Sophie, Countess of Wessex says Prince Philip’s death ‘left a giant-sized hole' in the royal family's lives

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Sophie, Countess of Wessex, is feeling the loss of Prince Philip.

The Duke of Edinburgh, who spent more than seven decades supporting his wife Queen Elizabeth II, passed away on April 9 at age 99.

“[His death] left a giant-sized hole in our lives,” the wife of Philip’s youngest son Prince Edward told BBC Radio 5 Live, as quoted by PEOPLE magazine on Wednesday.

“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,” the 56-year-old explained. “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 added.

Prince Philip and Sophie, Countess of Wessex wait for the start of the Epsom Derby at Epsom Downs racecourse on June 4, 2011, in Epsom, England.  The Duke of Edinburgh passed away on April 9 at age 99.
(Photo by Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images)

According to the outlet, Sophie became emotional when she recalled the moment that her family revisited the place where she took a heartfelt photograph of her parents-in-law which was released on the eve of Philip’s funeral.

“We were lucky enough to go to Scotland for half-term… Just to be there, in that place, was an ‘Oh my God’ moment,” said Sophie as she fought back tears. “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,” Sophie continued. “And then something happened, or you’d hear a piece of music, or you’d do something, and then suddenly you would, you know, get taken off at the knees. So there’ll be lots of moments like that. But it’s good to remember.”

The royal shared that her daughter, Lady Louise, has carried on the tradition of carriage driving in honor of her grandfather. Sophie said he was so pleased when she took up the sport that he would watch her compete and train.

Sophie, Countess of Wessex admitted it’s still difficult to reflect on memories involving Prince Philip.
(Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

“There’s a wonderful huge lawn outside the front of the castle, and Louise had put the cones in a paddock somewhere, so she could go and practice them, with her dressage as well,” Sophie recalled. “And the Duke of Edinburgh was coming from staying somewhere as well, up to Balmoral, a few days after we’d arrived. And he got there… and I think the next day, I looked out of the window, and I saw his Land Rover out on the lawn… and I was thinking, ‘What on earth is he doing?’”

“And he was pacing up and down, putting the white boards out, and I suddenly realized he’d collected all of the boards that form the outer ring of the dressage arena, and he was setting it up in prime position on the lawn, in front of the castle,” Sophie continued. “To his mind, it was the flattest piece of lawn anywhere.”

Queen Elizabeth II might not have been as thrilled with the idea.

“I’m not sure the queen was quite as excited as he was because of course, it’s a very nice marked lawn,” said Sophie. “I called to Louise to look out of the window to see what her grandfather was doing, and she was absolutely horrified because, of course, it was front and center – everybody was going to be able to see what she was doing.”

In this Sept. 1, 1972 file photo, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip pose at Balmoral, Scotland, to celebrate their Silver Wedding anniversary.
(PA via AP)

“And yes, so we spent the entire time going round, every time she went round, going, ‘Oh no, we’re leaving terrible tire marks everywhere,’ and also, having to move the boards every couple of days, because the grass was growing up underneath them,” Sophie shared. “So I’m not sure we were very much friends with the gardeners for a little while.”

In his lifetime, Philip fulfilled more than 20,000 royal engagements to boost British interests at home and abroad. He also headed hundreds of charities, founded programs that helped British schoolchildren participate in challenging outdoor adventures and played a prominent part in raising his four children, including his eldest son, Prince Charles, the heir to the throne.

In 2017, Philip announced he planned to step back from royal duties and he stopped scheduling new commitments.

Philip is survived by the queen and their four children — Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward — as well as eight grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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