quite hard to come by in any other way.’
‘I rather hope that sometimes what we can do is just to underline the goodness and the fact that there are an awful lot of people out there who really do understand about the way they behave towards each other is important and that the monarchy provides an element of a focus to that level of service and encourages that in the long term.
‘It’s not a short-term thing. You’re there for the long term.’
CBC chief correspondent Adrienne Arsenault raised the idea of a slimmed-down monarchy and said it is difficult to imagine how the 72-year-old princess would have the time to take on more work.
Anne replied: ‘Well, I think the ‘slimmed-down’ (monarchy) was said in a day when there were a few more people around to make that seem like a justifiable comment.’
When it was put to her that the world changes, Anne said: ‘It changes a bit. I mean, it doesn’t sound like a good idea from where I’m standing, I have to say. I’m not quite sure what else, you know, we can do.’
King Charles III and Princess Anne, Princess Royal, at church in Windsor for Easter. She says the monarchy is safe in her brother’s hands
The royal family has gone through a lot of changes in recent years, with the deaths of both the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, the decision taken by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to quit as working royals, and the Duke of York stepping down from public life.
Speaking about what kind of King her brother will be, Anne said: ‘Well, you know what you’re getting, because he’s been practising for a bit, and I don’t think he’ll change.
‘He is committed to his own level of service. That will remain true.’
It was put to the princess that she does not seem worried about the health or the longevity of the monarchy, and she replied: ‘I think you’re putting words into my mouth, as they say.’
She said she believes there is ‘genuine benefit from this particular arrangement, the constitutional monarchy, and I think it has good long-term benefits’, adding: ‘And that commitment to long term is what the monarchy stands for.’
Anne also claimed the British public would know what to expect from the King as he prepares to formalise his position in a much-anticipated ceremony on Saturday.
She added: ‘He is committed to his own level of service, that will remain true.’