Queen’s heartbreak as she prepares to face saddest Christmas in 65 years

Queen Elizabeth II attends the press and VIP day of Chelsea Flower Show on May 22, 2006 in London, England
(Image credit: Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)

The Queen is preparing for what could perhaps be her saddest Christmas in 65 years as she marks the first festive season since the loss of Prince Philip.

Whilst Christmas is often considered a time of joy, for the Queen facing her first Christmas in 65 years without her beloved “strength and stay”, it’s likely the festivities will also be a deeply poignant occasion. The Queen and Prince Philip were married for 73 years (opens in new tab) before he sadly passed away aged 99 at Windsor Castle in April. His death might not have changed the royal line of succession (opens in new tab), though it changed the monarchy as we know it and members of The Firm (opens in new tab) have continued to reflect on their wonderful memories of him.

Now for the first time in almost seven decades the Queen will celebrate Christmas without him. According to People (opens in new tab), the last time the couple were apart at Christmas was reportedly in 1956, making his absence this year all the more heartbreaking.  

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh arrive at King's Lynn Station on December 21, 2017

During this time the Queen was in the UK with their eldest two children, Prince Charles (then 8) and Princess Anne (then 6) whilst the Duke of Edinburgh was aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia on a voyage around the commonwealth. The Royal Family’s official website (opens in new tab) reports that Philip spoke on the radio from the yacht before the monarch made her Christmas Day broadcast live from Sandringham in Norfolk. 

The Queen even referenced the absence of her husband in her speech that year, reflecting on all the “joy” the Duke of Edinburgh brought to her and their children’s lives. 

During her speech Her Majesty declared, “You will understand me, therefore, when I tell you that of all the voices we have heard this afternoon none has given my children and myself greater joy than that of my husband.” 

25th December 1957: Queen Elizabeth II smiling towards The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh just before the end of her first Christmas Day television speech to her nation

The Queen went on to mention how their “sad” separation made her “even more aware” of her good fortune. She continued, “Of course it is sad for us to be separated on this day, and of course we look forward to the moment when we shall all again be together. Yet my husband's absence at this time has made me even more aware than I was before of my own good fortune in being one of a united family."

Very sadly it’s not known whether the Queen will be able to reunite with all of her family for the festive season this year. With just days to go before the big day, the Queen cancelled Christmas at Sandringham (opens in new tab) for the second year running.

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip after attending the Royal Family's traditional Christmas Day church service

Since then reports have claimed that the Queen’s son-in-law Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence has tested positive (opens in new tab) for Covid-19 and that he and Princess Anne are isolating. Now, however, it’s been confirmed that the Queen won’t face a lonely Christmas (opens in new tab) as Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla will be visiting her on Christmas Day.

At this difficult time as she marks the first Christmas without Prince Philip for 65 years, the Queen will no doubt draw special comfort from her nearest and dearest this year.