Despite being famed for their stiff upper lip, the Royal Family shared a rare and moving display of raw emotion while saying their final farewells to Queen Elizabeth II at her funeral yesterday.
The family aren’t just mourning the UK’s longest serving monarch – but their mother, grandmother and matriarch.
And yet, for many viewing the funeral at home, it was still a surprise to see the family display such emotion.
At Westminster Abbey yesterday, King Charles III was seen wiping away tears during the funeral service for his ‘beloved mother’.
Tears streamed down his face throughout the proceedings an he appeared deeply moved as guests sang an updated version of the national anthem, God Save the King.
Nova Cobban, psychologist and author of upcoming book Positive Potential, tells Metro.co.uk that His Majesty’s demonstration of grief represents how the world is moving away from old-fashioned traditions of being quiet about mental health.
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Nova says: ‘King Charles becoming tearful was, I suspect, what many of us needed to see.
‘Not because we wish him to be sad, but because it shows he’s experiencing grief as one of us and with us,’ she says.
‘It is so important to see an acknowledgment of the strides the world has taken towards being more open about mental health – an example of it being ok to show real emotion. It gave us permission to cry too.’
Daughter-in-law to the Queen, Sophie Wessex, also had a ‘close bond’ with her Majesty and was pictured yesterday comforting her great-nephew nine-year-old Prince George as they left Westminster Abbey.
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Nova says: ‘When Sophie places an arm around Prince George, offering much needed reassurance and to a certain degree, protection, it shows that the royal family are not just a family in name but very much in nature too, that they can lean on each other and feel close.
‘They literally draw each other close physically to offer a loving sense of “I’m here, right next to you”. That goes a long way towards offering strength in fragile moments.’
Meanwhile, Queen Elizabeth’s eldest granddaughter, Zara Tindall, and her husband, former rugby union player Mike Tindall were captured walking hand-in-hand while leaving Monday’s state funeral as the Royal Family travelled to Windsor Castle.
Cobban explains this shows a willingness to openly be supportive of one another, even when millions are watching.
She says: ‘Zara and Mike holding hands shows us their sense of connection to one another, and that they are not afraid to reach out and gain from each other the support they need.
Just as we’ve seen Harry and Meghan do, holding hands is a clear way of letting someone know you’re there for them.
Cobban says: ‘Holding hands is a way of saying ‘we’ll do this together’, solidarity amongst the lonely experience of personal grief.’
Zara and Mike were not the only couple to be seen comforting one another during the many hours of public appearance.
Princess Beatrice, 34, was seen being comforted by Edoardo Mozzi, who rubs her back gently.
Cobban explains: ‘Beatrice was held close by her husband as they walked together towards home after the funeral.
‘It’s often after the funeral when we finally stop holding our breath and trying to hold it together. Beatrice’s husband was quick to recognise this and offer a loving arm around her.’
Perhaps one of the most striking images taken from Monday’s state funeral was that of Meghan Markle shedding tears while accompanying her husband, Prince Harry to the monumental service.
The pair have visibly supported one another since returning to the UK for the ten days of mourning in the run-up to the Queen’s state funeral and Cobban speculates that this won’t have been done without consideration.
She says: ‘Harry and Meghan are often seen offering physical reassurances to one another, their solidarity is important right now as they must have been conscious of returning to the UK.’
She suggests that ‘it was quite possibly a daunting prospect to come back to the UK and wonder how they would fit into the dynamic post their exit, so touch and comfort would have been even more important.’
But Cobban explains that not everyone needs physical touch when going through emotional pain.
She says: ‘When we are dealing with a lot we can respond either by needing more touch or actually sometimes we want less of it.
‘A loving touch on the arm can sometimes trigger emotions that we are trying to contain and we’d rather save for a moment when it feels safe to let them out.’
During the state funeral, viewers from across the world took to social media to praise the royals for showing their emotions, with many feeling moved by their openness.
One tweeted: ‘King Charles crying during his eulogy, such tender humanity in grief and loss.’
Another added: ‘It was really good to see Harry and Meghan supporting each other rather than stiff upper lip. If more people supported one another instead of talking hatred and vitriol, what a better place the world would be.’
The key thing to take away from Monday’s displays of public emotion from a family bound by stoic tradition?
‘These beautiful and touching moments demonstrate how no matter what your role in life, we all have a very real human need to feel comfort and touch to connect with our loved ones during profoundly challenging events,’ says Cobban.
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