THE QUEEN has shared a candid photograph of herself and Prince Philip on the Scottish Highlands before she bids a final farewell to her husband of 73 years.
Taken by Prince Edward’s wife Sophie, the Countess of Wessex in 2003, the image shows the royal couple smiling while relaxing in the sunshine.
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The Queen can be seen relaxing with her husband Prince Philip in a photograph released the day before the duke’s funeralCredit: PA
The Queen released the picture of the duke at the top of the Coyles of Muick on the eve of his funeral, which will be held today at Windsor.
Looking completely at ease and smiling warmly, Philip and the Queen are seen appearing relaxed on the grass at the beauty spot near the town of Ballater in Aberdeenshire.
The duke lies back on a rug, propping himself up on his left elbow and has jauntily placed his hat on his right knee.
Beaming at the Countess of Wessex the Queen, dressed in a tartan skirt, blouse and cardigan and a string of pearls also sits on a rug.
With the sun blazing down the picture is likely taken when the couple were enjoying their traditional summer break at the Queen’s nearby private estate of Balmoral.
A royal source said: “The cherished photograph is one of the Queen’s favourites and evokes many happy memories at one of their favourite places in the world.
“She will miss her beloved Philip for ever.”
The image reflects the private face of the royal couple and gives an insight into how the Queen will remember her husband of more than seven decades after Philip died aged 99 last week.
It comes as:
Coyles of Muick stands above the entrance to Glen Muick and rewards walkers with an uninterrupted view of the mountain of Lochnagar.
The area is clearly a favourite spot for the Queen as she has named a corgi puppy, recently gifted to the monarch, Muick and it has a dorgi puppy playmate called Fergus – another Scottish name.
The area has been painted by the Prince of Wales whose Scottish summer retreat of Birkhall is close to the area where the Queen and Philip were photographed.
With the intimate picture, the Queen and the Royal Family shared their gratitude for the messages of condolences they have received.
“Her Majesty and the Royal Family are grateful for all the messages of condolence from around the world and have been touched to see and hear so many people sharing fond memories of The Duke, in celebration of his life,” the quote read.
The Royal Family Twitter page also released three images of Prince Philip and the Queen celebrating pivotal moments in their lives.
The first of sentimental images is when the then Princess Elizabeth announced her engagement to Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten in July 1947.
The second is of the happy couple on their wedding day in Westminster Abbey in 1947 and lastly the final image is of the Queen and Prince Philip on their 70th wedding anniversary.
They became the first couple in the Royal Family to celebrate their Platinum Wedding anniversary.
Princess Elizabeth stands beside her fiance Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten in 1947Credit: Hulton Royals Collection – Getty
The Queen and Prince Philip on their wedding day in November 1947Credit: Getty Images – Getty
In 2017 The Queen and The Duke became the first couple in the Royal Family to celebrate their Platinum Wedding anniversaryCredit: AP:Associated Press
Four other pictures were shared to the Royal’s social account that praised the duke as a “loving husband, devoted father, grandfather and great-grandfather”.
Since the Duke of Edinburgh’s passing, Sophie Wessex has become the Queen’s rock.
It was the Countess of Wessex who explained what was rightly too painful for Her Majesty to convey just 48 hours after the death of her beloved husband.
Watched by her husband Edward, she said: “It was so gentle, like someone took him by the hand, and then he went. Very peaceful, which is what you want for somebody, isn’t it?”
The day before, the 56-year-old Countess lowered her Range Rover’s window to say the Queen had been “amazing”.
The tweet shared images from throughout the Prince’s life
The Queen has previously called Prince Philip her ‘rock’Credit: PA
The Royal Family has shared a string of photographs of the dukeCredit: PA
The Queen and Prince Philip wave from Buckingham Palace after the monarch’s Coronation in 1953Credit: PA
What gave her response added poignancy was that she had clearly shed some tears.
That Sophie, whose husband is 12th in line to the throne, appeared to be leading the family’s public response, was certainly no shock to those in the royal inner circle.
Her role in this devastating affair simply re-emphasised what is now accepted at court, that the unassuming daughter of a tyre company executive is now the closest to the Queen.
Or as one courtier puts it: “If you’re asking who is Her Majesty’s favourite child, it’s none of them, it’s her daughter-in-law.”
The pair are thought to share a “special bond” – almost like mother and daughter.
Sources told The Mirror: “The Countess has been a tremendous source of comfort to the Queen.
“The Queen is very practical in making sure everyone is okay and despite her tremendous grief at the passing she is no different.
“Sophie cherishes her relationship with the Queen and not only appreciates her guidance and wisdom throughout her own life, she is very protective of her.
“Their bond is very like a mother and daughter and the feeling of love and respect is quite mutual. It is very special.”
The Queen is to bid a private farewell to Prince Philip today before his coffin leaves Windsor Castle for his funeral.
The grieving monarch will say an intimate final goodbye to her husband of 73 years before his journey to St George’s Chapel.
Sophie, Countess of Wessex has reportedly given the Queen ‘tremendous comfort’ after Prince Philip’s death