Princess Anne helping fill void left for Queen by ‘irreplaceable’ Prince Philip

Queen carries tribute to Prince Philip with her at all times

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Princess Anne, the only daughter of the Queen and Prince Philip, has been pivotal in supporting her mother since the death of the Duke of Edinburgh last year, royal author Robert Hardman has claimed. While conceding the Duke is “irreplaceable”, he believes the Princess Royal has been able to help “fill that space” for the sovereign.

The author of Queen of our Times: The Life of Elizabeth II told OK! magazine: “Frankly Prince Philip is irreplaceable and no one would want to step into those shoes – and nor could they – but Princess Anne has helped to fill that space.”

Princess Anne has often been likened to her father for her no-nonsense approach to royal duties and life.

However, Mr Hardman added, the Princess Royal also shares similarities with her beloved royal mother.

He said: “Anne is a lot like her mother.

“They have that capacity for hard work, no interest at all in the limelight.

Follow live updates on Prince Philip’s memorial service here

“They’re very good at compartmentalising so if things go wrong, they park the bad stuff and get on with the job because they’ve got to.”

Princess Anne was known to be very close to Prince Philip, sharing with him a commitment to duty, and a love for sports, science and technology.

Following his death on April 9, the princess shared a poignant and rare private statement, in which she expressed her fondness for the Duke.

Reflecting on Prince Philip’s death, she said: “You know it’s going to happen but you are never really ready.

“My father has been my teacher, my supporter and my critic, but mostly it is his example of a life well-lived and service freely given that I most wanted to emulate.

“His ability to treat every person as an individual in their own right with their own skills comes through all the organisations with which he was involved.

“I regard it as an honour and a privilege to have been asked to follow in his footsteps and it has been a pleasure to have kept him in touch with their activities.

“I know how much he meant to them, in the UK, across the Commonwealth and in the wider world.

“I would like to emphasise how much the family appreciate the messages and memories of so many people whose lives he also touched.

“We will miss him but he leaves a legacy which can inspire us all.”

Princess Anne was among the 30 people allowed to take part in Prince Philip’s funeral service last April, as the ceremony was taking place under Covid regulations in a socially-distanced manner.

Today, Princess Anne will join her siblings and other key royals at Westminster Abbey, when a service of thanksgiving for Prince Philip is taking place.

While the Queen hasn’t officially confirmed her attendance, she is widely expected to be at the abbey after Buckingham Palace said this morning she is “intending” to travel to central London for the memorial.

Officials at the abbey and the palace have worked on special arrangements to make it easier for the sovereign to attend the service.

The memorial has been reportedly limited to 40 minutes instead of an hour and the monarch will sit in a comfortable chair while others in the congregation stand for hymns.

Moreover, Her Majesty will access the abbey from a side entrance beside Poets’ Corner – which will make it for a much shorter walk to her seat than the one she would face if she came in from the main entrance.

The Queen has been closely involved in plans for the service.

The memorial will include many elements reflecting her wishes as well as those of the Duke of Edinburgh, whose blueprint for his own funeral had to be abandoned in April last year because of COVID-19 restrictions.

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