The Queen faces a future without her life-long companion the Duke of Edinburgh – but will remain committed to her role as head of state, a royal expert has said.
In her public life, it will be “business as usual” for the monarch after Philip’s funeral and the two-week period of royal mourning, according to Joe Little, managing editor of Majesty magazine.
She famously pledged her life to the Commonwealth in a radio address from Cape Town on her 21st birthday, and is not expected to waiver from that promise.
As a young woman, the then Princess Elizabeth said: “I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.”
Mr Little said: “I think when you get to a certain age you become accustomed to people close to you dying and it certainly isn’t a surprise, although it’s terribly upsetting, it’s just part of life’s rich tapestry.
“I suppose one way of looking at it was she was very fortunate to have the duke of so long. But I think as far as she’s concerned as monarch it will be very much business as usual after this brief period of mourning.”
There have been reports over the years suggesting that the Queen would only seriously consider a regency – when the Prince of Wales would become a stand-in sovereign – when she reached 95 only a few weeks away.
But with arrangements already under way to celebrate the Queen’s 70th year as monarch in 2022, Mr Little said this indicated the monarch had no plans for handing over her responsibilities.
He said: “I think, the fact the palace announced a while ago what the intention was for the Platinum Jubilee, next year, suggest she’s very much intending to be in the hot seat, at least until then.
“To my mind the oath she took on coronation day is something that she will abide by to the best of her intentions until her dying day.”
Covid regulations will impact on the duke’s funeral arrangements, but they have also affected royal engagements which have seen the Queen host virtual events rather than meeting the public in person.
Mr Little suggested not having a regular series of public events, due to the pandemic, will allow the Queen – who has been shielding at Windsor Castle – time to mourn her loss in private.
He said: “But given that she can’t go out in public at the moment it helps with the grieving process, I would say – she’s afforded privacy that she might not otherwise have got.”
Philip retired from public life in 2017, and since then the Queen has been joined a number of times by her grandchildren at official events, which is likely to continue.
The executive from Majesty magazine highlighted how Princess Eugenie accompanied the Queen during a Maundy Service in 2019, and the Duke of Cambridge joined his grandmother when she visited the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, at Porton Down in Wiltshire, last year.