The Queen has experienced a year like no other

The pandemic, the Sussexes stepping down and isolating at Windsor Castle are some of the issues the head of state has dealt with this year.

The Queen has experienced a year like no other

The Queen has been a reassuring presence for many during the past 12 months as the country has endured the pandemic and come to terms with life under lockdown.

In her personal life, she has witnessed the Duke and Duchess of Sussex step down as senior royals and move to America to start a new life.

But in televised addresses to the nation in April and at Christmas, the Queen delivered positive messages of hope, praising the efforts of individuals and calling on the nation to “remain united and resolute” in the face of the coronavirus outbreak.

The Westminster Abbey Commonwealth Day service was the final time the Duke and Duchess of Sussex attended an event with the Queen. Ben Stansall/PA Wire
The Westminster Abbey Commonwealth Day service was the final time the Duke and Duchess of Sussex attended an event with the Queen (Ben Stansall/PA)

The Queen had taken personal control of the crisis that had threatened to permanently damage the monarchy.

At the conclusion of negotiations between senior royals and the Sussexes, she issued an emotional statement, and expressed the royal family’s hopes the agreement would allow the couple “to start building a happy and peaceful new life”.

Her words featured a rare personal tribute to the couple, with the Queen using the first names of her grandson and his family in the public message.

The Queen addressed the nation a few weeks into the first lockdown. Jacob King/PA Wire
The Queen addressed the nation a few weeks into the first lockdown (Jacob King/PA)

The Queen’s domestic situation changed, with the threat of the virus necessitating that the 94-year-old monarch isolate with the Duke of Edinburgh and a small group from her household – dubbed HMS Bubble.

The couple have spent much of the past 12 months together at Windsor Castle, Balmoral and Sandringham – seeing more of each other than they would in a normal year.

After retiring in 2017, Philip reportedly divided his time between Sandringham and Windsor while the Queen was working from Buckingham Palace.

The royal family, pictured attending church on Christmas Day, did not gather at Sandringham this Christmas. Toby Melville/PA Wire
The royal family, pictured attending church on Christmas Day, did not gather at Sandringham this Christmas (Toby Melville/PA)

The Queen is spending the lockdown with the duke at Windsor Castle, rather than her usual winter retreat of Sandringham, and like many people in the country will be removed from friends and family.

Joe Little, managing editor of Majesty magazine, said: “At Sandringham, if she were still there, she would be entertaining. There would be house parties and there would be family coming and going but none of those rules can apply at the moment.

“It must impact on her in the way that it’s impacting on so many others but to a less dramatic extent.”

Philip's 99th birthday was celebrated with a portrait photograph with the Queen. Steve Parsons/PA Wire
Philip’s 99th birthday was celebrated with a portrait photograph with the Queen (Steve Parsons/PA)

And last year, large public events the monarch would have hosted such as investiture ceremonies, garden parties and Buckingham Palace receptions were cancelled or postponed.

One happier moment saw the Queen and Philip pose for a joint photograph to mark the duke’s 99th birthday in June.

And the Queen knighted Captain Sir Tom Moore, who travelled to Windsor Castle with his family to be honoured by the monarch in July for his fundraising efforts.

The Queen met Sir Tom's family when he she dubbed him a knight. Chris Jackson/PA Wire
The Queen met Sir Tom’s family when she dubbed him a knight (Chris Jackson/PA)

When Sir Tom died at the start of February, the Queen sent a private message of condolence to his family.

A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said: “Her thoughts, and those of the royal family, are with them, recognising the inspiration he provided for the whole nation and others across the world.”

As the country begins another year likely to be dominated by coronavirus and its aftermath, the Queen’s words, spoken during her Christmas Day message, still have a strong relevance.

She said: “We continue to be inspired by the kindness of strangers and draw comfort that – even on the darkest nights – there is hope in the new dawn.”

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