I can’t stop crying. I know he was 99 – so close to being 100 – but, however long a life someone’s lived, it’s always sad when they go. He’d always been there. He and the Queen were both supposed to live for ever: this day was never supposed to come. I felt like that when the Queen Mother died. It’s like losing a member of your own family: he’d always been there.
The Queen’ll be lost without him. Theirs was the greatest royal love story of all time, and history will recognise that in time. Oh, bloody Covid: he never got to meet the two new babies, August and Lucas, and he won’t have seen most of the rest of the family for months. As for Harry … well. And we’re only allowed 30 people at funerals at the moment – how will that work. Ironically, I don’t suppose he’d have wanted a big ceremonial funeral anyway.
As the Queen once said, the country, the whole Commonwealth, owes him a debt greater than we will ever know – his support of her, all his work for charities and causes. And it’s the passing of a generation too, that wonderful generation who saved the world: so few people from my grandparents’ generation are left now. He was a real link with history – he was a Second World War veteran, he was the Tsarina’s great-nephew, he was linked to so many royal families, some still in place, some long since deposed.
Oh, the poor Queen. She would have known that this day would come, with his health deteriorating, and to have been married for 73 years is incredible, but … someone’s there, and then they’re not, and, whoever you are, that is a devastating thing to have to deal with. Covid restrictions or no, I hope that someone’s able to go to her, if that’s what she wants – one of her children, or maybe her chaplain if that’s whom she needs.
I can’t quite take it in. We thought he’d been doing better. He’d always been there. Someone who’s always been part of our lives has gone. You think these days will never come, but they do, as they must.
I saw them, in 2002. He and the Queen came to Manchester, at the start of the Commonwealth Games, and I waited in town to see them. I was so excited afterwards, that I’d seen the Queen and Prince Philip in person, close up. The greatest royal couple in history.
Rest In Peace, Your Royal Highness. You will be sadly missed.