Peter Phillips: It was hard not to be able to hug the Queen after Prince Philip’s death

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
The Queen sat alone in St George's Chapel for the funeral of Prince Philip - Jonathan Brady/PA
The Queen sat alone in St George's Chapel for the funeral of Prince Philip - Jonathan Brady/PA

Being unable to hug the Queen after the death of the Duke of Edinburgh was one of the hardest aspects of trying to cope with his loss, her eldest grandchild has said.

Peter Philips said the image of the monarch sitting alone during the funeral of her beloved husband at St George's Chapel, Windsor, would have struck a chord with the thousands of families who lost a loved one in the Covid pandemic.

"Everybody saw the image of Her Majesty sitting alone," he said. "It would have been the same for any other family – the hardest part is not being able to hug those closest to the person who's been lost.

"It's the same for a lot of families. There have been some great sadnesses, but at the same time you've got to try to take the positives out of these situations, whether that be new life or happy memories – that's what you've got to focus on."

The sight of the Queen alone was one of the most poignant images from her husband's funeral, and this is thought to be the first time a member of the Royal family has spoken openly about it.

Peter Phillips walks between princes William and Harry at the Duke of Edinburgh's funeral in April - Alastair Grant/WPA Pool/ Getty Images
Peter Phillips walks between princes William and Harry at the Duke of Edinburgh's funeral in April - Alastair Grant/WPA Pool/ Getty Images

Buckingham Palace said at the time that the 94-year-old monarch had faced "difficult decisions" over who to invite to the ceremony and that the seating plan reflected a strict adherence to the Covid rules on indoor worship in place at the time.

The Queen was seated a few feet from her husband's coffin, in a pew at the front of the quire on the south side of the chapel.

Mr Phillips walked between the Dukes of Cambridge and Sussex as Prince Philip's funeral procession made its way to the chapel. It is understood this was at Prince William's request and was designed to ease tensions between the brothers.

The son of Anne, the Princess Royal, described the Duke of Edinburgh, who died at Windsor Castle on April 9 at the age of 99, as a "hugely influential figure".

"He was such a fixture of all of our lives. He is sorely missed," he told the BBC. "Our thoughts immediately went to my grandmother. We've been trying to support her as much as we can.

"He lived a remarkable life, and if any of us can even live half the life that he did we would all be extraordinarily happy."

The 43-year-old said the easing of lockdown had allowed the Queen to spend more time with her family and see her great-granddaughters, Savannah and Isla.

"They're exceptionally lucky to have had two great-grandparents who have lived as long as they have. My children certainly appreciate that and know that it's something special," he said.

Mr Phillips – who refused to make any comment about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex – was speaking ahead of the Gatcombe Park Food and Drink Festival, which he is organising this weekend at his mother's Gloucestershire home.

He said his grandfather had a huge influence on his passion for the countryside, food and drink, and the Duke would have been delighted to attend the festival.

"I pretty much know where he would have been sitting if he were. He would have been in the Stroud Brewery tent and very happily ensconced in there for the afternoon," he added.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting