Prince Charles masterminded plan to walk from Philip's funeral so Harry and William could talk, ex-royal aide claims

PRINCE Charles sent away cars after his father's funeral to allow Harry and William the chance to talk, a former royal aide says.

Dickie Arbiter – the best-known of all the Queen's former press secretaries- said Charles will have wanted his sons to 'break the ice' after Harry and Meghan's bombshell Oprah chat.

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And he told Good Morning Britain: "They were reasonably animated from what we could see.

"The cameras weren't on them for long, but we did see they had a certain amount of animated conversation."

Mr Arbiter told Susanna Reid and Adil Ray he would have been "very surprised" if the brothers hadn't spent time talking after the funeral.

"It was probably Charles' initiative sending the cars away so that everybody could walk 200 metres back to the castle as a good ice breaker," he said.

It comes as:

  • Prince Andrew left his father's funeral in a brand new £220,000 Bentley
  • The royals have 'agreed a rota' for visiting the Queen on her birthday this week
  • Charles and William will lead a summit on the future on the monarchy
  • The heartbreaking photo of the Queen sitting alone at the funeral prompts calls to ease Covid rules
  • The monarch faces her "loneliest birthday" this week

The brothers met face-to-face for the first time in a year on Saturday.

They had to wait until after the funeral to chat after walking separately in the Duke’s funeral procession, either side of their cousin Peter Phillips.

They sat apart inside the chapel, opposite one another.

Following the funeral, as the family filed out of the chapel, the brothers walked together with Kate Middleton. They were seen chatting as they did so.

Mr Arbiter said: "The ice was broken by the Duchess of Cambridge.

"Harry went to speak to her and she kind of stepped sideways to allow the two brothers to talk together."

Kate has been hailed as a 'peacemaker' for her role in bringing the brothers back together – with William's official biographer calling her a "rock" for the royals.

 Brian Hoey said: “They say cometh the hour, cometh the man. But in the Royal Family’s case, it’s a woman.

“Thank God for Kate — she is the rock the monarchy will depend on. On Saturday, she behaved absolutely impeccably.”

William and Harry spoke for two hours after the funeral, and it's now believed Harry could stay for the Queen's birthday on Wednesday.

A source said: “It’s early days but you’d hope this is exactly the first step Philip would have wished for.”

And there's hope that the rift between the brothers could now heal.

“It is not known what was said behind closed doors and when the cameras were turned off, but it's unfathomable to think Megxit and Oprah did not come up," the source said.

“Harry and William appeared cordial as the cameras rolled and that seemed to pave the way for Charles to join them when everyone had left.”

Meanwhile, Mr Arbiter called the funeral "powerful and emotive".

"It was powerful in its simplicity," he said.

"We all know somebody who has passed away this past year so we could empathise with royals."

He said images of the Queen sitting alone in the huge chapel were hugely moving – but the monarch "leads by example and was socially distancing".

"She cut such a lonely figure you felt like reaching out to hug her, to comfort her," he said.

"It was absolutely right, unfortunately, that she sat alone."

But Susanna later hit out at rules on funerals as pub gardens and non-essential shops reopen – and said the photos "just bring home the cruelty and brutality of some of the restrictions".

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