/Queen had drive alone and stopped at beloved spot on day after Philip funeral

Queen had drive alone and stopped at beloved spot on day after Philip funeral

The widowed Queen went for a solo drive and stopped at one of her favourite spots for a moment of quiet reflection the day after Prince Philip’s funeral, it is claimed.

The nation was moved by the heartbreaking image of the monarch sitting alone and wearing a face mask as she gazed at her late husband’s coffin.

She will celebrate the first birthday of her reign without her husband when she turns 95 on Wednesday, just four days after the funeral and 12 days after the Duke of Edinburgh’s death.

Events will be shelved or toned down, as the Royal Family remains in mourning, and the Queen is likely to do the same things she did 24 hours after Philip’s funeral at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.

The Queen watches pallbearers carry Prince Philip's coffin at his funeral
The Queen sat alone as she watched pallbearers carry Prince Philip’s coffin into St George’s Chapel
(Image: Getty Images)

On Sunday, the 94-year-old drove herself alone from the castle, where she has been shielding during the coronavirus pandemic, to her nearby Frogmore estate for some quiet reflection, the Daily Mail reported.

There, the monarch, who isn’t required to have a driving licence, took in the cherry trees that are still in bloom and the spring flowers lining the banks of the ornamental lakes.

‘Loneliest’ birthday

Sources told the newspaper that she is likely to spend her birthday in similar fashion – making the short drive alone to Frogmore to walk her new puppies, a dorgi named Fergus and a corgi named Muick.

Fergus is named after her uncle Fergus Bowes-Lyon, who was killed as he led an attack on the Germans during the First World War, while Muick (pronounced “Mick)” is named after Loch Muick on the Queen’s Balmoral estate in Scotland.

The Queen and Prince Philip pose for a photo during a visit to Broadlands
The Queen and Prince Philip pose at Broadlands on their diamond wedding anniversary in 2007
(Image: Tim Graham/Getty Images)

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The royals have agreed a rota to visit the Queen ahead of her birthday, sources told the Mirror,

Frogmore is where her grandson Prince Harry, 36, was self-isolating after flying in from Los Angeles for Philip’s funeral without his pregnant wife Meghan Markle, 39, and their son Archie, who turns two in May.

There were conflicting reports over whether Harry would remain in the UK for the Queen’s birthday or fly back to California before then to be with his wife and son.

The funeral was the first time Harry had met up with his family since his and Meghan’s explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey.

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He was seen chatting with his older brother Prince William, 38, and “peacemaker” sister-in-law Kate Middleton, 39, after the service. The brothers did not walk shoulder to shoulder during the procession – their cousin Peter Phillips, 43, walked between them.

There were claims that Harry had spent time privately speaking with William and dad Prince Charles, 72, amid an ongoing family feud made worse by the Oprah interview.

Queen ‘not in mood’ for summit

Royal biographer Ingrid Seward said any kind of family summit involving the Queen, at this stage at least, would be unlikely.

She told the Times: “His (Harry’s) grandmother will not be in the mood for it. She hates confrontation.

“The children have much difficulty getting the Queen to discuss anything other than dogs or horses.

Queen Elizabeth II looks at the coffin of her late husband Prince Philip
The nation was moved by the heartbreaking image of the Queen sitting alone at the funeral
(Image: Getty Images)
The Queen drives a Range Rover in Windsor
The Queen drives a Range Rover in Windsor in May2016
(Image: FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

“I remember Fergie telling me it took three weeks for them to try and get her to discuss their divorce. She kept saying ‘Oh, I’ve got to take the dogs for a walk’.”

Following the official period of royal mourning, the Queen will turn her focus on next year’s Platinum Jubilee, the Times reported.

She is expected to carry on with engagements when she returns to work, and it is said that her first event outside the caste walls will be the return of Parliament on May 11.

As she sat alone at the funeral which was scaled back due to coronavirus rules, the Queen was reportedly comforted by cherished belongings from her 73-year marriage with Philip, who died aged 99 on April 9.

Princes Harry and William walk behind Prince Philip's coffin
Princes Harry and William were separated by their cousin Peter Phillips during the procession
(Image: Ian Vogler / Daily Mirror)

She is said to have carried a photo of the couple as newlyweds in Malta and one of his pocket squares in her handbag as the 30 mourners had to social distance.

It came as she faces her loneliest birthday and her first without her husband in seven decades.

It is said she will be surrounded only by the tiny number of staff who make up her bubble at the castle, and plans to release a new portrait are set to be shelved.

Buckingham Palace said options for a parade in the quadrangle at Windsor Castle are being considered.

For the second year in a row, there will be no birthday gun salutes as the Queen remains in an official two-week period of mourning.

The Queen is staying at Windsor with around 20 staff members, dubbed HMS Bubble.

Last year, she decided not to celebrate her birthday in a special way during the first coronavirus lockdown, opting to speak with family members through private video calls.

She spent her 94th birthday with Philip but stayed away from other members of the family as they followed social distancing rules amid the pandemic.

Her official birthday is celebrated in June and is usually marked by the annual Trooping the Colour parade, although that will not go ahead in its traditional form for a second year running due to the pandemic.

Royals agree rota to visit Queen

The royals have agreed a rota to visit the Queen ahead of her birthday this week.

Members of the family will take turns to visit the monarch for walks in Windsor with her two new corgi puppies – except grandson Prince Harry who is expected to jet back to the US to be with his pregnant wife Meghan Markle and their one-year-old son Archie

The Queen has insisted she is “coping” after her companion of 73 years was laid to rest on Saturday, but will be supported by her closest family members during her darkest hour.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, it is the female leads within the family – her daughter Princess Anne, daughters-in-law the Duchess of Cornwall and the Countess of Wessex, supported by the Duchess of Cambridge, who have come together to form the plan.

Royals walk behind Prince Philip's coffin before his funeral
Princes Charles led the procession before his late father’s funeral on Saturday

Royal sources confirmed the Queen is expected to have a series of regular visitors as she continues to live at Windsor Castle, where she spent the majority of the last 13 months living with her darling Philip.

One source said: “The Queen will not be alone.

“She will have others who care about her deeply and want to be there to support her in her most pressing hour.

“In typical fashion the Queen has insisted she is coping and despite the suggestion she had prepared herself for this day to come, everyone is well aware there is nothing like the experience when it comes.”

Prince Charles is expected to visit his mother this week, taking the 90 minute drive from his country home Highgrove in Gloucester.

Princess Anne will also pop in from her home in Gloucestershire, Gatcombe Park while the Countess of Wessex, who has for years enjoyed a fabulous relationship with the Queen, has planned several visits in the coming days with her children Louise, 17 and James, 13.

The Queen and the rest of the royals do not have any planned engagements until at least Thursday when the official mourning period will end.

She will stay at Windsor Castle for the foreseeable future, but well placed insiders have dismissed the idea she will choose to stay at the Berkshire residence in the long term.

Instead she intends to split her time between Windsor and London, just as she plans to continue with a diary of royal engagements in and outside the capital, when a multi-million pound renovation project is completed at Buckingham Palace.

Original Source