He was her “strength and (her) support”: Queen Elizabeth II now faces the twilight of her reign without her husband Prince Philip, while she must continue her heavy task, while leading a restless family marked by crises .
• Read also: Harry and William pay homage to their grandfather
• Read also: Elizabeth II feels a “great void” after the death of Prince Philip
Many observers credited the Duke of Edinburgh, who would have turned 100 in June, with running an iron fist of the royal family, helping the Queen overcome scandals shaking the palace.
Philip’s death left “a huge void in his life,” their second son Prince Andrew said on Saturday, suddenly out of retirement where his sulphurous friendship with the American pedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein had relegated him.
“The Queen is an incredibly stoic person,” he said, adding that the entire royal family “was mobilizing to be there to support her”.
Since last week, its main members have followed one another with the queen, in particular her three sons. According to the youngest, Edward, Elizabeth II “holds up” despite the immeasurable shock of this loss.
“Serve your country”
After the death of her husband, some wonder if the queen, who will be 95 years old next week, will not abdicate and make way for her eldest son, Prince Charles, already 72 years old.
According to the Times, the sovereign has for example decided to no longer receive, during the two weeks that the royal mourning will last, the famous red boxes containing government documents.
But for Penny Junor, “there is zero chance that the queen will abdicate”. “At the age of 21, she promised to serve her country all her life, whether long or short,” the royal expert told AFP, referring to the famous Cape Town speech that Elizabeth He had spoken in 1947, when she was still a princess.
“As long as she is in good physical and mental health, she will continue to work as usual,” says Junor.
The first signs are indeed going in this direction: for example, the sovereign has maintained her audience with Prime Minister Boris Johnson the day after her husband’s death. And on Tuesday, four days after the death of her husband, she held her first official engagement for the retirement of the highest official of the Royal Household.
To make up for the absence of Philip, who had always been by her side since taking the throne in 1952, the monarch would have to rely more during official events on Crown Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, as well as on his grandfather. son William, second in line of succession, and his wife Kate.
Charles had already taken on more tasks in recent years, including representing the crown abroad. He is expected to accompany his mother for the official opening of Parliament on May 11.
The Times says she should, however, continue to take on certain commitments on her own.
Elizabeth II’s attitude stands in stark contrast to that of the last British queen, Victoria, who, upon the death of her husband Albert in 1861, had hardly made public appearances, remaining draped in black for four decades. Her withdrawal had earned her the nickname “Windsor’s Widow,” and bolstered the popularity of the Republican movement.
After Philip’s death, public sympathy for the Queen, who has always been very popular, remains very high. His presence and longevity at the head of the United Kingdom helped to rule out Republican inclinations.
Now succeeding his father as the oldest man in the royal family, Prince Charles and the monarch will have to face the series of urgent problems which agitate the “Firm”.
Andrew’s public reappearance last weekend sparked outrage in some quarters, as US justice continues to seek questioning about his ties to Epstein.
The palace also faces the fallout from last year’s withdrawal of Prince Harry, the Queen’s grandson, and his wife Meghan Markle, as well as their recent explosive accusations of racism within the family. royale, in a shocking interview for American television.
Harry and his brother William will be reunited on Saturday for their grandfather’s funeral and the country is wondering if this shared mourning could “have positive consequences”: “the death of Prince Philip will perhaps allow Harry to reconcile with William and his father ”, hopes the royal expert.