Prince George and Princess Charlotte are "pivotal" to the future of the Royal Family, an expert claimed.

The royal youngsters, aged nine and seven respectively, took on an important role at their great grandmother's funeral, something which commentator Richard Fitzwilliams believes was an "extremely good idea".

Fitzwilliams told the Daily Star: "They have both accompanied their parents abroad and it was an extremely good idea to involve both George and Charlotte on this unique and momentous day.

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"The world is indeed watching, but these are totally different circumstances to the funeral of the Princess of Wales.

"George’s appearance also emphasises the continuity of the monarchy and Charlotte’s with him how the three of them (with Prince Louis) are so pivotal to the future of the institution."

The decision for Charlotte and George to walk with their mum and dad was reportedly made at the last minute – initially the pair were supposed to walk behind their parents in the procession.

The move was reportedly made so their parents could offer them extra support during the ceremony.

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However, Fitzwilliams' comments come despite widespread criticism saying the children shouldn't have been made to walk behind the casket.

Taking to Twitter, social media users shared their reaction to the siblings' involvement in the ceremony.

One asked "why" they had walked behind the casket, noting: "They are children."

Another added: "Was nothing learnt when William and Harry walked behind Diana's [coffin]?!"

A third remarked: "Funerals are no place for children at any level, let alone one that's being broadcast across the world."

At today's funeral the family was missing a member, as Prince Louis, aged just four years old, did not attend.

The Princess of Wales reportedly revealed to Australia's Governor-General, David Hurley, that her youngest son was more to understand his great-grandmother's death – while his older siblings were more able to grasp the loss.

Hurley said that Prince George, nine, is "sort of now realising how important his great-grandmother was and what is going on".

He added: "The younger one 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?"

However, some have another theory as to why Louis was left at home for today's proceedings.

Columnist and sketch writer for the Telegraph, Madeline Grant, tweeted: “I like how Louis is considered too much of a loose cannon to have at the funeral.

“Not even five and already the Princess Margaret of his generation.”

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