Seeing Meghan Markle back in the fold has once again made me feel more connected to the Royal Family

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I am something of a Royalist. I felt deep sadness when hearing of the Queen’s passing last week and even made the journey to Buckingham Palace to pay my respects like hundreds of thousands of others. Her Majesty achieved so much in her reign that spanned a lifetime, through her unrivalled commitment to service and the love and devotion she had for her family. That family, it appears, has reunited in grief like so many families do when faced with a death.

When I first saw the pictures of the Prince and Princess of Wales and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex together in public last Saturday, to meet well-wishers and look at the floral tributes, I gasped and then smiled. It was exactly what I needed to see. I was on a packed train at the time from Bristol to London and even the person sat next to me didn’t hide a double take.

Those images, and the ones since of Meghan and Harry with the rest of the Royal Family, have given my mood a boost during this period of mourning. It has restored the “audacity of hope” and strengthened the feeling of togetherness in our nation. Whilst it might not have been in perfect harmony, the Royal Family has walked to the beat of the same drum.

Despite the cameras capturing moments of distance it has been what I expected; a small step in the right direction. And whilst we draw conclusions as armchair body language experts – about, for example, the distance between one couple and the closeness of another – wasn’t it simply the difference between protocol of working Royals verses non working Royals?

I’ve made it no secret that a woman of colour joining the British Royal Family brought me and so many others great pride and a feeling of acceptance. I actually began to engage and connect more with the institution as it started to look like the families that I see around me. Seeing Meghan Markle here again this week, greeting crowds of mourners and being part of the traditions alongside Harry, William and Kate, has taken me back to happier times. So while I wholeheartedly respect Harry and Meghan’s decision to step away from their royal duties to serve in their own way, I still believe that their absence has left a hole – and made it even more apparent the positives they brought to the institution.

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It’s also no secret that this family has had a challenging few years, but in times of great sadness, there are those beams of light like crepuscular rays in the sky that can bring comfort. The sights of the “fab four” has arguably been that for the nation. I can’t imagine what it would feel like for them to face crowds of people, the flash of cameras and a world audience at a time of such grief. But we have seen the strength the princes displayed as they walked behind their mother’s coffin as children and we saw it again as they faced the crowds, with their wives, as grown men for their grandmother.

Ultimately families hurt, heal, forgive and come back together. I’ve seen it in my own family and you’ve seen it in yours. The intense bond between us only heightens conflict yet it can also bring us back together quicker than ever. I remember my mother saying, “If Granny were here she’d bang your heads together” and while the action isn’t the same, the sentiment remains. Even in death the Queen continues to work in the consciousness of those she left behind as a guiding voice of reason that made one brother reach out and another to accept.

In my speculation about what this could mean next for the Royal Family and with Prince Harry publicly declaring support for his father in his new role as King, I hope we will see more moments like this under much happier circumstances. After all, it doesn’t matter which side you’re on if any, we all want a happily ever after don’t we?

Alex Beresford is a TV and weather presenter for ITV

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