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Queen Elizabeth, paying heed to Covid-19 rules, sat alone

"It's the worst time to lose a member of your family," said a mourner sitting outside the castle walls.
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II takes her seat alone in St. George's Chapel during the funeral of Prince Philip, the man who had been by her side for 73 years, at Windsor Castle, Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021.Yui Mok / Pool via AP

WINDSOR, England — Queen Elizabeth II was social distancing Saturday even as she bade farewell to the love of her life.

Wearing a mask that matched her black dress, hat and gloves, the queen did not take comfort in the physical embrace of her family at the funeral of Prince Philip because of an invisible intruder called Covid-19.

Instead, she set an example of both safety and fortitude for her countrymen during the hourlong ceremony by scrupulously sticking to the social distancing rules that have rankled many of her subjects over the last year — even in the moment of her deepest grief.

And if it bothered the queen, she didn’t let it show.

“It’s more than pragmatic,” Chris Chilton, 70, who lives near Windsor Castle, said of the queen’s decision to stick by the pandemic rules. “She’s an amazing woman. She really does take control. She’s very fair.”

Daria Alexander, 24, a student from London sitting on a bench outside the castle walls, said she wasn’t surprised to see the queen sitting off on her own, but admitted it was “weird” to see her in a mask.

“She did look sad, but also dignified,” she said.

Also “quite sad,” Alexander said, was that the Duke of Edinburgh — like so many other people who died during the pandemic — did not get a public funeral because of Covid-19.

“They were abiding by the rules,” said Alexander. “But to be honest, it’s the worst time to lose a member of your family. It’s the worst.”