The Queen Carried Two Poignant Items in Her Handbag for Tuesday’s Service of Thanksgiving for Prince Philip

Both items provided comfort to Her Majesty.

Queen Elizabeth
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Tuesday was an understandably difficult day for Her Majesty. 

Though the funeral for her beloved husband of 73 years, Prince Philip, was held last April, it was limited to 30 people because of COVID restrictions at the time. So, to allow the many charities and patronages Philip worked with throughout his long life to properly honor and celebrate him, a Service of Thanksgiving was planned for March 29 at Westminster Abbey. The service—which, in stark contrast to his scaled back funeral, welcomed 1,800—fell less than two weeks before the one-year anniversary of his death, which is always a difficult and somber occasion to mark when you lose a loved one.

To help give her comfort at Tuesday’s service, Her Majesty carried two special items in her handbag, the Mirror reported. Both were keepsakes from their marriage—a photo of the couple as newlyweds, and a white handkerchief of her late husband’s.

The then Princess Elizabeth married Philip in 1947 and counted their two years spent living in Malta, from 1949 to 1951—where Philip was stationed in the Royal Navy—as some of their favorites. The photo the Queen carried, it is reported, was one of she and the love of her life during those years in Malta, described as the most carefree of their marriage, just before King George VI’s death in February 1952 and the beginning of her 70-year reign as Queen.

Also tucked into her handbag to provide comfort was a white handkerchief made by Savile Row tailors Kent & Haste, a trademark of Philip’s. Philip folded the handkerchiefs into squares in a classic style, the Mirror reported, and put into his breast pocket.

Those were certainly not the only personal touches at the Service of Thanksgiving, which took place at the same venue the Queen and Philip were married in so many years ago. Many sentimental touches at the service were reminiscent of that special day over 74 years ago, including carefully chosen flowers that mirrored Her Majesty’s wedding bouquet. Other flowers in the church for the memorial service included flowers in shades of patriotic red, white, and blue, and larger arrangements featuring blue eryngium, known as sea holly, which is a thoughtful nod to Philip’s career in the Royal Navy and his lifelong affection for the sea.

Rachel Burchfield
Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.