Royal love! How lockdown has given Queen and birthday boy Philip time to ‘reconnect’

Royal love! How lockdown has given Queen and birthday boy Philip time to ‘reconnect’

It is a rare glimpse of the Duke who retired from public life three years ago and is reluctant to allow fuss to be made of his birthdays. Philip was pictured beside the monarch in a double breasted jacket and Household Division tie. The 94-year-old Queen, who once described him as her “strength and stay” wore a dress designed by her assistant Angela Kelly with the Cullinan V heart-shaped diamond brooch first worn by Queen Mary.

Today the couple – who have been married for 72 years – are expected to enjoy a quiet lunch and catch up with the family on video calls.

They have enjoyed daily lunches together since basing themselves at the castle during the pandemic – which has given them a chance to spend more time together than they have had for several years.

The Queen and Philip are surrounded by a reduced household of around 20 staff in an operation nicknamed HMS Bubble.

The Duke has spent much of his retirement at Wood Farm on the Sandringham estate in Norfolk while the Queen has got on with her official duties. They have spoken every day on the phone but often went weeks without seeing each other.

But they were reunited in Windsor for their safety on March 19 after Philip was flown there by helicopter ahead of lockdown.

Joe Little, managing editor of Majesty magazine, said: “This must be the longest they’ve been under the same roof for many years.

“But it’s an opportunity for them in their later years to reconnect. It is the perfect royal cocooning.”

Philip keeps himself busy reading, writing and painting. In April he issued a rare public statement, his first since his retirement, praising key workers and those making sure that essential services are kept running during the coronavirus pandemic.

His wife has official duties to deal with most days, including her red boxes of official papers and regular telephone audiences. She has been relaxing during lockdown by riding her Fell ponies in the grounds of the castle in Windsor’s Home Park.

In 2007, the couple celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary by travelling to Malta, where they had lived for a short time as a young couple.

In 2012, they marked their blue sapphire anniversary – 65 years – and in 2017 passed the rare, personal milestone of 70 years of marriage – their platinum wedding anniversary.

The Duke is the longest serving consort in British history and also the oldest serving partner of a reigning monarch.

He is known for his gaffes, once telling a teenager who wanted to go into space he was too fat to be an astronaut.

Among his many other outspoken comments, he once asked a successful Aboriginal entrepreneur “Do you still throw spears at each other?”, and told a female police officer in a bullet proof vest “You look like a suicide bomber”.

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He served with distinction during the Second World War and romance with the King’s elder daughter blossomed.

They were married two years after the end of the war.

Within five years, George VI had died and Princess Elizabeth had become Queen at the age of 26.

Published at Tue, 09 Jun 2020 21:00:00 +0000