United Kingdom

HMS support bubble: The 22 Royal household staff who will help the Queen through her grief

The Queen is surrounded by a 'bubble' of 22 Royal Household staff who will provide comfort to her during her time of mourning.

During the funeral of Prince Philip, the Queen sat alone inside St George's Chapel, away from the rest of the Royal Family due to coronavirus regulations.

Her Majesty is only allowed to sit close to her close group of staff, dubbed 'HMS Bubble' by the master of the household Vice-Admiral Sir Tony John-stone-Burt last year, The Telegraph reports.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II bows her head as she sits in St. George's Chapel during the funeral of Prince Philip, the man who had been by her side for 73 years

Paul Whybrew (Queen Elizabeth II's page) leaves the Goring Hotel after attending a Christmas Lunch hosted by Queen Elizabeth II for her close members of staff

Personal Assistant, Adviser and Curator to Her Majesty The Queen Angela Kelly Angela Kelly at Windsor Castle

The Queen's  Bentley followed the coffin from the castle to the church, behind the Land Rover and her family marching together

Sir Tony wrote in an email sent to staff last year: 'There are 22 Royal Household staff inside the Bubble, and it struck me that our predicament is not dissimilar to my former life in the Royal Navy on a long overseas deployment.

'Indeed, the challenges that we are facing, whether self-isolating alone at home, or with our close household and families, have parallels with being at sea, away from home for many months, and having to deal with a sense of dislocation, anxiety and uncertainty.

'Regardless of the roles we perform, we do them to an exceptional standard to allow the Queen and other members to do their duty to the best of their ability, too.'

The Queen and Prince Philip were said to have enjoyed the joke, especially since the Duke's nickname was 'Big Bubble'.

Her Majesty has reportedly already restarted her duties as she has telephoned Candian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

But her governmental work will be carried out by another member of HMS bubble, Sir Edward Young - her private secretary.

Another member of HMS bubble is Brigadier Archie Miller-Bakewell, the Duke of Edinburgh's private secretary.

The Queen stands alone as she watches Prince Philip's coffin being carried by soldiers on its final journey into St George's Chapel, Windsor today for the funeral of her beloved husband

The Queen left a personal, hand-written message to Prince Philip at his funeral service today. but the content of the note is not known

Her Majesty, with tears in her eyes, looks on after she had a moment of quiet reflection by her husband's coffin

Her Majesty's head remained bowed throughout the heartbreaking walk from the car to the church

The emotional Queen wipes away a tear in the back of the royal Bentley as she saw the procession

The Royal Family stand at the bottom of the steps of St George's Chapel as the coffin is carried up into the church

The couple, pictured together on their Diamond Wedding Anniversary in November 2007 

Paul Whybrew, known as 'Tall Paul', is known for starring alongside the Queen in the James Bond sketch at the 2021 Olympics.

He is said to be a calming presence and is the aide who accompanies her when she watches television.

One of the closest of all is her senior dresser, Angela Kelly, who has worked with her since 1993.

She had been visiting the Queen throughout lockdown.

There is a long history of monarchs growing close to their aides, such as Queen Victoria who grew close to her Scottish attendant, John Brown, and her Indian attendant, the Munshi.

There was not room for the spouses of the Queen's cousins - the Duchess of Gloucester and the Duchess of Kent - at Prince Philip's ceremony on Saturday.

Also missing from the list of the monarch's cousins was Prince Michael of Kent, 78, who is not a working royal.

The children of the Queen's late sister Princess Margaret - the Earl of Snowdon and Lady Sarah Chatto and her husband David Chatto - also attended the close-knit ceremony. The Queen is particularly close to Lady Sarah.

The Duchess of Sussex, who is pregnant with her second child and was told by doctors not to fly, was also missing from the list as well as the duke's 10-great-grandchildren, who were all considered too young to attend.

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