Queen focuses on duty ahead of Philip’s 100th birthday
The Queen has been busy since the death of the Duke of Edinburgh, despite mourning her husband and just five years from her 100th birthday.
Philip would have turned his centenary on Thursday, but the royal family said goodbye to their patriarch two months ago after his death in April at the age of 99.
The 95-year-old Queen continued her work as Head of State at Windsor Castle, where she spent most of the lockdown with the Duke.
Support has come from her family, including her stepdaughter the Countess of Wessex, who lives nearby, her personal dresser and confidante Angela Kelly, and her ladies-in-waiting.
The Queen also has the company of her pets – her corgi puppy Muick, bought for her when Philip was ill by the Duke of York, and an older dog – a dorgi called Candy.
But she was heartbroken when another puppy, Fergus the Dorgi, died just a month after the Duke.
Amid divisions and divisions – from fallout of Oprah’s interview in the Sussexes, with accusations of racism, to Harry criticizing the royal family for “total neglect” for their attempts to get help for harassment on social media – there have been moments of joy among the sorrows in 2021.
Princess Beatrice announced that she was expecting a baby in the fall and on Sunday Harry and Meghan announced they had welcomed a daughter – Lilibet “Lili” Diana Mountbatten-Windsor.
Lili, the Queen’s eleventh great-grandchild, was named in honor of both the Queen – Lilibet being her family’s nickname – and Harry’s late mother Diana, Princess of Wales.
Lilibet was also the name Philip used for his 73-year-old wife.
But the Sussexes clashed with the BBC over the version of events that led to their daughter’s nomination.
Lawyers for Harry and Meghan wrote to the company after a BBC article claimed the Queen had not been asked about their baby’s name.
A spokeswoman for the couple said their daughter’s name was mentioned in a conversation with the Queen.
The Queen is reportedly keen to lead more public engagements in the coming months instead of the virtual events that have taken up much of her schedule since the start of the pandemic.
She has a series of busy events this week – meeting US President Joe Biden, who is in the UK for the G7 summit, and attending a mini Trooping the Color in Windsor to mark his official birthday this weekend.
The Queen’s cousin, the Duke of Kent, will accompany her on Saturday in the anniversary military parade.
In May, the Queen attended an opening of the secure State Parliament in Covid, where she was joined by the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall.
It was his first official public appearance as head of state, and his first engagement outside the castle, since the Duke’s death.
Solemn and in a low voice, the Widowed Queen – the only unmasked figure anywhere – who dedicated her life to her royal role, performed her duty without commotion or hassle.
A handful of masked MPs and peers, an apparently empty room, and a greatly reduced pomp and ceremony served as the backdrop for the Queen’s speech this year.
Later that same month, the Queen made her first solo engagement away from Windsor since Philip’s death, visiting the Royal Navy flagship HMS Queen Elizabeth at HM Portsmouth Naval Base.
Dressed in a brick red military-style cashmere coat with a black velvet collar and buttons, the Queen appeared in good shape as she smiled and chatted with the crew.