Queen Elizabeth Was Prepared for Prince Philip's Death: She's 'Steady and Calm,' Says Former Staffer
"She has an enormous amount of family support," Charles Anson tells PEOPLE
Charles Anson, former press secretary to the Queen, tells PEOPLE that the 94-year-old monarch was prepared for Philip's death after years of health troubles.
"She would have thought about this moment several times, and her way would be to remain as steady and as calm as possible," Anson says. "That comes naturally to her through her temperament and her experience."
He adds, "In my years of working for her she was always calm, no matter what was going on. But for any human being, this is a very cathartic moment."
Anson remembers Prince Philip, who died at age 99, quickly adapted to his role as a support for Queen Elizabeth.
"There were some things they had to deal with together that were difficult, but it was a long marriage with a great deal of happiness," he says. "He took very seriously his role as a support for the Queen as monarch."
Anson continues that Philip was able to provide "a great level support from a strong outward-looking man of action that he was. He was a natural of his generation to be at his wife's side. He very quickly came to terms to watching to be in that role of support as well as running his own life."
Anson says the Queen will be surrounded by the close members of her private household in the coming days.
"She has an enormous amount of family support for her and will also take comfort from the enormity of the support from all over the world," he says.
He also believes her eldest son, Prince Charles, is a part of conversations. The Queen and Charles recently posed for photos released for Easter at Windsor Castle together, and the former staffer says it's possible that Prince Charles will come into her "bubble" at Windsor, where she and Philip have been staying amid the coronavirus pandemic.
News of Prince Philip's death at age 99 was announced on Friday.
"It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen has announced the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh," the palace said in a statement. "His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle."
They continued, "The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss."
Watch Elizabeth & Philip: A Royal Romance – The True Story Behind the Crown on PeopleTV.com or on the PeopleTV app.
The monarch will refrain from carrying out any royal duties for the next eight days as she enters a mourning period and funeral plans are set in motion. Affairs of state will also be put on pause.
Following the eight days, a further period of official Royal Mourning is expected to continue. While the country is expected to go into a period of 10 days of mourning, the royal household will do so for 30 days, and guardsmen will be seen with black armbands on their tunics during that period.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, funeral plans will likely be modified as there are restrictions on crowd movements and numbers, and rules governing the number of people allowed to attend gatherings like funerals.
Prince Philip would have turned 100 on June 10.
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