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Ardent monarchist urges Harry to reconcile with family at Philip’s funeral

Tom Wilkinson, PA
·2 min read

A record-breaking royalist has expressed her hope that the Duke of Sussex will be reconciled with his family when he returns to Britain for his grandfather’s funeral.

Anita Atkinson, 64, who has more than 12,000 items of royal memorabilia and has set up a museum in a converted dairy on her farm in Weardale, County Durham, also said she was deeply sad that the funeral on Saturday would not be a public event.

In the past she has camped out for days to get a good spot on the procession route for royal marriages and funerals.

Royal Wedding plans
Mrs Atkinson camped outside Westminster Abbey in 2011 for the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (Nick Ansell/PA)

The passionate royalist, who has studied the monarchy in depth, met the Duke of Edinburgh when he was on a walkabout for the Queen’s 80th, with Philip then bringing his wife over to talk to Mrs Atkinson.

She hoped the royal family can use the occasion to mend relationships following the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s move to California and their explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey.

Sipping a cup of tea from a Union flag mug, the grandmother-of-four told the PA news agency: “I hope there is a reconciliation between Harry and the rest of the family.

“I think this is the chance, there’s not going to be another one.

Duke of Edinburgh death
She has more than 12,000 items of memorabilia (Owen Humphreys/PA)

“What was said will take a long time to forgive, I think what has been said should not have been said, but it has been and you cannot take it back now.

“If they cannot reconcile and become friends again over this, then it’s their last chance.”

Mrs Atkinson, who is in the process of having her collection of books, cups, plates, posters and other memorabilia officially recognised as the world’s largest, added: “I am devastated (Philip’s funeral) won’t be a state funeral.

Anita Atkinson
Anita Atkinson urged the Duke of Sussex to take the chance to reconcile with his family (Owen Humphreys/PA)

“He deserves a state funeral.

“There would have been a million people camped on the streets of London. It’s just a shame we cannot show how we felt about Prince Philip, for the role he has done, how grateful we are, so the Queen can see it.”

The royal expert paid tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh for his enduring support of the Queen, and acknowledged he could show his “mischievous” side when speaking to the public.