How Queen Elizabeth Is Coping with the Loss of Her Great Love
Read more about how the Queen has kept calm and carried on in the summer issue of PEOPLE Royals, out June 11
Saturday may be a day of celebration as Queen Elizabeth commemorates her "official" birthday at the annual Trooping the Colour parade, but Thursday was a solemn, solitary moment of remembrance as the monarch marked what would have been her husband Prince Philip's 100th birthday.
Since the Duke of Edinburgh died at age 99 on April 9, the Queen has been leaning on the primary pillars of her life — family, faith and service to her kingdom — to fortify her as she keeps calm and carries on, just as she has for 70 remarkable years.
"I always felt that she was never knocked off course," a royal insider says in the summer issue of PEOPLE Royals, which drops June 11. "It's her way to remain as steady as possible."
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She has drawn strength, joy and solace from virtual church services, video calls with family and contemplative walks with her beloved dogs across the grounds of Windsor Castle, where she decamped at the onset of the global COVID pandemic.
And since she broke her official mourning period on April 22, she has kept a regular schedule of engagements with foreign and domestic dignitaries — all virtual for the time being.
A loyal core team of both family and staff remains in place to support her both near and far as she carries on the work of being Queen. "She understands that she has a job to do, and [Philip] would have wanted her to crack on," says someone in her circle. "She loves to work. She is never idle."
Adds royal historian Robert Lacey, "She is making a deliberate point that she is still on top of her game."
And though Philip was her prime counsel, whom she called her "strength and stay," royal biographer Penny Junor notes that the Queen "is used to working on her own and him not being there every morning to sit down and discuss the with," especially since her husband of more than 70 years retired from royal duty in 2017.
As COVID restrictions ease and preparations for her spectacular Platinum Jubilee start ramping up, the monarch will transition away from video calls and return to business as usual with support from Princes Charles and William, as well as their spouses, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and Princess Kate.
"Her family will be by her side," says a source who knows her. But that doesn't mean that the Queen is ceding any control to the next generations of royals, says Lacey. "There is no consideration given to her slowing down. She is still clearly in charge."
Following the premiere issue of PEOPLE Royals that launched in the spring, the summer edition drops on June 11. The new issue explores how Princess Diana changed the monarchy for good, the dos and don'ts of royal PDA and former First Lady Michelle Obama opens up about the first time she met Queen Elizabeth! Plus, so much more — like the cocktail fit for the royal box at Wimbledon.
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