Queen Elizabeth II may have to sit on her own during her husband, Prince Philip's funeral at St. George's Chapel on Saturday because of strict COVID-19 protocols.
Royal sources confirmed with The Telegraph that the British monarch faces the sad situation of having to sit through the funeral service without someone beside her, unless a member of her 20-person Windsor Castle COVID bubble, known as "HMS Bubble," joins her.
The 95-year old does not live by herself so she does not qualify to be in a support bubble. This means only a Windsor Castle staff member can sit with her. The Duke of Edinburgh's private secretary, Brigadier Archie Miller-Bakewell, is among the 30 mourners allowed in the chapel. He is also the only attendee eligible by law to stay with the queen during the ceremony.
Queen Elizabeth II may have to be on her own at the service but she is not alone in mourning. Andy Langford, clinical director of the charity Cruse Bereavement Care of which the monarch is royal patron, said "the Queen may be standing alone, but there is a difference between being alone and feeling isolated."
"The important thing is that you can have people you can reach out to. It's also about being fully informed in advance about how the ceremony will take place. We advise people that yes, the funeral itself is important, but the time before and the time after are really critical," he said.
Meanwhile, other attendees at Prince Philip's funeral will have to wear face masks and follow social distancing measures. Prince Harry and his cousin, Peter Philips, will have to sit two metres apart from everyone else. Prince Charles and his wife Camilla the Duchess of Cornwall, and Prince William and Kate Middleton will sit together as a couple but also two metres away from other mourners.
Likewise, attendees will not be allowed to sing to avoid passing the virus. Government rules state that only one "professional" person or three "if essential to an act of worship" can sing at funerals. A Buckingham Palace source said the "service will be Covid compliant" and that final details to Prince Philip's funeral will be revealed on Thursday.