A Queen Sits Alone

By Mark A. Kellner
Posted April 20, 2021

Thanks to pandemic restrictions observed throughout Britain, the widow sat alone in a row of choir seats in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, the same chapel that held the wedding of her grandson Harry to American Meghan Markle nearly three years ago. The casket containing her husband’s remains lay not far from her.

For Queen Elizabeth II, saying farewell to Prince Philip, her husband of 73 years, was a public duty commingled with personal grief. Another photo revealed the monarch—noted for her usually stoic composure when the occasion calls for it—wiping away tears after the service while leaving in her state car.

The Times of London captured the scene: “She stood apart, the lonely Queen, a masked figure all in black, head bowed under her hat. On this gloriously sunny but most solemn of Saturday afternoons, she was not just a monarch in her castle being [scrutinized] on television around the world but above all a woman saying goodbye to the one she loved.”

If anything, the eight days between Philip’s death and the funeral served to unify public support in Britain for the Queen. “You’re Not Alone, Ma’am” read the next day’s headline in the Sunday Express, while the Daily Star Sunday trumpeted, “Bless Her.”

And it’s possible that the Duke of Edinburgh could achieve something in death that eluded the royal family during his last year: peace, most conspicuously between Prince William and Prince Harry, Philip’s grandsons, whose relationship has been strained for several years over the latter’s wife. Press reports indicate the brothers are speaking with an eye toward reconciliation.

Royal Relationships Healing?

Their grandfather’s funeral came on the heels of an “explosive” television interview Harry and Meghan gave to talk show host Oprah Winfrey, which aired a little more than a month ago on March 7 during Philip’s month-long stay in the hospital for heart surgery and which drew mammoth ratings in both the United States and then in Britain the following day. In it, several heavy-hitting topics were broached, with suicide and racism as the most damaging. While the couple spoke graciously of the Queen, they were openly critical of her institution. Harry also confirmed the current rift between him and his brother—not to mention his father, Prince Charles.

The world has watched William and Harry grow up and usher in a new generation of the monarchy. With Harry and Meghan having “stepped back from their official roles” a year ago, contentions surrounding loyalty to the crown have surfaced in the media. It is ironic, then, to note that Philip was known particularly for his steadfast devotion to his wife, her office, and her country. At a speech given to commemorate their 50th wedding anniversary, the Queen called her consort her “strength and stay all these years.” Indeed, Philip holds the record as “the longest-serving royal consort in British history.”

The Queen’s family is riddled with separation, with three of her four children currently divorced, the most notorious being Prince Charles, who split from Diana, Princess of Wales, two years before she tragically died in a car accident in 1997. In contrast, media outlets have touted Philip for the sacrifices he made for Queen Elizabeth and the duties she bears. The much-loved monarch will, Lord willing, celebrate 70 years on the throne next February. 

After Death, Then What?

Philip “planned his own funeral in meticulous detail,” a no-muss-no-fuss affair that lasted only 50 minutes with “no eulogy or readings.” As it was in his life, so it was in his death: “The theme was service to Queen and country.” Even at his last send-off, the world’s eyes were on his Queen, the solitary black figure alone in the pew.

The loss of a loved one may leave those left behind, family and friends, to wonder what happens after this life has ended. It’s widely known that Queen Elizabeth has a strong spiritual life and faith; when Billy Graham first preached in England, he spent an afternoon discussing Christian faith with the Queen in the first of a dozen or so visits. As one of her few subjects paying respects to the duke in person outside Windsor Castle wondered, “What must the Queen be thinking now?”

Though she may be queen, at the end of the day, she is just a beating heart. She cries, she mourns, she hurts, just like the rest of us. She is, like we all are, one of God’s children. The Bible has encouragement for those who are grieving: “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:4). Do you know who does the comforting? It is “the Lord GOD [who] will wipe away tears from all faces” (Isaiah 25:8).

Whether you’ve recently lost a loved one or not, we hope you’ll find comfort in this video presentation, “Abraham, Pt. 11: Mourning a Loss,” on what the patriarch went through upon losing his wife Sarah.

Often in times like these, there are more questions than answers. But praise God that we have His Word to provide the beautiful truth in times of sorrow. Learn all about where are departed loved ones are in this article from our website The Truth About Death. It provides a biblical answer to this common question: “But don’t souls depart from people when they die?” And what the Bible says may surprise you!

As Christians, we wait for that glorious day when all death will ultimately be conquered by our King, Jesus Christ. Philip lived a life of devotion to his earthly ruler—do we possess the same love for our heavenly ruler?

Mark Kellner
Mark A. Kellner is a staff writer for Amazing Facts International. He is a veteran journalist whose work has been published in Religion News Service, The Washington Times, and numerous computer magazines.
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