An elderly woman standing in solitude, head bowed reverentially, at the funeral of her husband of 73 years.

That she happened to be the Queen didn’t really seem to matter.

She was a widow who had lost the love of her life, her partner, her best friend, the constant companion who had been at her side – or two steps behind – when she was on royal duty.

And it was heartbreaking.

For once the Royal Family truly just seemed to be like the rest of us.

The Queen at Prince Philip's funeral
The Queen at Prince Philip's funeral

A son in tears. It didn’t matter that he was Prince Charles and born to be king. Just human like the rest of us.

Was there anyone who watched without also shedding a tear? I doubt it.

When I heard the Duke of Edinburgh had died, my first thought was that he had passed on a Friday, which for Muslims has particular significance.

There is a verse in the Islamic holy book which states: “Every soul shall have a taste of death.”

The Queen takes her seat at the funeral
The Queen was not alone, writes Anila Baig

And there has been so much this year.

People have lost livelihoods, and loved ones – and at times they were unable to say farewell and grieve properly.

Many of us have lost beloved parents and I know from first-hand experience that there is no pain like it on Earth.

The image of the Queen, standing alone, head bowed, silently mourning the loss of her husband, is the most poignant and powerful symbol of the loss we have all suffered during this pandemic.

You were alone but we stood with you.