“The Queen had a somber birthday this year,” a source tells Us Weekly exclusively. “She’s grieving the loss of her beloved husband, Prince Philip, and spent the day with her corgis. She spoke to family members who are rallying together to keep her company.”
Philip passed away at age 99 on April 9. The couple were married for more than seven decades, and although she has shown immense strength in the wake of his death, the monarch misses her husband dearly.
“Prince Philip’s passing has hit the queen harder than expected, but she’s remaining calm and collected,” the insider adds. “She’s strong and I’m sure she’ll pull through.”
The queen shared a message on Wednesday in honor of her birthday. While the royal family often shares a new portrait to commemorate the day, the tradition didn’t continue this year.
“I have, on the occasion of my 95th birthday today, received many messages of good wishes, which I very much appreciate. While as a family we are in a period of great sadness, it has been a comfort to us all to see and to hear the tributes paid to my husband, from those within the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth and around the world,” she said in a statement posted to the royal family’s official social media account. “My family and I would like to thank you for all the support and kindness shown to us in recent days. We have been deeply touched, and continue to be reminded that Philip had such an extraordinary impact on countless people throughout his life.”
Following her husband’s death, the queen entered an eight-day mourning period per royal protocol. Still, not every royal mourning tradition has been followed. On Tuesday, April 20, a second source revealed to Us that the queen used her own personalized stationery following her husband’s death, as opposed to the black-trimmed paper that’s been used historically.
“The queen believes this is keeping with Prince Philip’s wishes as to not make a fuss over his passing,” the second insider noted.
The late Duke of Edinburgh is survived by four children, eight grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. On Saturday, April 17, the royal family made their way to the queen’s side for Philip’s funeral. Following the event, they chose to walk home together instead of getting in the cars waiting for them outside.
“Having been separated in the Chapel they’re now able to come together which will be a comfort to the Queen,” CNN royal commentator Victoria Arbiter tweeted on Saturday.
While her grandson, Prince Harry, had to fly home to California on Tuesday to be with his pregnant wife, Meghan Markle, Harper’s Bazaar confirmed on Wednesday that the Duke of Sussex, 36, was able to speak with his grandmother privately at least twice while he was in the U.K. He also was able to send birthday wishes before his departure.
“Prince Harry got to say goodbye to the queen before her birthday and he left her a gift and card from him and Meghan,” the first source said.