It's been two months since Prince Philip passed away and his family are still reeling from their loss. In a new interview on BBC Five Live, the Countess of Wessex spoke candidly about how the royals are coping in the wake of Philip's death – and shared a previously unknown detail about her first pregnancy.
Sophie – married to the Queen's youngest son, Prince Edward, with whom she shares daughter Lady Louise, 17, and son James, Viscount Seven, 13 – told Naga Munchetty that Philip's death had left "a giant-sized hole in our lives".
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Explaining how the pandemic meant they had not been able to spend as much time with the Queen as they would have liked, Sophie added: "So I think the whole grieving process is probably likely to take a lot longer… Because if you're not living with somebody, 24/7, the immediate loss isn't necessarily felt in the same way, as if somebody was in the house with you all the time.
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Sophie spoke of the royal family's heartbreak following Prince Philip's death
"… It's only when you would do the normal things that you would have done with them, and you suddenly realise that they are not there, that you really start to have a, 'Oh my goodness moment'.
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"I mean, we were lucky enough to go to Scotland for half-term, and I don't know if you remember the photograph that I took. I was pregnant with Louise at the time, and we went up there, during half-term..." Becoming visibly emotional, Sophie paused to compose herself before adding: "And just to be there, in that place, was an, 'Oh my God' moment. Um, so I think they'll come and go, but you have to let them come, and let them go."
The Countess revealed she was pregnant when she took this photo of the Queen and Philip
Sophie also touched on the media interest in her family – in particular how it could affect her daughter. "I hope that she and her friends will protect her from anything that somebody might want to do. But I have to let her live her life. It's not mine to live," she said.
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Sophie and Edward with their children, Lady Louise and James, Viscount Severn
"I can only equip her the best that I can, and then she has to make her own choices. But I hope for the next few years, at least, she will still be able to be as private as she wants to be."
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