Queen Elizabeth to turn 95 days after the funeral of Prince Philip, the man who gave her ‘strength’
Traditionally, the Queen’s birthday is celebrated with a 21-gun salute, a show of respect on important occasions for royal figures dating back to the 18th century.
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However, last year the guns fell silent on the Queen’s request as the nation counted almost 20,000 dead from the coronavirus pandemic.
A gun salute would be inappropriate, she said at the time.
It was a low-key affair due to the pandemic, which forced family members to sit in separate pews in St George’s Chapel to satisfy rules on social distancing.
For one minute, the nation stopped to mourn the man who stood by the Queen’s side for so many years.
She sat alone, her face covered by a black mask, in a photo that commentators said spoke of the loneliness to come after the loss of her closest confidant, a man she often said gave her “strength”.
“He has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years,” she said at a banquet to celebrate their Golden Wedding anniversary in 1997.
A family briefly reunited
The duke’s funeral hastened the return of Prince Harry to the United Kingdom from Los Angeles, where he moved with his wife, Meghan Markle, last year as part of a planned separation from his royal title and duties.
The prince’s departure from royal life became even more controversial in March, when Harry and Meghan confided in US television host Oprah Winfrey – and a global audience of nearly 50 million people — about their strained relations with his family, and his brother.
“We are certainly on different paths,” Prince Harry said of Prince William.
While the focus of the duke’s funeral was firmly on the Queen and her loss, commentators watched the brothers for clues about the state of their relations.
While the princes were separated by their cousin Peter Phillips as they walked behind their grandfather’s casket to the Chapel, after the service they were seen briefly exchanging words. It is not known what was said.
Meghan did not attend the funeral on the advice of her doctor due to her pregnancy. The couple’s second child, a girl, is due in the British summer, possibly early June, though the couple has not shared a date.
The brothers’ next public meeting could be at Kensington Palace on July 1, when a statue of their mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, is due to be erected in the Sunken Garden.
The brothers commissioned the statue in 2017 to mark their mother’s “positive impact”, with a view that it be unveiled 20 years after her death, on what would have been her 60th birthday.
What next for the Queen?
It is not known if Prince Harry will remain in the UK to mark his grandmother’s birthday on April 21.
Nor is it clear when the Queen will resume her royal duties, however she is expected to attend the State Opening of Parliament on May 11.
The highly ceremonial occasion sees the Queen, wearing the Imperial State Crown and robes, lead a procession to the House of Lords, where she delivers the Queen’s Speech, a summary of proposed legislation for this year’s parliamentary session.
Former royal press secretary Dickie Arbiter says the Queen is likely to take on other commitments from May, carrying on through difficult times, as she has done for decades.
“Throughout her reign, the Queen has conducted a lot of solo engagements — very rarely did she go out with the duke,” Mr Arbiter told the Today Show.
“She will continue doing these engagements on her own, but she will miss Prince Philip desperately,” he said.
The Queen’s official birthday celebrations are in June, when the palace traditionally stages Trooping the Colour, a ceremony that would normally bring thousands to the gates of Buckingham Palace in London.
However, it has already been cancelled this year due to the pandemic, as it was in 2020.
In a statement, the palace said it was considering options for a smaller event in the quadrangle at Windsor Castle.
With few large events on the calendar, Prince Philip’s funeral may be the last occasion that brings the royal family together this year.
That sombre event is in keeping with what is likely to be another difficult year for the British royals.
#AceNewsDesk report ………..Published: Apr.19: 2021:
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