In an interview with BBC Radio 5 Live, The Countess of Wessex has spoken about her family’s grief at losing the Duke of Edinburgh, as well as her important work on sexual violence in warzones, ahead of International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict.
Recorded at St James’s Palace earlier this week with the BBC’s Naga Munchetty, Sophie became teary when talking about how grief comes and goes, much as it had done when she lost her mother.
“Well he’s left a giant-sized hole in our lives,” she said.
“Unfortunately the pandemic has slightly slewed things in as much as it’s hard to spend as much time with The Queen than we would like to.”
“The normal way of things isn’t normal yet. So we’re not necessarily doing the things that we would have normally done with him. So I think the whole grieving process is probably likely for us to take a lot longer.”
She recognised other families will be going through the same. “It’s only when you do the normal things you would have done with them and you suddenly realise that they are not there, that you start to have an ‘Oh my goodness’ moment,” Sophie said.
“It’s only when you do the normal things that you would have done with them and you suddenly realise that they’re not there.”
Sophie, Countess of Wessex becomes emotional as she tells @TVNaga01 of her grief for the Duke of Edinburgh.
— BBC Radio 5 Live (@bbc5live) June 16, 2021
“Just talking to you now, it’s a bit of an ‘oh my goodness’ moment,” she said, holding back tears.
Recalling how she recently returned to the same Scottish hillside where she took a memorable photograph of The Queen and Philip in 2003, she said: “I was pregnant with Louise at the time, and we went up there, during half-term . . .”
After pausing for a moment, she continued: “Just to be there, in that place, was an, ‘oh my God’ moment. So I think they’ll come and go, but you have to let them come, and let them go. But just talking to you now, it’s a bit of an ‘oh my goodness’ moment, which you don’t necessarily expect, and you don’t expect them to come.
“I had the same when I lost my mother. You know, I’d be fine, absolutely fine, fine, fine . . . and then something happened, or you’d hear a piece of music, or you’d do something, and suddenly you would, you know, get taken off at the knees.
“So there’ll be lots of moments like that. But it’s good to remember.”
She previously explained that the Duke’s death was ‘very gentle’, as if he ‘had been taken by the hand’.
Her daughter Lady Louise shared an interest of carriage driving with her grandfather. She has inherited his ponies and carriage seen at the funeral.
The Countess chatted about Louise’s ‘complete passion’ for the sport with Ms Munchetty, which Philip was ‘so pleased’ about.
It is understood Prince Philip has left his youngest granddaughter, Lady Louise, his two Fell ponies and his carriage.
Louise enjoys carriage driving and regularly competes in horse carriage competitions
The ponies and carriage were seen during Prince Philip's funeral. pic.twitter.com/IUAXFuSoIq
— The Crown Chronicles (@crownchronicles) April 19, 2021
“He was really encouraging of Louise, when she not only said, ‘please can I have a go’, but then showed a flair for it. He was just brilliant with her.”
The wide-ranging chat also turned to the Wessexes’ profile. There has been much talk of The Earl and Countess of Wessex ‘stepping up’ after her nephew and niece, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, decided to leave working royal duties in 2020.
While the Countess has previously dismissed that she and Edward are now doing more, she commented on her supposedly elevated profile: “There is increased interest in us as a family but, if it raises more awareness of the issues I care about, then that can only be a good thing.”
You can listen to the interview here.