Princess Anne must be an imperative part of King Charles III’s slimmed down monarchy, says Dan Wootton

It started to feel all too real today, didn’t it?

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It started to feel all too real today, didn’t it?

The coffin of Queen Elizabeth the Great had spent the past two days surrounded by her family at Balmoral Castle.

But as she left the gates of her beloved Scottish estate for the last time this morning and the journey to Edinburgh began, the Queen once again belonged to the public.

The symbolism of the Queen lying in rest in the Throne Room of Holyroodhouse is an important example of the importance of the Union, for which she was so passionate.

The Queen’s immediate family have shone during this period.

On Friday, a grieving King Charles the Third delivered his pitch perfect tribute for his mother, while setting out his stall to become an apolitical monarch to deliver her mission.

Dan Wootton has praised Princess Anne's conduct.
Dan Wootton has praised Princess Anne's conduct.

Yesterday, the new heir to the throne and Prince of Wales William turned statesman with his ode to the grandmother who had been there for him during his saddest moments and happiest triumphs – while explaining why she provided the perfect example to our generation.

Then he was able to achieve the near impossible by reuniting with the wayward Sussexes for a historic joint walkabout at Windsor, following reports Harry and Meghan had been intending to go it alone.

His wife Kate, the new Princess of Wales, shone in her ability to connect with the public in a way not seen since the last Princess of Wales Diana.

But today belonged to the Queen’s only daughter.

An altogether different form of public servant, second only to her mother in terms of quiet stoicism and a total lack of fuss or ego.

Princess Anne approaches the hearse carrying Queen Elizabeth II's coffin.
Princess Anne approaches the hearse carrying Queen Elizabeth II's coffin.

It was Princess Anne who accompanied the Queen’s coffin on the long and winding six-hour journey from Aberdeenshire to Edinburgh through the beautiful Scottish countryside in the royal Bentley.

It was Anne who will be with her coffin on its flight to London this week.

While there was no reference from Charles to his sister during the King’s Speech to the nation on Friday night, she must be an imperative part of his slimmed down monarchy.

If the Queen’s long working life taught us anything, it’s that duty isn’t always glamorous.

In fact, it’s usually not.

Her deep curtsy today as she stood and watched her mother enter Holyroodhouse for the final time at the end of the hardest journey signified the dignity, tradition and understated emotion that makes our monarchy so special.