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ebruary is always a poignant month for the Queen as she recalls her sadness at the premature death of her father King George VI on 6 February 1952 and spends the day in quiet contemplation at Sandringham.

   This year marks the 65th anniversary of the Coronation and to celebrate this the BBC has screened a documentary that also looks at the Crown Jewels associated with the ceremony. During the hour-long programme the Queen shares memories of both her own coronation and that of her father in 1937. On 2 June 1953, one of the coldest June days of the century and after 16 months of planning, the 27-year-old Queen set out from Buckingham Palace to be crowned at Westminster Abbey, a ritual dating back more than a thousand years. Many saw this as the dawning of a new Elizabethan age.

   2018 is the 69th anniversary of the formation of the Commonwealth, in April 1949, and George VI was thus the first head of the association. Prince Harry has expressed more than a passing interest in working within the Commonwealth; recently he became the President of African Parks in recognition of his work in conservation.

   As a guest editor on BBC Radio 4’s Today at the end of 2017 Harry used his high-profile appearance on the programme to highlight the causes most important to him. He interviewed his friend, former US President Barack Obama, at length. It was a coup for the BBC because it was the first interview Obama had given since his term of office ended.

   But by far the most poignant section of the morning show was when the Prince interviewed his father. It revealed a great deal about their relationship, which of late has been portrayed as somewhat distant. Prince Charles reminisced about his early understanding of the threat of climate change and hoped people no longer thought he was ‘potty’.

   There was an obvious affection between father and son, which, given Prince Harry’s popularity, can only serve to make people understand that Charles is not without huge compassion nor as ‘uncool’ as he likes to portray himself.

   Harry addressed his father as ‘Pa’, while Charles said he had probably bored his son to tears for years about issues such as working in greater harmony with nature. Harry admitted to his father that he had listened to what he said, adding: ‘I end up picking your brains more now than I have ever done. Coming from a younger generation it is incredibly exciting and I feel optimistic about the future for now is a real test – a real test for humanity to be able to swing the pendulum.’

   ‘Well, darling boy, it makes me very proud to think that you understand,’ the Prince of Wales replied. Harry, being the interviewer, had the last word: ‘And that I am listening!’

   More father-and-son togetherness will highlight their pet causes and this double act works beautifully. I hope – and believe – we will see more of this in 2018.


 
 
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