Queen focused on duty ahead of Philip’s 100th birthday

The Queen on HMS Queen Elizabeth
The Queen on HMS Queen Elizabeth (PA Wire)
17:24pm, Wed 09 Jun 2021
CBAD8A00-D2B9-4E0E-ADDF-D0366C357A34 Created with sketchtool. E9A4AA46-7DC3-48B8-9CE2-D75274FB8967 Created with sketchtool. 65CCAE04-4748-4D0F-8696-A91D8EB3E7DC Created with sketchtool.

The Queen has kept busy since the death of the Duke of Edinburgh, despite grieving for her husband and being just five years away from her own 100th birthday.

Philip would have reached his centenary milestone on Thursday but the royal family said farewell to their patriarch two months ago after he died in April at the age of 99.

The 95-year-old Queen has been continuing with her work as head of state at Windsor Castle, where she spent most of lockdown with the duke.

The Queen alone at the Duke of Edinburgh's funeral (PA Wire)

Support has come from her family, including her daughter-in-law the Countess of Wessex, who lives nearby, her personal dresser and confidante Angela Kelly, and her ladies in waiting.

The Queen also has the companionship of her pets – her corgi puppy Muick, bought for her when Philip was ill by the Duke of York, and an older dog – a dorgi called Candy.

But she was left heartbroken when another puppy, Fergus the dorgi, died just a month after the duke.

Duke of Edinburgh death (PA Wire)

Amid rifts and divisions – from the fallout of the Sussexes’ Oprah interview, with accusations of racism, to Harry criticising the royal family for “total neglect” over his attempts to get help over social media harassment – there have been moments of joy among the sadness in 2021.

Princess Beatrice announced she was expecting a baby in the autumn and on Sunday Harry and Meghan shared the news they had welcomed a daughter – Lilibet “Lili” Diana Mountbatten-Windsor.

Lili, the Queen’s 11th great-grandchild, has been named in tribute to both the Queen – with Lilibet being her family nickname – and Harry’s late mother Diana, Princess of Wales.

Lilibet was also the name Philip used for his wife of 73 years.

Lilibet “Lili” Diana Mountbatten-Windsor birth (PA Wire)

But the Sussexes clashed with the BBC over the version of events that led to the naming of their daughter.

Harry and Meghan’s lawyers have written to the corporation after a BBC story claimed the Queen had not been asked about the naming of their baby.

A spokeswoman for the couple said their daughter’s name was mentioned in a conversation with the Queen.

The Queen is understood to be keen to carry out more public engagements in the coming months instead of the virtual events which have taken up much of her schedule since the pandemic hit.

Queen's official birthday (PA Archive)

She has a busy run of events this week – meeting US president Joe Biden, who is in the UK for the G7 summit, and attending a mini Trooping the Colour at Windsor to mark her official birthday at the weekend.

The Queen’s cousin, the Duke of Kent, will accompany her at the birthday military parade on Saturday.

In May, the Queen attended a scaled-back Covid-secure State Opening of Parliament, where she was joined by the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall.

Queen’s speech 2021 (PA Wire)

It was her first official appearance in public as head of state, and first engagement outside the Castle, since the duke died.

Solemn and quietly spoken, the widowed Queen – the only figure without a mask throughout – who has pledged her life to her royal role, carried out her duty without flurry or fuss.

A smattering of masked MPs and peers, an empty-looking chamber and greatly reduced pomp and ceremony was the setting this year for the Queen’s Speech.

HMS Queen Elizabeth (PA Wire)

Later the same month, the Queen carried out her first solo engagement away from Windsor since Philip’s death, visiting the Royal Navy flagship HMS Queen Elizabeth at HM Naval Base Portsmouth.

Dressed in a brick-red military-style cashmere coat with a black velvet collar and buttons, the Queen appeared on good form as she smiled and chatted with the crew.

Sign up to our newsletter