Queen Elizabeth left with ‘huge void’ in her life after Philip’s death, Prince Andrew says

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Queen Elizabeth II has described the death of Prince Philip as having left a “huge void”, her son the Duke of York said.

Following a small service at All Saints Church in Windsor on Sunday, Prince Andrew said his father’s death was a ‘terrible loss’ to his family.

Andrew said his mother “described it as having left a huge void in her life”.

“We’ve lost almost the grandfather of the nation and I feel very sorry and supportive of my mother who’s feeling it probably more than everybody else,” he said.

His younger brother, Prince Edward, called Philip’s death a “dreadful shock”, but said the queen was “bearing up”. Edward’s wife Sophie said the queen was “thinking of others before herself”.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s life was celebrated at church services across Britain on Sunday.

As part of eight days of national mourning, people gathered at royal palaces to leave flowers, while religious and political leaders expressed support for the queen, 94, the world’s oldest and longest-reigning monarch.

The Archbishop of Canterbury prayed for all those who had found a “very great gap” in their lives following the duke’s death.

Justin Welby, leader of the global Anglican Communion, said the fact the prince had lived to within two months of his 100th birthday did not soften the blow for those who loved him.

“Loss is loss,” he said. “We may pray and offer love for all who find that a great life leaves a very great gap.”

John Major, who was Britain’s prime minister from 1990 to 1997, said he hoped the queen would be given the time she needs to grieve after losing her husband of 73 years.

He said being the head of state was a “very lonely position in many ways” and the queen would feel the loss of a man she had relied on for decades.

“I know she is the monarch, I know she has responsibilities, but she has earned the right to have a period of privacy in which to grieve with her family,” he told the BBC.

Mr Major, who was guardian to Princes William and Harry after their mother Princess Diana died, said he also hoped the funeral would help reunite the family after it was rocked last month by an interview given by Harry and his wife Meghan to Oprah Winfrey.

“The friction that we are told has arisen is a friction better ended as speedily as possible,” Mr Major said.

The leader of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, told Times Radio he hoped the private nature of the funeral would allow the family to come together and rebuild ties.

Prince Philip’s funeral will be held at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, at 3pm UK time on April 17. It will be a private family service, Buckingham Palace announced, and the duke will not lie in state.

In accordance with the UK’s Covid-19 restrictions, only 30 people will attend the funeral and all will have to wear a mask.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he would give his entitled seat at the funeral to a family member.

“It will be what’s known as a ceremonial royal funeral,” a Buckingham Palace spokesman said. “The plans for the funeral are very much in line with the Duke of Edinburgh’s own personal wishes.”

There will be no public access, no public processions and the funeral will take place within the grounds of Windsor Palace.

The National

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