Royal Expert Reveals How Queen Elizabeth Actually Reacted To Prince Philip's Death

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The late Queen Elizabeth's marriage was almost as remarkable as her record-breaking 70-year reign. The queen's relationship with Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, lasted 73 years, making them the longest-married couple in royal history (via People). Put another way, Elizabeth and Philip's marriage lasted through numerous wars, political and economic crises, terrorist attacks, and the divorces of three of their four children. It was said that the queen was never quite the same after Prince Philip died in 2021 at age 99, which is to be expected — losing him was like losing a part of her entire life. However, the way they spent their final years together might not be what you expect.

"Elizabeth: An Intimate Portrait," a new book dropping in the United Kingdom, was penned by Gyles Brandreth, a former member of Parliament who met the queen on numerous occasions through his friendship with her husband. He reveals (via the Daily Mail) that the two led separate lives following the prince's retirement in 2017. While he moved to a farm on their Sandringham estate to enjoy the peace and quiet, Elizabeth went on with the business of being monarch. "They would speak regularly on the phone, but weeks could go by without them seeing one another," Brandreth writes. He adds that the two understood each other so well that they didn't need to be physically together to stay close. During the COVID-19 lockdown, however, the royal couple reunited at Windsor Castle and lived together until the end.

The queen may not have been with her husband when he died

By early 2021, it was clear that Prince Philip was in declining health, says royal biographer Gyles Brandreth (via Daily Mail). Following surgery for a heart condition, he returned to Windsor Castle, where he spent his final days. "The Queen was reported to have been at her husband's bedside when he died on the morning of April 9, 2021. In fact, I don't believe she was," Brandreth writes. The prince had passed away suddenly following a bathroom trip before the queen was even awake. "And she wasn't called until after a doctor had come and pronounced the Duke dead," says Brandreth.

True to her stoic nature, the queen kept her composure as her family hurried to the palace. "As they tried to comfort the Queen, the Queen was comforting them," writes Brandreth. "It helped that Elizabeth was accustomed to her own company. Even when her husband was alive, she had so often spent evenings on her own." Only after the prince's funeral did the queen allow herself to grieve privately in her sitting room.

Rather than immerse herself in grief, the queen went on with her life. Opting to wear bright colors instead of drab mourning, she continued with her official engagements and remained a steadying presence for her family and her people. "Her grieving was private, but in public, the Queen was determined to carry on as normal," says Brandreth.