Can one die of a broken heart? It would certainly seem so. Who doesn’t have a friend or family member who passed shortly after their spouse? Though Queen Elizabeth died of natural age-related causes and will be officially laid to rest today in Westminster Abbey — the exact location wherein she assumed the crown 71 years ago — she endured a number of heartbreaking losses of both friends and family in the year preceding her death.
She lost her husband, to whom she had been married for 70 years, in April of last year. One can only imagine the pain she felt at losing her beloved partner and constant companion. A mere five months later, she lost one of her closest friends and confidants when Sir Timothy Colman passed away at age 91 in September 2021. The British businessman was married to Queen Elizabeth’s cousin Lady Mary Colman, who passed away in late 2020. Sir Timothy had been tied to the royal family for decades following his 1951 marriage to Lady Mary, which the Queen attended when she was known as Princess Elizabeth. Sir Timothy and Lady Mary both died just shy of their 70th anniversary.
In the 12 months preceding Sir Timothy’s death, the Queen lost three other close friends. Her long-time horse racing advisor Sir Michael Oswald died on the day of Prince Philip’s funeral — April 17, 2021 — at aged 86. In November 2020, she lost friend Lady Moyra Campbell, who was one of her Coronation Maids of Honor when she was crowned in 1953. Just days prior to Lady Moyra’s death, she received news that her cousin Lady Elizabeth Anson had passed away at age 79.
Although well-known for her stiff upper lip and “keep calm and carry on” attitude, it’s impossible to imagine that these unceasing tragedies didn’t affect her emotional and mental health. Mourning is a painful process that cannot be sped up, and it’s made even sharper when not given sufficient time to grieve one loss before enduring another.
Ten days ago, the Queen herself died. Today, she will be laid to rest, joining her friends and loved ones in what we can only hope is a peaceful post-life palace.