Mourning a tragic loss. Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, honored his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, with a touching tribute following her death at age 96.
“As a family, we have grown up learning to share our parents, especially our beloved mama, with the Nation, her Realms and the Commonwealth,” via the royal family’s Instagram account on Friday, September 16. “While it has been lovely to have spent time saying our own farewell privately at Balmoral, it is now time to allow others to be able to say their farewell.”
The post included a video of Edward and wife Sophie Rhys-Jones lighting candles during the vigil at Westminster Hall on Friday. “We have been overwhelmed by the tide of emotion that has engulfed us and the sheer number of people who have gone out of their way to express their own love, admiration and respect to such a very special and unique person who was always there for us,” the earl continued. “And now, we are there for her, united in grief. Thank you for your support, you have no idea how much it means.”
The Cambridge University alum shared that the “Queen’s passing has left an unimaginable void in all our lives,” noting that he and the Countess of Wessex, 57, “have taken huge pleasure” in seeing daughter Lady Louise Windsor, 18, and son James, Viscount Severn, 14, “enjoying the places and activities that their grandparents” also loved. “Those happy memories have now become massively precious to each and every one of us,” he said.
The prince concluded, “May God bless Her Majesty and may her memory be long cherished even as the baton she has carried for these past 70 years now passes to the next generation and to my brother, Charles. Long Live The King.”
While the Earl of Wessex is the youngest son of Elizabeth and the late Prince Phillip, his relationship with Her Majesty was a famously close one. “We do see quite a lot of her,” the Countess of Wessex told Sky News in 2016 of the bond she shared with her mother-in-law. “We’re over there most weekends riding.”
After the death of his father Philip in April 2021, Edward spoke to reporters about the difficulty of grieving a parent. “However much one tries to prepare oneself for something like this it’s still a dreadful shock,” he said at the time. “And we are still trying to come to terms with that and it’s very, very sad.”
Following the late monarch’s death on September 8 at Balmoral Castle, Edward joined his three older siblings — King Charles III, Princess Anne and Prince Andrew — in Scotland. On Sunday, September 11, the four children followed their late mother’s hearse during the funeral procession from the Palace of Holyroodhouse to St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Three days later, the earl walked in the procession to Westminster Hall with other members of the royal family standing behind Charles, 73, and Queen Consort Camilla. On Friday, the four siblings stood around the royal matriarch’s coffin, which is lying in state at Westminster Hall in London until her funeral on Monday, September 19.
All clad in uniform, each of Elizabeth’s children walked up the catafalque, the raised platform upon which the casket was placed, and looked at the coffin before turning around to face the crowd. They stood silent as they surrounded the casket for the 15-minute vigil.