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‘The Queen was a grieving widow braving a moment she had long feared’ – Voice of the Mirror – Voice of the Mirror

The Duke of Edinburgh planned his ­funeral down to the last detail. It was an occasion of flawless pageantry, ­ ­military order and stirring music.

For obvious reasons, some elements had to be adjusted to accommodate the restrictions of Covid. Yet the simplicity of the pared-down service made it all the more powerful.

Behind the ceremony and royal regalia this was ultimately a very personal send-off.

No family, however mighty or lowly, is immune from the pain and loss which comes with grief.

It was a moment for a wife to say goodbye to her husband, for children to mourn their father and for grandchildren and great-grandchildren to remember their beloved grandad and great-grandad.

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The Queen sitting alone at Prince Philip's funeral
The Queen sitting alone at Prince Philip’s funeral

The funeral may have been blessed by spring sunshine, but not even the kindness of the weather would have softened their sadness.

Prince Philip’s 99 years were a life well lived, and the service fully reflected his extraordinary career.

As the Dean of Windsor, the Rt Reverend David Conner, said the nation has been inspired by his unwavering loyalty to the Queen.

The Prince was the longest-living consort, a veteran of the Second World War, a champion of the arts, industry and the Armed Forces, a patron to hundreds of charities and a passionate defender of the environment.

The Queen watches as pallbearers arrive with the coffin of her husband of 73 years
The Queen watches as pallbearers arrive with the coffin of her husband of 73 years

Yet his greatest achievement was his steadfast and unstinting devotion to Her Majesty.

He was, as she once said, her “support and stay”.

Above all, Saturday was about a wife in mourning saying farewell to her husband of 73 years.

The fact that she is the monarch was not important.

The funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh in St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle
Queen bows her head during the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh

On Saturday, she was another a grieving widow who sat poignantly alone as she braved a moment she had long feared but never wished to happen.

Anyone who has attended a funeral will know how hard this must have been.

It was all the more heartbreaking to watch the Queen, stoical as ever, sit isolated from her nearest and dearest because of the cruelty of Covid.

Her Majesty has long commanded our respect and devotion – today she commanded as never before our affection.

Prince Philip was the longest-living consort
Prince Philip was the longest-living consort

The gap left by Prince Philip will never be repaired.

The only comfort is the whole country was with her in their thoughts and prayers.

When the buglers of the Royal Marines sounded Action Stations at the end of Saturday’s service, it was Duke of Edinburgh’s reminder that all hands in the Royal Family should be ready for the battles ahead.

Perhaps it was this final message which spurred Princes William and Harry to walk together from the Chapel back to Windsor Castle.

If a rapprochement can be reached between the two brothers then it will be a small piece of consolation for the family on an otherwise sorrowful day.

From a time of sadness, this was a sign of hope for the future.



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