The Queen spent the last year of her life as a widow, but in the weeks and months before the Duke of Edinburgh’s death, the couple were able to spend some happy final moments together at Windsor Castle.
Following the outbreak of the pandemic in March 2020, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh relocated to Windsor Castle. By all accounts, the time they spent in lockdown, dubbed “HMS Bubble,” was a particularly pleasant time for the two, who were able to spend much more time together than they had in a long while. We got several glimpses of the couple together during that last year, including this photograph, released to celebrate the Duke’s 99th birthday in June 2020. The Queen wears the Cullinan V Brooch with her pearls in the image.
Because Princess Beatrice moved her July 2020 wedding to Windsor, the Queen and the Duke were able to be among the small number of guests in attendance. It was one of their last major family occasions together, made particularly special by the fact that Beatrice borrowed her grandmother’s wedding tiara for her big day. The Queen wore the Rose of England Brooch for the ceremony.
This special photograph was also released during the couple’s last year at Windsor. Taken in the Oak Room at Windsor Castle on November 17, 2020, the photo shows the Queen and the Duke just a few days before their 73rd wedding anniversary. They’re perusing a card handmade for the occasion by three of their great-grandchildren, Prince George, Prince Charlotte, and Prince Louis. For the photograph, the Queen wore the Sapphire Chrysanthemum Brooch, a memorable jewel which she also wore during the couple’s honeymoon in 1947.
But by the following spring, the Duke’s health had taken a turn for the worse, and he passed away peacefully at Windsor on April 9, 2021. On April 17, a small ceremonial funeral was held for him at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor. Just a few guests, including his children and grandchildren, were able to attend.
The long-established plans for the service had to be scaled back considerably because of the pandemic, but the spare, precise funeral ended up being incredibly meaningful (and perhaps reflecting the Duke himself better than a grand service might have).
The solitary figure of the Queen sitting during the service was the lasting image of the day, something particularly resonant with those who had lost loved ones during the pandemic period.
A few weeks after the funeral, in May 2021, the Queen made a visit to HMS Queen Elizabeth in Portsmouth ahead of the ship’s maiden voyage.
The Duke of Edinburgh was a decorated naval officer, so the occasion provided another opportunity for remembrance. Fittingly, the Queen chose to wear the Grima Ruby Brooch, which had been given to her by her husband in 1966.
On June 9, 2021—a day before what would have been the Duke’s 100th birthday—the Queen received Keith Weed, President of the Royal Horticultural Society, at Windsor Castle. He presented her with the new Duke of Edinburgh Rose, which had been named in honor of her late husband.
For the casual audience, the Queen wore small pearl stud earrings and a single strand of pearls.
For that year’s Christmas Broadcast, filmed on December 23, 2021, the Queen also paid tribute to the memory of the late Duke. A photograph of them together, taken at the time of their Diamond Wedding Anniversary in 2007, was placed beside her on the table. In both the photograph and in the broadcast, the Queen again wore the sentimental Sapphire Chrysanthemum Brooch.
The Duke of Edinburgh’s life was celebrated with a large memorial service at Westminster Abbey on March 29, 2022. The special service provided a sort of “do-over” for the funeral that wasn’t able to happen in 2021. The extended royal family was in attendance, as were members of foreign royal families.
For that service, one of the Queen’s last major high-profile appearances, she again honored Philip’s memory by wearing a jewel that he chose for and gave her personally: the Grima Ruby Brooch.