The Sunday Mail (Queensland)

She will grieve for Duke but carry on

- VALENTINE LOW

In the first half of her reign, it became such a cliche for the Queen to refer to “my husband and I” that she decided it would be wise to drop the phrase.

Her rhetorical habits may have changed, but she did not: for more than 60 years he was her mainstay, a loyal companion whose presence in public was for her an unfailing source of strength.

The inevitable question now is, what will happen now that he is no longer there?

We have already seen a glimpse of the Queen’s likely attitude when the Duke was taken ill during the Diamond Jubilee in 2012. Her reaction was as we have come to expect from a woman whose devotion to duty has been unwavering – she carried on regardless. The show must go on.

She will, however, miss him. As she said at the time of their golden anniversar­y: “He is someone who doesn’t take easily to compliment­s, but he has, quite simply, been my strength and stay over all these years, and I owe him a greater debt than he would ever claim, or we shall ever know.”

The late artist Michael Noakes, who painted the Queen several times, said: “Sometimes she has to gather herself together before she can face going into a room where she knows everyone will be looking at her. When Prince Philip has seen that happening, he has taken over and made sure everything is OK. He likes to say he can make people laugh within 15 seconds.”

Without her companion, there may be moments when the Queen lets her feelings show.

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