Prince Philip: Commentator on ‘precious’ time with the Queen
The Duke of Edinburgh died last April aged 99 and was laid to rest at a beautiful ceremony in Windsor. Her Majesty paid tribute to him in her Christmas broadcast this year, saying: “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 can understand why.”
She added: “[Philip’s] sense of service, intellectual curiosity and capacity to squeeze the fun out of any situation were all irrepressible.
“That mischievous, enquiring twinkle was as bright at the end as when I first set eyes on him.”
The Queen, 95, also paid tribute to the Duke in a more private way.
In November, she visited the Sandringham estate to speak to staff about preparations for hosting Christmas there.
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Of course, she eventually cancelled those plans amid rising coronavirus cases, and instead had a smaller celebration at Windsor Castle.
However, while she stayed at Sandringham, she did not stay in the so-called “big house”, but at Wood Farm.
Wood Farm is a modest abode where Philip retired to after stepping down from his duties in 2017 aged 96.
Pod Save the Queen is hosted by Zoe Forsey and features Daily Mirror royal editor Russell Myers.
Sandringham House in Norfolk
Mr Myers said last week: “The Queen was definitely looking forward to going to Sandringham.
“She did a little secret trip in November when she went over to check on the staff, check on the big house and get it ready for Christmas.
“And that’s when she stayed a few nights at Wood Farm as well, which is where Prince Philip used to live on the Sandringham estate.”
On her cancelling the usual Sandringham Christmas, he added: “It seems as though these rates that are continuing to surge were just too much and I think the Queen has taken the sensible, and described to me her ‘personal’ decision, it wasn’t necessarily a dictat from the Government or health officials per say, but she made the personal decision to stay put at Windsor.”
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Sandringham House is one of two large homes owned by the Queen in a private capacity, but Philip preferred the five-bedroom farmhouse located on the corner of the 600-acre estate.
He was said to enjoy the relative seclusion of it, but when Covid broke out in 2020, he moved to Windsor Castle to be together with the Queen.
Darren McGrady, a former chef who worked for the Queen and Princess Diana shared fond memories of Wood Farm on Twitter.
He wrote in 2019: “I used to love it there. It’s so small you get to interact with them every day, rattle pens and play with the corgis!
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“And when the Queen looks into the kitchen after a busy week and says ‘thank you’, you can’t get a bigger compliment than that.”
Philip saw the implementation of a new kitchen in the modestly-furnished cottage shortly before retiring, according to Hello! magazine.
He is reported to have enjoyed reading, painting and inviting friends to stay.
Mr Myers noted at the time of the Queen’s last visit: “She wanted to go to the big house [Sandringham] and have some meetings with the staff about what is happening in the coming weeks.
“But she also spent some time at Wood Farm and that is, obviously, where her husband Prince Philip spent his final years after he retired in 2017.
“I think that tells you where the Queen is at. She needed to be there, she needed to seek some solace.
“It had been a particularly tough couple of weeks, she’d been in hospital and she’d been told by doctors that she needed to slow down.”
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