The queen will pay a moving tribute to her ‘beloved’ Prince Philip in tomorrow’s Christmas Day message.
Facing her first festive season without her husband of 73 years, she has recorded a ‘particularly personal’ address to the nation.
Buckingham Palace has also announced that a service of thanksgiving for the life of the Duke of Edinbtugh will take place at Westminster Abbey in the spring.
Sources said they ‘fully expected’ Harry and Meghan to be invited to the service, alongside the rest of the Royal Family Many see it as a good way to ‘break the ice’ between the couple and their estranged relatives following their acrimonious departure from the UK and royal life.
It came as the Sussexes released the first image of their baby daughter Lilibet yesterday.
And Buckingham Palace also issued a moving photograph of the Queen sitting at her desk as she prepared for her Christmas address, which she recorded last week.
The 95-year-old monarch has not been seen in public since early October following a bout of ill-health.
The picture was taken in the White Drawing Room at Windsor Castle, accompanied by a single, framed picture of her and Philip captured in 2007 at Broadlands country house in Hampshire to mark their diamond wedding anniversary. The couple had spent their honeymoon there in 1947.
For her Christmas address, the Queen is seen wearing an embossed wool shift dress in ‘Christmas red’, by her personal assistant and senior dresser Angela Kelly as well as a sapphire chrysanthemum brooch which she has worn during several key moments of her long and happy life with Philip.
The then-Princess Elizabeth first sported it for a photocall on her honeymoon, and she also wore it during the couple’s diamond wedding celebrations.
An intensely private woman, the Queen has touched upon her devastating loss on a handful of occasions since Philip died in April at the age of 99. She has also given permission for Buckingham Palace to release a small number of treasured images of the prince
But tomorrow’s message – to be broadcast at 3pm on both BBC1 and ITV – is likely to be her most intimate yet.
Meghan, 40, has not set foot in the UK since March last year.
She and Harry made a series of stinging accusations against the Royal Family, most notably in March this year in their interview with Oprah Winfrey, which led the Queen to issue an unprecedented plea to deal with their issues privately as a family.
The monarch also pointedly made clear that ‘recollections may vary’ on some of their more egregious claims, including accusations of racism