“In Scotland, how many rainbows turned up?” Prince William reportedly asked his wife, 40, as the pair met with volunteers and operational staff who assisted in the queen’s funeral preparations at Windsor Guildhall on Thursday, September 22. “You hardly ever see rainbows up there, but there were five.”
Kate replied, “Her Majesty was looking down on us.”
In the wake of the queen’s death on September 8, multiple rainbows were spotted across the United Kingdom, including a double rainbow that broke through the clouds over Buckingham Palace around the time the news broke. The following day, the royal family saw five rainbows above Balmoral Castle, where the queen died at age 96. One day before her funeral on Monday, September 19, a rainbow appeared once more over London’s Westminster Hall, where the late monarch was lying in state.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have been open about grieving Elizabeth in the week since her death. “On Thursday, the world lost an extraordinary leader, whose commitment to the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth was absolute,” William, 40, said in a statement shared via social media on September 10. “I, however, have lost a grandmother. And while I will grieve her loss, I also feel incredibly grateful. I have had the benefit of the queen’s wisdom and reassurance into my fifth decade.”
He continued, “My wife has had twenty years of her guidance and support. My three children have got to spend holidays with her and create memories that will last their whole lives.”
Amid the official period of mourning, a source told Us Weekly exclusively that both William and Prince Harry were feeling an assortment of emotions as they dealt with the grief of losing their grandmother. “This is such an intensely difficult time for the princes,” the insider said at the time. “They both adored their grandma and it will take some time to process the reality of her passing.”
“There’s still this horrendous sense of loss and emptiness thinking that she’ll no longer be around,” the source continued, adding that he and the Duke of Suss3x, 37, “console themselves with the fact she’s at peace with their grandfather in heaven and watching over them and in their hearts forever. … For William, there’s a steadfast determination to now serve the king and prepare himself for the destiny that will one day see him be fortunate enough to serve as sovereign.”
Three days later, Governor-General David Hurley of Australia revealed that the Duchess of Cornwall spoke to him about how her and William’s children — Prince George, 9, Princess Charlotte, 7, and Prince Louis, 4 — reacted to the queen’s death.
“[Prince Louis] is now asking questions like, ‘Do you think we can still play these games when we go to Balmoral,’ and things like that, because she’s not going to be there,” he told reporters after the event. George, meanwhile, “is sort of now realizing how important his great-grandmother was and what is going on.”
After her emotional funeral service at Westminster Abbey on Monday, the queen was buried next to her late husband, Prince Philip, in Windsor. As they continue to mourn, William and Kate expressed their gratitude on Thursday to all of the volunteers and staffers who helped coordinate the procession of the queen’s casket from Buckingham Palace and took part in the committal ceremony at Windsor’s St George’s Chapel.
Keep scrolling to see photos from their first public appearance since the queen’s funeral: