Sophie, Countess of Wessex, becomes emotional during live radio interview as she speaks of ‘giant-sized hole’ in royal family after Philip’s death

12:36pm, Wed 16 Jun 2021
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The Countess of Wessex has said the death of the Duke of Edinburgh has left a “giant-sized hole” in the lives of the royal family.

Sophie said the grieving process is likely to take longer due to the pandemic as poignant memories of Philip will not be triggered by the “normal” things he would have done with the family, now restricted by the Covid regulations.

The Queen’s daughter-in-law became emotional as she recounted a fond memory of the duke during an interview for Naga Munchetty’s BBC Radio 5 Live show and was asked if she wanted to continue but insisted she was fine.

The countess also spoke about her work supporting victims of rape and sexual violence in war and was asked about Everyone’s Invited, a website where survivors of sexual abuse share their stories.

She said: “They’ve been able to say something, what happened to them, and actually stating what happened to you is the first step, and I would hope that this leads on to other conversations about how to deal with it, what more can you do, and hopefully the door is open now.”

Speaking about the duke, Sophie said: “Well he’s left a giant-sized hole in our lives. I think unfortunately the pandemic has slightly skewed things, inasmuch as it’s hard to spend as much time with the Queen as we would like to.

“We’ve been trying to, but of course, it’s still not that easy. And of course the normal way of things isn’t normal yet, so we’re not necessarily doing the things that we would normally have done with him.

“So I think the whole grieving process is probably likely for us to take a lot longer. It may be the same for many other families out there. Because if you’re not living with somebody, 24/7, the immediate loss isn’t necessarily felt in the same way, as if somebody was in the house with you all the time.”

Duke of Edinburgh death (PA Wire)

The countess added: “It’s only when you would do the normal things that you would have done with them, and you suddenly realise that they are not there, that you really start to have an ‘oh my goodness’ moment.”

A touching image of the Queen and Philip on the Balmoral estate taken by Sophie was released after the duke’s death and the countess became emotional as she recalled capturing the moment with her camera when pregnant with her daughter Lady Louise.

The photograph, taken in 2003, was a rare image of the head of state and the duke relaxing together on the grass at the Coyles of Muick, a beauty spot near the town of Ballater in Aberdeenshire.

The countess composed herself and said just talking about the duke had given her an “oh my goodness” moment, something she had experienced following the death of her mother when an event or piece of music associated with her would have a profound effect.

In the wide-ranging interview, Sophie said her “whole foundation” has been “shaken” by the pandemic but she has faith in the scientists.

Review of the Year 2020 (PA Wire)

She said: “I think, every now and then, I certainly had the odd wobble, where I just couldn’t see an end to it, I couldn’t visualise how this was all going to pan out. Life, all the normal things that we could do, had just… it was like sand through your hands. Nothing felt tangible anymore.”

The countess added: “There will be more variants, we know that. Every time there is a new variant, we just have to hold our breath and hope that the vaccines are good enough to stand up against them. So, how am I? Like everybody else I suppose: just taking one day at a time.”

In a lighter moment, she was asked about her “programme of choice during the lockdowns”.

Sophie got the name of the popular BBC drama Line Of Duty wrong, calling it Call Of Duty, and when corrected by Munchetty, she laughed as she said “That’s the one” and revealed she had overdosed with “online exercise classes” during the pandemic.

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