April Sunshine, April Tears

Yesterday people all over the world watched or listened to the funeral of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Inevitably, many rushed to tell others how good or bad it was, or gave their opinion of this or that aspect of the arrangements and those taking part in it. For most, however, I suspect it was the picture of the Queen, dressed in black and sitting alone, that provided the most powerful image and drew sympathy from even the stoniest of hearts: a widow mourning her husband of 73 years, in public and within the constraints of strict protocol. None of us knows what she was thinking or the emotions she experienced as the service progressed. We know about our own grief, but the feelings of others are often difficult to read. Some need the warmth of a tangible human presence; others prefer space and solitude.

I think myself there was a kind of counterpoint between the queen’s sorrow and the duke’s slightly subversive humour, especially when the naval call to action stations sounded, a mixture of April sunshine and April tears, if you like. Every funeral in Eastertide must have elements of both. The joy of the resurrection does not diminish the pain of loss and death, nor does the spiritual eliminate the human. All are brought together as we sing our grateful ‘Alleluia’.

The image of the Queen at Windsor to which I refer may be subject to copyright but can be viewed by following this link:



3 thoughts on “April Sunshine, April Tears”

  1. The sheer volume of the Duke’s activities leaves one breathless. From the most un-royal start in life – born on the kitchen table – to his helter-skelter escape into exile in an orange box – he achieved so much. Like another prince, Rupert of the Rhine, also with a most unpromising start with an escape from Prague in a washing basket as a baby, almost left behind in the panic, all his energy seems to have been channeled into defiantly making a difference to the world. Full of life, a mind teeming with ideas, creative schemes for the improvement of the lives of others,the discipline to carry them through to completion. He earned respect, affection, devoted love and never seemed to have taken himself too seriously. Our country was truly blessed to have had him as consort to our Queen.

  2. Equally poignant was seeing the two princes William and Harry talking together. We never know how much to make of things in the media, so let’s hope any rift is beginning to heal.

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