The strange link between the royal family and the funeral procession in House of the Dragon

House of the Dragon funeral procession
(Image credit: © 2024 Home Box Office, Inc. All rights reserved)

Some spoilers ahead

House of the Dragon is officially back with season 2 finally on our screens after a two year wait - and things in Westeros are getting a little heated. Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke may not be able to bring herself to watch the prequel, but the TV show - based on George R. R. Martin's Fire & Blood - has been a huge success since it premiered in 2022. And fans were left on a rather jaw-dropping cliffhanger (cloudhanger?) at the end of the first season.

When we last saw the Targaryens, Velaryons and Hightowers, Aegon had officially been crowned King and Rhaenyra had set up camp at Dragonstone to rally support for her claim to the throne. In a tense ending, Rhaenyra's son Lucerys was mercilessly shredded by Prince Aemond and his dragon, and so begins the unfolding of season two.

In retaliation to his murder, House of the Dragon season 2 starts with Rhaenyra's uncle-husband Daemon ordering spies to kill Aemond. But when they can't find him in the Red Keep, they instead target King Aegon's eldest son and heir, four year old Prince Jaehaerys. What follows is a very sombre funeral procession through the streets, with Jaehaerys' grandmother Alicent and mother Helaena forced to publicly grieve in a carriage just behind the young boy's body. But this poignant moment in episode two - where the two women are made to display their heartbreak to the world, and manage the overwhelming reaction from the crowds - has a strange link to the British royal family.

In an interview with Vanity Fair, director of the episode Clare Kilner explained that she showed extras images of the late Princess Diana's funeral procession to illustrate the emotion she wanted to convey in the scenes. Shot in Spain, she said that she had conversations with the crowd actors about their own experiences with loss, saying: "I grew up in Argentina, so I speak Spanish. I speak to them to find out what personal experience of grief you’ve had, and to bring that with you and for everyone to really individualise it so that it’s not just one crowd doing one thing."

She added: "We shot so much footage for the funeral, and we thought, 'Oh my goodness', we’ve got to have that first beat before setting off on this procession, which is really heartbreaking and really hard. Alicent and Helaena had to deal with everyone watching and looking."

House of the Dragon season 2 continues on Sky Atlantic and NOW TV at 2am GMT on Monday 1st July.

Jadie Troy-Pryde
News Editor

Jadie Troy-Pryde is News Editor, covering celebrity and entertainment, royal, lifestyle and viral news. Before joining the team in 2018 as the Lifestyle and Social Media Editor, she worked at a number of women’s fashion and lifestyle titles including Grazia, Women’s Health and Stylist, and now heads the Marie Claire UK news desk.