Former Prime Minister John Major Has a Close Relationship with the Royal Family

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John Major's Relationship with the Royal FamilyTim Graham - Getty Images

Sir John Major's tenure as Prime Minister lasted from 1990 through 1997, which season five of The Crown covers in depth. Though the real Major has criticized the Netflix series as a "barrel-load of nonsense," the show portrays Major's warm relationship with Queen Elizabeth. In fact, Major remained close with the British royals following the tumultuous 1990s, long after his time as prime minister came to a close.

In the wake of Princess Diana's tragic death, Major was appointed a special guardian to princes William and Harry. The appointment, granted at the suggestion of then-Prince Charles, made Major responsible for legal and administrative matters relating to the young royals.

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Prince Harry, Prince William, and Major in 2014.WPA Pool - Getty Images

In November 1997, he applied in the High Court for extra powers to protect their interests. as The Herald reported at the time, "Lawyers for Mr Major will go to court before Christmas to seek powers to protect the princes' financial interest in souvenirs and memorabilia related to their late mother, Diana, Princess of Wales. Boodle Hatfield, representing Mr Major as guardian, said in a statement that the application would deal with circumstances which could not have been foreseen, to ensure that appropriate trusts and powers to benefit the princes were conferred. This is understood to refer to the extra value placed on anything bearing Diana's image, signature or name after her death in a car crash in Paris, and to ensure that her sons, and charities, would benefit."

In essence, Major sought approval to move the trademark rights surrounding Princess Diana from the young princes to a memorial fund for her.

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Queen Elizabeth awards Major with an honor, 1999.Tim Graham - Getty Images

In 1999, Queen Elizabeth put Major on her New Year Honours List, appointing him a Order of the Companions of Honour for his work on the Northern Ireland peace process. Six years later, the Queen bestowed upon him a knighthood in England's highest award for chivalry, the Order of the Garter, typically given to former prime ministers. "I am absolutely thrilled, honoured and delighted," he shared at the time.

In 2012, Major became chairman of the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust. In the years since, he's appeared at various events in supporting the Trust, often alongside the Queen or other members of the royal family.

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Meghan Markle, Prince Harry, Queen Elizabeth and John Major, at the Queen’s Young Leaders Awards Ceremony, 2018.WPA Pool - Getty Images
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Then-Prince Charles and Major share a laugh at a Commonwealth Day reception in 2019.Chris Jackson - Getty Images

He attended both Prince William's marriage to Kate Middleton and Prince Harry's wedding to Meghan Markle. Though many politicians were invited to Prince William's wedding, because he is future king, Major was the only prime minister in attendance at Prince Harry's wedding.

Most recently, he attended Queen Elizabeth's funeral and the smaller committal service at Windsor Castle following the state funeral.

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