“If there is a coming together at the funeral, and the boys, the brothers, can speak to one another and forgive and forget, then I think there’s some hope that Philip’s death may bring about an end to something that might otherwise have gone on for decades,” said Ms. Junor, the historian, who wrote “The Firm: The Troubled Life of the House of Windsor.”
“But that hasn’t happened yet, and it may not happen,” she said. “I certainly hope it does.”
Royal commentators suspect that even as Philip stepped back from his busy public schedule in recent years, he continued to play an active role in big issues facing the family, Harry and Meghan’s departure among them.
The queen is Britain’s head of state, but analysts say that Philip long acted as head of the royal household. He was credited with giving television cameras an early peek at the family’s private life in the 1960s and introducing efficiencies at Buckingham Palace.
Yet his stewardship of the royal household was not without difficulties. Known for cracking the whip and delivering confrontational messages, he also wounded Charles, his oldest son, with frequent belittlements.
He was also partly blamed for the family’s seemingly grudging response to the country’s outpouring of grief over the death of Charles’s wife, Diana, Princess of Wales, in a car crash in Paris in 1997.
Britons took a forgiving view of him on Friday, though.
Beverley Pilkington, a self-described royalist from Crystal Palace in south London, traveled to Buckingham Palace to pay her respects — though without her two daughters, who she said had resisted joining her. Palace attendants had placed a notice of Philip’s death on the gates, only to take it away a short time later as a precaution against a crowd forming.