Family and friends supporting the Queen in her time of grief

Laura Elston, PA Court Reporter
·5-min read

The Queen is seeking solace from family and friends as she adjusts to life without her beloved husband the Duke of Edinburgh.

Those who know her best have already paid tribute to her strength as she grieves for Philip.

A tearful Countess of Wessex, who is close to the monarch, told reporters after spending around an hour with her mother-in-law at Windsor Castle: “The Queen has been amazing.”

The royal family has been rallying round to support the monarch since Philip died on Friday at the age of 99.

– The Prince of Wales

Charles rushed from his Gloucestershire home Highgrove to Windsor Castle on Friday to comfort his mother in the hours after the duke died peacefully in his sleep.

Charles and the Queen
The Prince of Wales greets the Queen at the funeral of Countess Mountbatten of Burma in 2017 (Matt Dunham/PA)

The prince – the monarch and Philip’s eldest son – will also be offering guidance as the Queen finalises the arrangements for the duke’s funeral and for plans over the coming days.

– The Princess Royal, the Duke of York and the Earl of Wessex

The monarch’s other children – Anne, Andrew and Edward – are also supporting the Queen.

Duke of Edinburgh death
The Earl and Countess of Wessex leave Windsor Castle, Berkshire on Saturday (Steve Parsons/PA)

Edward was seen on Saturday morning arriving at the castle, where the Queen has been staying during the pandemic, in a blue Land Rover Discovery alongside his wife Sophie.

Andrew, who lives nearby in Royal Lodge in Windsor Great Park, was also seen driving to see his mother.

– Countess of Wessex

The Queen is said to be close to daughter-in-law Sophie and the countess will be a source of friendship for the monarch, especially over the coming months.

Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust reception
Sophie with the Queen (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

The countess, who was dressed in black, had tears in her eyes as she left the castle on Saturday, paying tribute to the monarch’s strength.

Philip taught Sophie to carriage drive.

The bond between the Queen and the countess has been clear to see over the years, and the monarch often asks Sophie to share her car when she is being driven on non‑official occasions.

– Grandchildren

Zara Tindall and Peter Phillips, and Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie will also offer their support to their grandmother – keeping in touch through telephone and video calls.

The royals
Zara Tindall, Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank, the Princess Royal and her husband Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence and Princess Beatrice (Tolga Akmen/PA)

The Duke of Cambridge will also be in constant contact, and the Duke of Sussex – despite the difficult relations with his family – is expected to travel to the UK for the funeral.

The Queen and Philip’s other grandchildren are Lady Louise Windsor, 17, and Viscount Severn, 13, who live just 10 miles away in Bagshot Park, Surrey, and who, pre-pandemic, often spent time with their grandparents.

– The Queen’s senior dresser

Angela Kelly is the Queen’s senior dresser and her personal assistant.

Miss Kelly, who is the daughter of a Liverpool dockworker, has also become a trusted confidante and is seen as the Queen’s gatekeeper.

The Queen and Angela Kelly (right)
The Queen with Dame Anna Wintour and the monarch’s senior dresser and confidante Angela Kelly (right) (Yui Mok/PA)

As well as working to ensure the Queen’s mourning wardrobe is ready for use, her friendship will be an important source of support for the monarch at this difficult time.

She has been part of the monarch’s HMS Bubble of reduced staff at Windsor Castle during the pandemic.

– Ladies-in-waiting and equerries

The Queen’s ladies-in-waiting, personally chosen by the monarch, have a variety of duties including attending to private and personal matters for her and handling her correspondence.

They include her senior lady-in-waiting, Lady Susan Hussey, who was married to the late former BBC chairman Marmaduke Hussey.

Lady Susan Hussey
The Queen leaving a morning church service at Sandringham with her senior lady-in-waiting Lady Susan Hussey in 2020 (Joe Giddens/PA)

The Queen’s ladies-in-waiting have also been part of HMS Bubble.

Some of the ladies-in-waiting have been with the Queen for more than 50 years and act as both friends and loyal assistants, and their discretion and support will be invaluable.

– Loss of the Queen’s friends over the past year

The Queen has mourned the loss of a number of friends over the past year.

In February, her friend and former Master of the Horse Lord Vestey died at the age of 79.

The ex-Cheltenham racecourse chairman was part of the monarch’s inner circle and his death came just two months after that of his wife Lady Celia Vestey.

The Queen’s close confidante and cousin Lady Elizabeth Shakerley died in November – followed by, a week later, Lady Moyra Campbell, who was one of her six maids of honour at her coronation and also a close companion.

– The Queen’s pets

The Queen was recently gifted two new puppies – a corgi called Muick and a dorgi she named Fergus. They joined her elderly dorgi Candy.

The Queen and her dogs
The Queen and her dogs in 1973 (PA)

The Queen has had dogs as constant companions throughout her reign.

She will also spend time with her horses and ride her ponies in the sanctuary of the castle grounds or Windsor Great Park.