Out of the many photographs taken at Prince Philip's funeral on Saturday, one image tugged on the internet's heartstrings the hardest.
That image was of the grieving Queen Elizabeth II sitting alone inside St. George's Chapel ahead of the funeral procession, awaiting the arrival of the Duke of Edinburgh's coffin.
Even in grief, the Queen set an example and abided by health and safety protocols by wearing a mask and staying socially distant from other members of the Royal family as Philip—who died on April 9, just short of his 100th birthday—was laid to rest.
The pair first met in 1934, began to correspond via letter in 1939 and were engaged in July 1947.
On November 20, 1947 Elizabeth and Philip were married.
This has to be saddest picture on internet today #PrincePhilipfuneral https://t.co/f98vgB0w5J— MakaziKaManqindana (@MakaziKaManqindana)1618670850.0
The funeral service would have seen Windsor Castle's chapel packed with roughly 800 mourners paying their respects to the late Duke of Edinburgh.
But due to pandemic restrictions, only 30 people—including the Queen, her four children, and her eight grandchildren—were allowed inside.
The heartbreaking photo illustrated the heightened impact of those suffering from losing a loved one during the global pandemic—especially for the Queen, whose husband was by her side for over 73 years and whom she'd known for almost 90 years.
Former Good Morning Britain host, Piers Morgan, was among the first to share the image of the solitary Queen in mourning.
"Has there ever been a more heart-breaking picture of The Queen?"
"The cruel separation and loneliness suffered by so many in this pandemic, now endured by the world's most famous woman as she says goodbye to her husband of 73 years. Just devastating."
Has there ever been a more heart-breaking picture of The Queen? The cruel separation and loneliness suffered by so… https://t.co/FBl1GUn6Y3— Piers Morgan (@Piers Morgan)1618670850.0
Others expressed their sympathies.
Imagine not only bidding farewell to your partner of 70+yrs, but having to stand alone, and stoic throughout. Say w… https://t.co/Jcs2TZyVYo— Nan (@Nan)1618669444.0
Have whatever opinions you want about the Royal Family. This picture is so sad. A woman on her own saying goodbye t… https://t.co/mbaKqmrrFi— Nicola Ralph (@Nicola Ralph)1618670171.0
Seeing the Queen sat alone is a deeply upsetting sight - my heart goes out to her, but also to the many thousands o… https://t.co/lNqGrSFsFk— Eve (@Eve)1618668781.0
I don’t care who you are. Being sat alone for the funeral of your spouse of 70+ years is heartbreaking. Prayers of… https://t.co/21yowwgTGR— Sherry (@Sherry)1618669894.0
Whatever you think of the royal family this 94 year old lady has just had to say goodbye to her husband who she mar… https://t.co/ZlpNBnD4rc— Kat (@Kat)1618671471.0
@KCzartowski Seeing this picture really makes you realise how many people this past 12 months have had to say goodb… https://t.co/6hWNHYjSFs— Hull1970 (@Hull1970)1618672869.0
What an unbelievably sad image. Never would anyone have imagined The Queen would have had to say her final goodbye… https://t.co/pi3HJHgusd— Nick Gullon (@Nick Gullon)1618669069.0
The Queen sat alone, socially distanced, at her husband’s funeral is going to be an enduring image. When she said,… https://t.co/8p9qKA8gDw— Omid Djalili (@Omid Djalili)1618671748.0
Prince Charles, the heir to the throne, sat opposite the Queen alongside his wife, Camilla. Prince William and his wife Kate sat opposite of his brother Prince Harry—who flew in from California without his pregnant wife, Meghan.
According to Politico, there was no sermon at Philip's request. In keeping with the royal tradition, there were no eulogies.
However, the Dean of Windsor Chapel, David Connor, did say the country was enriched by Philip's "unwavering loyalty to our Queen, by his service to the nation and the Commonwealth, by his courage, fortitude, and faith."
To honor Prince Philip's nearly 14 years in the Royal Navy, Saturday's funeral service had elements of a maritime theme, including the British hymn "Eternal Father, Strong to Save"—which is traditionally associated with seafarers, particularly in the maritime armed services.
Connor led the prayer, saying:
"Grant unto him the assurance of thine ancient promise that thou wilt ever be with those who go down to the sea in ships and occupy their business in great waters."
Philip's children—Charles Prince of Wales, Ann Princess Royal, Andrew Duke of York and Edward Earl of Wessex—walked behind Philip's coffin carried by a Land Rover Defender hearse for the funeral procession around the precincts of the castle.
The people of Britain observed one minute of silence before Philip's funeral started. Mourners who stopped by in front of the castle to leave flowers heeded requests from the police and palace officials to not gather due to pandemic safety measures.