LONDON – It was an image that broke hearts when it was broadcast on television to the world. Dressed in black, bowing her head, Queen Elizabeth II sat alone inside St. George’s Chapel as the royal family gathered under the strict restrictions of the coronavirus. Say goodbye to Duke Philip of Edinburgh.
After 73 years of marriage, after a love affair that often saw her husband beside her or a couple of steps back, the British monarch cut a lonely figure when the coffin was inserted. To many, he seemed vulnerable, perhaps for the first time during his long reign, which often saw him as a pillar of power in a time of countless crises and darkness.
Many on social media said they were deeply saddened by the scenes of the monarch sitting at the funeral, while others said the images boosted the strength of his character as a woman, a woman-queen.
The image of a family having to gather as a small group to say goodbye to a loved one is a comprehensive attempt at the severity of the coronavirus epidemic. Millions of families around the world have been forced to respect their loved ones by strict rules designed to keep people apart.
“It’s a reminder of how this epidemic has changed our whole lives. “The queen is sitting alone in a mask as she bids farewell to her ‘staying strong’ for so much of her life,” reads a tweet, reading the monarch’s courage in the face of grief.
The term “seeing the Queen” prevailed in the United Kingdom on Saturday, when many wrote about their feelings, seeing her majesty as a result of the grieving, isolated COVID-19 restrictions. “Seeing the queen sitting alone with her head down is simply heartbreaking,” journalist Dan Whitehead tweeted, seemingly summing up many people’s thoughts.
“I suspect the majority of the country today thinks of the queen,” the self-proclaimed royalist told a Washington Post reporter at Buckingham Palace on Saturday.
For the service on Saturday, the monarch wore all colors, including a dark face mask and black gloves. His mourning costume was in stark contrast to the usual outfits that society is accustomed to seeing. The queen, considered by some to be an icon of style, often wears colors ranging from powder blue to light yellow, light green to bright yellow, complemented by a matching hat.