“[He] left a giant-sized hole in our lives,” Sophie, 56, told BBC Radio 5 Live on Wednesday, June 16, of Philip, who passed away in April at the age of 99. “I think unfortunately the pandemic has slightly skewed things, inasmuch as it’s hard to spend as much time with the queen as we would like to. We’ve been trying to, but of course it’s still not that easy.”
“I think the whole grieving process is probably likely for us to take a lot longer,” she explained. “Of course, the normal way of things isn’t normal yet, so we’re not necessarily doing the things that we would normally have done with him.”
Sophie admitted that the royal family’s loss is something that many people worldwide can probably relate to after spending more than one year apart from loved ones during the COVID-19 crisis.
“It may be the same for many other families out there. 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,” she continued. “So if they were normally at a slight distance, living down the road, whether it be 15 minutes or 1,500 miles, it’s only when you would do the normal things that you would have done with them, and you suddenly realize that they are not there, that you really start to have an ‘Oh, my goodness’ moment.”
Sophie and Edward, 57, recently went to Scotland where they had their own moment of clarity about Philip’s death. The reality of his passing hit her when she visited the same place where she took a photograph of Philip and Elizabeth in 2003, which was later shared by the royal family in the duke’s memory.
“Just to be there, in that place, was an ‘Oh, my God’ moment,” she said on Wednesday as she fought back tears. “Um, so I think they’ll come and go, but you have to let them come, and let them go. But just talking to you now, it’s a bit of an ‘Oh, my goodness’ moment, which you don’t necessarily expect, and you don’t expect them to come. And I had the same when I lost my mother.”
The countess, who shares daughter Lady Louise, 17, and son James, Viscount Severn, 13, with her husband, explained that the grief hit her in waves after her mom’s death, which she expects will happen as the family continues to mourn Philip.
“There’ll be lots of moments like that. But it’s good to remember,” she concluded.
The Earl of Wessex, for his part, admitted that his father’s passing was a “bit of a shock” and something the family is “still trying to come to terms with.”