The poignant image of Queen Elizabeth sitting alone in the church that was beamed out to the world at the funeral of her husband, Prince Philip, was a powerful one – and for her grandson, Peter Phillips, even more so.
In a new interview, the 43-year-old son of Princess Anne, the queen’s daughter, says the fact they couldn’t physically comfort his grief-stricken grandmother due to Covid regulations was “the hardest part of the funeral”.
“Everybody saw the image of Her Majesty sitting alone. It would have been the same for any other family – the hardest part is not being able to hug those closest to the person who's been lost,” he told the BBC.
The father of two also paid tribute to his grandfather, who died at the age of 99 in April, saying he was “hugely influential” in his life and the lives of his cousins and is “sorely missed”.
“Our thoughts immediately went to my grandmother. We've been trying to support her as much as we can.”
One of the advantages of lockdown, he adds, is that the queen has been able to spend more time with her family, including his two daughters, Savannah (10) and Isla (9).
“They're exceptionally lucky to have had two great-grandparents who have lived as long as they have. My children certainly appreciate that and know that it's something special.”
It’s certainly been a year filled with heartache for Peter, who works as a sports marketing consultant.
In June his divorce from wife of 12 years, Autumn Phillips, was finalised after they announced their split in February last year.
“Both Peter and Autumn are pleased to have resolved matters amicably with the children firmly at the forefront of those thoughts and decisions,” a statement following their divorce said.
Autumn has subsequently been linked to Irish property tycoon, Donal Mulryan (52), who she’s known for more than 15 years.
Sources: dailymail.co.uk, tatler.com, bbc.com