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The moment Prince Harry took part in an emotional tribute to his late grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, was praised by fans after footage shot ahead of her state funeral in 2022 went viral on social media site TikTok.

Harry has spoken on several occasions about the special bond he had with his grandmother and how she influenced him throughout his life. In an interview before the Queen's death, Harry said: “We have a really special relationship; we talk about things that she can't talk about with anyone else.”

Harry was born in 1984 as Elizabeth's fourth grandchild. He was the youngest son of King Charles III (then Prince of Wales) and Princess Diana. He regularly socialised with his grandmother at official functions and served her as a full-time royal after retiring from the British Army in 2015 until moving to the US with Meghan Markle five years later.

Vigil for Prince Harry and Queen Elizabeth
Main image: Prince Harry stands at the vigil for Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Hall in London, September 17, 2022. And (inset) the Prince and the monarch kiss in London, May 18, 2015. Footage from…


Aaron Chown – WPA Pool/Getty Images/Stuart C. Wilson – Pool /Getty Images

When the monarch died on September 8, 2022 at the age of 96 during a stay at her Scottish residence Balmoral Castle, Harry and Meghan happened to be visiting the UK at the time to attend charity events.

Harry flew to Scotland when news broke that the Queen's health was deteriorating, but arrived just as her death was announced on the news, sparking a series of mourning events ahead of her state funeral in London on September 19.

Footage of one of the most emotional of these events, uploaded to TikTok on June 19 by user @jona_m_m_13, went viral, having been viewed nearly 200,000 times on the video-sharing platform so far.

The picture was taken during the monarch's lying in state, where her coffin was laid out in Westminster Hall in London for the public to pay their last respects. A special ceremony was also held where all eight of the Queen's grandchildren came together to pay their last respects.

Harry stood ceremonial guard at the Queen's coffin along with his older brother, Prince William, as well as Princess Anne's two children, Zara Tindall and Peter Phillips, Prince Andrew's daughters, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, and Prince Edward's children, Lady Louise Windsor and James, Earl of Wessex.

The ceremony was reminiscent of the so-called “Vigil of the Princes”, an honour first established by the sons of King George V when he died in 1936. When Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, died in 2002, her four grandchildren paid her the same tribute.

Queen Elizabeth II was honored in two ways: once by her four children and once by her grandchildren.

The TikTok clip, which shows Harry's involvement in the touching family moment, also includes footage of the prince and his grandmother in happier times, when she took part in a filmed skit to promote his Invictus Games veterans' sports tournament in 2016.

The post has so far received over 12,000 likes and numerous comments, many of which praised Harry and his relationship with the Queen.

Although the wake for the Queen's grandchildren was a prominent moment among the mourning events leading up to the state funeral and received worldwide press coverage, Harry's participation was not without controversy in the British press.

Before his participation, there was extensive debate in the tabloid press about whether the Prince should be allowed to wear a military uniform at the events. When Harry stepped down as an active member of the royal family, the Prince's honorary umbrellas were withdrawn and he was no longer allowed to appear in uniform.

Many voices defended the prince, who had served his country in active combat as part of the British Army in the war in Afghanistan.

In the end, Harry did indeed appear in uniform. He reportedly had permission to do so from King Charles III, the commander-in-chief of the British armed forces.

James Crawford-Smith is NewsweekRoyal Reporter based in London. You can you can find him on X, formerly Twitter, under @jrcrawfordsmith and read his stories on Newsweek's The Royals Facebook page.

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