“Christmas was a bit of a struggle for the queen without Prince Philip by her side,” a source exclusively tells Us Weekly. “And not being able to spend it with her whole family [didn’t help].”
“She’s not one to wallow in self-pity and kept her chin up,” the insider says, noting that her grandson Prince William “liaised” with Prince Charles, who visited the queen on Christmas, and Princess Anne, who was isolating through the holiday, to organize a group Zoom call with the monarch.
The virtual celebration “brightened up her day,” the source adds, explaining that the moment also helped make William, 39, and Duchess Kate’s three children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis’ holiday. They were celebrating at their countryside home, Anmer Hall, in Norfolk, England.
“Obviously, the Cambridges were disappointed not to be spending the day with the queen, but thanks to modern technology, they video called her first thing in the morning to wish her a Merry Christmas,” the insider tells Us. “And the kids excitedly told their great-grandmother about their gifts.”
Us previously reported that her majesty was set to fly from Windsor to Sandringham on Wednesday, December 22, but had to change her plans amid the spike in COVID-19 cases.
The holiday switch came just days after the queen canceled her annual Christmas party, which was set for December 21.
“During that weekend, I know that the queen didn’t go to church at Windsor, which she normally would’ve done, just because she’s just trying to keep every everyone safe for Christmas day just in case things can go ahead,” royal expert Kerene Barefield exclusively told Us at the time.
Despite being apart from her children — the Queen shared Charles, 73, Anne, 71, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward with her late husband — and her grandchildren, Elizabeth still spoke to her countrymen in her annual Christmas address.
“Although it’s a time of great happiness and good cheer for many, Christmas can be hard for those who have lost loved ones. This year, especially, I understand why,” she said in her broadcast, which aired on Saturday, December 25. “But for me, in the months since the death of my beloved Philip, I have drawn great comfort from the warmth and affection of the many tributes to his life and work — from around the country, the Commonwealth and the world.”
The longest-reigning British monarch honored the Duke of Edinburgh with her speech, her sapphire chrysanthemum brooch that she wore during the couple’s 1947 honeymoon and a photo from the pair’s 70th wedding anniversary in 2007 on her table.
“His sense of service, intellectual curiosity and capacity to squeeze fun out of any situation – were all irrepressible,” she said of her late partner. “That mischievous, enquiring twinkle was as bright at the end as when I first set eyes on him. But life, of course, consists of final partings as well as first meetings; and as much as I and my family miss him, I know he would want us to enjoy Christmas.”
The queen concluded: “And for me and my family, even with one familiar laugh missing this year, there will be joy in Christmas, as we have the chance to reminisce, and see anew the wonder of the festive season through the eyes of our young children, of whom we were delighted to welcome four more this year.”
With reporting by Natalie Posner