Queen Elizabeth was a picture of determination on Tuesday, despite her frailty, as she attended the memorial service of her beloved late husband Philip, for her first official engagement outside of a royal resident in almost six months.
Her display at Westminster Abbey – walking cautiously, holding onto the elbow of the Duke of York for support with one hand and carrying her stick with the other – differed greatly from how she appeared at the Welsh Senedd last autumn, walking somewhat speedily from the car.
Now, just three weeks away from her 96th birthday, some are wondering whether the monarch's body language may be an indication of failing health.
Body language expert Judi James described to OK! her perception of her royal majesty during today's service: "The Queen herself was a masterclass in control and stoicism.
"This was the first time she has used a supporting arm in public as well as a stick but any physical frailty did not seem to reflect her emotional strength and will-power."
She continued: "Once she had taken her seat she busied herself finding her glasses in her bag and sat confident and alert throughout the service, wearing a firm lip-clamp to suggest resolve and courage while many around her dissolved into tears."
The monarch was joined by her closest family during the tearful event, Charles, Prince of Wales – who leaned over to comfort his mother at the start of the service – as well as the Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Andrew, Duke of York, as well as Princess Anne and Prince Edward and their own families.
Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, as well as their children Prince George and Princess Charlotte, also joined to mourn the loss of Philip.
Behind them also sat some of the minor royals, members of aristocracy, and European royalty – including King Felipe VI of Spain and Queen Letizia.
Hundreds of other guests surrounded the Queen during the service – a stark contrast to Philip’s almost empty funeral service in April last year at the height of the of a pandemic, when she was forced to sit alone in a mask whilst grieving.
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Judi also told OK!: "She stood unaided throughout the hymns and she appeared to allow no fussing from any of her children bar the obvious one.
"It was Andrew she chose to attend to her and to be her escort and it was Andrew who was therefore appearing in his father’s place too, standing behind his mother in that familiar, hands-behind-the-back pose of Philip’s and joining in the laughter and smiles as the Queen chatted to her hosts."
Judi also revealed that the children’s remarkably composed, mature appearance was in fact the result of rehearsals.
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