Queen Elizabeth Releases Her First Official Statement Without Prince Philip

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Queen Elizabeth is continuing to fulfill her many royal duties despite still being in mourning for her late husband Prince Philip who died last week at age 99.

After hosting her first royal engagement since Philip’s death—a retirement ceremony for her former Lord Chamberlain Earl Peel— earlier this week, the monarch released her first official statement without her husband. The Queen expressed her sympathies to the islands of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, a Commonwealth nation, after both experienced a string of volcanic eruptions. These types of royal missives typically begin with “The Duke of Edinburgh and I,” so this marked the first occasion the letter did not include her husband’s name.

“I have been saddened by the destruction and major disruption caused by volcanic eruptions in recent days, and my thoughts are with the many people and families who have been evacuated from their homes, and whose livelihoods have been affected,” the Queen wrote. “I send my thanks to the emergency services and all those involved in the relief effort. My prayers will remain with the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines at this very difficult time.”

Prince Philip’s funeral will be held on Saturday at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle at 3 p.m. U.K. time and will be broadcast live. Per Philip’s wishes his body will be transported to the chapel in a Land Rover he helped modify, and his son Prince Charles will lead the procession behind it, joined by Prince Harry and Prince William. Other senior royals are also expected to join the procession, but sources confirmed to Vanity Fair that the Queen will not walk behind her husband’s coffin. A royal insider who spoke to People explained that the Queen “understands that she has a job to do, and [Philip] would have wanted her to crack on. She did do so when he retired from public life. She will never abdicate because of duty and honor and public service is so deep in her, as it was for him.”

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