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British Royal Family

Without saying a word, The Queen sent a message much deeper than that of her own vulnerability by sitting alone at her husband's funeral

The 94-year-old grieves the loss of her husband of 73 years.

By Jess Pullar
She sits quietly at the end of a chapel pew, dressed entirely in black with a facemask and hat covering her face. She looks downwards for most of the service.
No one sits next to her, and no one sits behind her. It's just one woman, sitting at the funeral of her beloved husband of more than 70 years.
It's an image that hundreds of thousands were confronted by over the weekend - The Queen, alone, unflanked, and grieving as she farewelled Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
Royal fans and followers from across the world tuned in on Saturday to watch the funeral of Prince Philip at St George's Chapel, in Windsor.
And while the live event itself was in no way new or unexpected - broadcasting any and every royal occasion is a common fixture in this family's life - there was also another confronting message that the Queen herself managed to share throughout the coverage... without saying a single word.
The Queen sat alone and socially distanced at the funeral of her husband, Prince Philip. (Getty)
Held in the thick of the COVID-19 pandemic, strict regulations were in place for the funeral.
It was limited to just 30 guests, all of whom were socially distanced from each other, unless they were part of each other's bubbles.
That meant The Queen was seated on her own on the edge of a pew, her face mostly covered by her hat and facemask - perhaps a silver lining given the facial covering offered her a little more privacy.
The funeral was arranged in line with strict social distancing measures. (Getty)
But there was something else in those viral images that left fans distressed and heartbroken for the reigning Monarch.
And in fact, that message is something The Queen herself might have chosen to push in order to spread an important message.
Because you see, many people have been in a similar position to The Queen over the past 15 months.
Indeed, thousands of people have lost their loved ones during this pandemic. But the hardest, most confronting thing of all is that despite going through one of the most devastating, heartbreaking experiences of their lives, many of these people also had to get through it without any physical support.
The Queen and Prince Philip were married for 73 years. (The Countess of Wessex)
So while the Queen's solitude and vulnerability at her husband's funeral is absolutely heartbreaking, she also sends a message of solidarity to others who have gone through the same experience.
Elizabeth has long been the image of resilience and strength as a Monarch, but to see her vulnerability is something very rare, yet so very important.
She too is with us through this turbulent time, and she too feels the deep, despairing effects of loss.
But most of all, she also shows us that sometimes, even when we are alone, our vulnerability is never as strong as believing in our ability to stand tall, look forward and be brave.
For that, we applaud her and all those who have endured the same.

For more on Prince Philips funeral and his vibrant life, read the stories below

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