Sophie, Countess of Wessex, struggled to hold back tears as she opened up about the grief of losing her father-in-law, Prince Philip.
The wife of the queen’s youngest son, Prince Edward, Sophie said the Duke of Edinburgh’s death in April had “left a giant-sized hole” in the lives of the royal family.
She added that the Covid-19 pandemic has made grieving even more difficult as the family aren’t able to spend the time together that they would under normal circumstances.
“I think unfortunately the pandemic has slightly skewed things, inasmuch as it's hard to spend as much time with the queen as we would like to,” she told BBC Radio 5 Live.
“We've been trying to, but of course it's still not that easy. I think the whole grieving process is probably likely to take a lot longer.”
Prince Philip died shortly after returning home from a month-long stay in hospital. A few weeks after his death, the cause was confirmed as old age.
Stalwart Sophie is proving to be a pillar of support to her mother-in-law in this time of grief, The Sun reports. A palace official told the British newspaper, “If you’re asking who is Her Majesty’s favourite child, it’s none of them – it’s her daughter-in-law.”
was confirmed by royal commentator Duncan Larcombe. “Sophie Wessex has emerged
as the queen’s unlikely ‘rock’ as the monarch adjusts to life without Prince
“Since the Duke’s death in April, Sophie has driven the 10 miles [18km] from her Bagshot Park home to Windsor Castle every few days and most weekends to spend socially distanced time with Her Majesty. And on days she can’t get there in person, the countess has made a point of calling her mother-in-law at least once a day.”
During the BBC interview, a tearful Sophie added the reality of a loss during the pandemic only sets in “when you would do the normal things that you would have done with them”.
“Of course, the normal way of things isn't normal yet, so we're not necessarily doing the things that we would normally have done with him,” she said.
“It may be the same for many other families out there. Because if you're not living with somebody 24/7, the immediate loss isn't necessarily felt in the same way, as if somebody was in the house with you all the time.
“So if they were normally at a slight distance, living down the road, whether it be 15 minutes, or 1 500 miles, it's only when you would do the normal things that you would have done with them, and you suddenly realise that they are not there, that you really start to have an 'oh-my-goodness' moment.”
Sophie says that moment came for her when she, Edward and their two kids, Lady Louise (17) and James, Viscount Severn (13), revisited a place in Scotland where she took a beautiful photo of Philip relaxing in the countryside with the queen. She was pregnant with Louise at the time.
“Just to be there, in that place, was an ‘oh-my-God’ moment,” Sophie continued, having to pause at one point to contain her emotions.
Louise would go on to form a special bond with her grandfather. He was delighted when she took up an interest in carriage-riding, a sport beloved of the late duke.
In an earlier interview with the
BBC, Sophie said Philip “was really encouraging
of Louise and when she not only said can I have a go, but then showed a flair
for it, he was just brilliant with her.
"They used to chat away about it and he would always turn up if she was competing in the [Windsor] Great Park,” she added.
In the latest interview Sophie likened her grief for Philip to how she felt when she lost her mother, Mary Rhys-Jones, in 2005
“You know, I'd be fine, absolutely fine, fine, fine. And then something happened, or you'd hear a piece of music, or you'd do something, and suddenly you would, you know, get taken off at the knees.
“So there'll be lots of moments like that. But it's good to remember.”