Less than two weeks after Prince Philip’s Service of Thanksgiving was held at Westminster Abbey on March 29, the royal family is marking the somber occasion of the first anniversary of his death.
Philip died on April 9, 2021, at Windsor Castle, and Buckingham Palace announced his death with the statement “It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen has announced the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle. The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss.”
The royal family are expected to mark today’s anniversary privately, HELLO! reports, but Her Majesty did take to social media to share an emotional tribute for her late husband, to whom she was married for over 73 years and shared four children. The Queen shared a poem by the U.K.’s Poet Laureate Simon Armitage, read alongside a video montage that features special moments of Philip’s life and the couple’s life together, PEOPLE reports. Moments shared include their wedding day and the arrivals of not just their four children but also their grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
“Remembering His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh on the first anniversary of his death,” read the accompanying message to the post. The message was shared by eldest son Prince Charles and wife Camilla, as well as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on their respective social media channels.
The poem, entitled “The Patriarchs—An Elegy,” reads:
The weather in the window this morning is snow, unseasonal singular flakes, a slow winter’s final shiver. On such an occasion to presume to eulogize one man is to pipe up for a whole generation—that crew whose survival was always the stuff of minor miracle, who came ashore in orange-crate coracles, fought ingenious wars, finagled triumphs at sea with flaming decoy boats, and side-stepped torpedoes.
Husbands to duty, they unrolled their plans across billiard tables and vehicle bonnets, regrouped at breakfast. What their secrets were was everyone’s guess and nobody’s business. Great-grandfathers from birth, in time they became both inner core and outer case in a family heirloom of nesting dolls.
Like evidence of early man their boot prints stand in the hardened earth of rose-beds and borders. They were sons of a zodiac out of sync with the solar year but turned their minds to the day’s big science and heavy questions.
To study their hands at rest was to picture maps showing hachured valleys and indigo streams, schemes of old campaigns and reconnaissance missions. Last of the great avuncular magicians they kept their best tricks for the grand finale: Disproving Immortality and Disappearing Entirely.
The major oaks in the wood start tuning up and skies to come will deliver their tributes. But for now, a cold April’s closing moments parachute slowly home, so by mid-afternoon snow is recast as seed heads and thistledown.
In addition to today marking the emotionally charged anniversary of, as the poem indicates, the late patriarch of the royal family, it also marks a happier occasion—it is also Charles and Camilla’s seventeenth wedding anniversary.
Rachel Burchfield is a writer whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family. In addition to serving as the royal editor at Marie Claire, she has worked with publications like Vogue, Vanity Fair, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, and more. She cohosts Podcast Royal, a show that provides candid commentary on the biggest royal family headlines and offers segments on fashion, beauty, health and wellness, and lifestyle.
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