Queen to throw herself back into royal duties after just two weeks in mourning

·3 min read
The Queen speaks with staff during a visit to the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down science park near Salisbury, southern England, on October 15, 2020 - AFP
The Queen speaks with staff during a visit to the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down science park near Salisbury, southern England, on October 15, 2020 - AFP

The Queen will resume her full workload, including next month’s State Opening of Parliament, after just two weeks in mourning, it emerged on Monday.

Her Majesty will throw herself straight back into official duties at the end of the two-week period of royal mourning, rather than easing her way back slowly.

Royal sources suggested the Queen’s decision to resume her duties so soon “absolutely” reflected what the unsentimental Duke would have wanted.

As the Duke of Cambridge said in his own tribute to his grandfather: “I know he would want us to get on with the job.”

The Queen will resume her daily duties, including going through the red boxes sent to her every day by the Government, and granting royal assent to any new laws, without which the Government is unable to pass legislation.

She is also expected to carry out other public duties, though Covid restrictions mean they are likely to take place virtually, rather than in person.

Then on May 11 the Queen will conduct the State Opening of Parliament, an occasion she has missed only twice during her reign, when she was pregnant with Prince Andrew in 1959 and Prince Edward in 1963.

A Clarence House source said there had been no requests for the Prince of Wales to take over any of the Queen’s duties when she ends her mourning period.

No British monarch has been widowed since Queen Victoria, meaning there is no modern precedent for the period of time a king or queen spends in mourning before returning to work.

It is up to the sovereign to decide for how long the Royal family stays in mourning, and the Queen has stoically decided to come out of mourning on April 22, exactly 14 days after the Duke’s death.

It is one week shorter than the royal mourning period that followed the death of the Queen’s mother Queen Elizabeth, but the Queen has decided her constitutional role must come before personal considerations.

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip love story - read more
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip love story - read more

The Queen’s determination to return to her normal schedule could not be in greater contrast to Queen Victoria’s reaction to the death of her husband Prince Albert.

When Albert died in 1861 at the age of just 42, Queen Victoria was so overcome with grief that she did not make another public appearance for two years – and then only to unveil a statue of her late husband – and did not take part in the State Opening of Parliament for five years.

Victoria’s period of mourning effectively lasted for 40 years, as she wore black every day for the rest of her life.

Victoria’s long withdrawal from public life prompted a crisis for the monarchy, with the public growing to resent her refusal to carry out her duties, and many calling for her abdication.

It was only with the public relations skills of prime minister Benjamin Disraeli that she began to recover her popularity more than a decade later.