Saturday, 29 Feb 2020

Queen to lean on these two royals as ‘irreplaceable’ Prince Philip withdraws from public

The Queen has always found in her husband of 74 years, Prince Philip, a helpful advisor able to support her through any period of crisis. However, the Duke of Edinburgh is now spending a growing amount of time at the Wood Farm cottage in Sandringham. 

This means the Queen only spends a few months close to her husband, as she mainly stays in Norfolk during her winter break between Christmas and February.

While the company and wisdom of Prince Philip is surely being missed by the Queen, one royal expert believes she can still rely on other senior royals for friendship and advice.

Richard Fitzwilliams told Express.co.uk: “The Duke is probably irreplaceable but the Princess Royal, who carries out a huge number of royal engagements and does so with the minimum of fuss and if possible avoids publicity, would always give practical advice.” 

While Princess Anne, the only daughter of the Queen and Prince Philip, is considered one of the best people to replace the Duke’s wisdom, another royal is believed to be growing more and more affectionate to the monarch.

Mr Fitzwilliams said: “The Queen is known to be close to Sophie, Countess of Wessex.

“She enjoys conventional royal pursuits and since early difficulties when she tried to combine being royal and her work in public relations, her record as a royal has been impeccable.

“She is known to be close to the Queen and recent events will undoubtedly have strengthened this bond.”

Prince Philip is believed to have arrived at five-bedroom cottage Wood Farm in early September, after having spent a few weeks in the company of the Queen at Balmoral Castle.

While the monarch was carrying out dozens of royal duties in London and across the UK during the autumn and winter months, the Duke of Edinburgh is believed to have remained in Sandringham reading and “pottering around”.

In the past months, the Duke is also said to have suffered “a bit of a wobble”, according to a source.

They told The Sun: “Philip had a bit of a wobble and hasn’t felt so energetic.

“He has been living quietly at Sandringham, where he spends most of his time reading and pottering about.

“Until recently he has been very active — carriage riding, fishing at Balmoral and driving around royal estates — although he no longer drives on public roads following his crash in January. 

“His mind is as sharp as ever.

“However the sad reality is that the Queen is more isolated.”

Later in 2019, the Duke of Edinburgh was hospitalised for a few days on the advice of His Royal Highness’ doctor, Buckingham Palace said.

Prince Philip remained at King Edward VII Hospital in London until Christmas Eve, when he was discharged and flown back to Sandringham House to celebrate the festivities with his wife and family. 

The Duke of Edinburgh, who retired from public duties in August 2017, has been seen only a handful of times in public in the past three years.

Prince Philip was last spotted in public in late January.

Pictures taken on January 25 show Prince Philip being driven through the Sandringham Estate by Princess Anne.      

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