Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II on Saturday shared an elegiac poem to pay tribute to her late husband Prince Philip on the first anniversary of his death.
The verse by Poet Laureate Simon Armitage was posted on the royal family’s social media channels a year after the Duke of Edinburgh died in his sleep at Windsor Castle, west of London, aged 99.
The monarch was marking the anniversary in private, after she staged a rare public appearance at a national memorial service for Philip in Westminster Abbey on March 29.
“The Patriarchs: An Elegy” is read by Armitage over piano music and a video montage showing photographs of Philip’s life, from childhood to old age via his Royal Navy service and wedding to Elizabeth in 1947.
His wartime generation is described as “husbands to duty” and the poem concludes: “But for now, a cold April’s closing moments / parachute slowly home, so by mid-afternoon / snow is recast as seed heads and thistledown.”
The poem was first published to mark Philip’s funeral on April 17 last year, which was attended by just 30 members of close family due to Covid regulations then in force. The queen sat alone.
In her Christmas Day broadcast in December, Elizabeth said there was “one familiar laugh missing” after the passing of her husband, the longest-serving royal consort in history.
She recollected that his “mischievous, enquiring twinkle was as bright at the end as when I first set eyes on him”.
The queen, who turns 96 on April 21, is marking a record-breaking 70th year on the throne, afflicted by health problems and scandals affecting her sons Charles and Andrew.
She is to miss a religious service on Maundy Thursday this week and will be represented by Prince Charles, Buckingham Palace said. The service marks the start of Easter weekend and is normally a fixture in her diary.
Apart from Philip’s memorial service, the queen has not attended a high-profile event outside her homes since she spent a night in hospital last October.