Prince Philip & Grieving Someone You Didn't Know

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Cruse Bereavement Care, 09 April 2021

Photo credit: Micheal Garnett

Prince Philip and Grieving Someone You Didn't Know


Today, Prince Philip, husband and consort to the Queen of England sadly died. Whenever someone in the public eye dies, there can be a lot of media coverage that can provoke different reactions in different people. Sometimes people are shocked by how upset they can feel when someone well-known dies, and even that they should not be grieving.

We can feel like we know the people we see regularly on our TV screens, on our phones and in the newspapers. It’s normal to feel a sense of grief for them. This is because the death of someone well-known can trigger feelings of your own bereavements, particularly around those who you may see in a similar eye to the person that has died.

You don’t have to have known Prince Philip personally to be affected by his death. It is normal for public deaths to bring up feelings of your own bereavements and you can feel that grief more acutely. It can also bring up a great deal of fear for those you love. This is also really normal.

Someone like Prince Philip, who lived a long life in the public eye, can also feel like they were part of a landscape that won’t change. When a person like this dies, this can challenge our assumptions about the world. This can make us feel vulnerable ourselves – particularly at the moment as we read about so many people dying of coronavirus. 

Supporting others

Grief is individual, and everyone will react differently to moments like this. It is absolutely vital that people take time for themselves, gather their thoughts and work out what they need in order to digest this news. If you think a friend or a family member may be affected by Prince Philip’s death one of the most helpful things you can do is to listen to them and offer comfort, even if you are surprised by the intensity of their reaction. This may need to be done over the phone or the internet at the moment. It can be a difficult conversation to start, but it is really important that they know you are thinking about them. You can’t ‘fix’ their grief, but you can be there for them through their grief, and listening is one of the kindest things you can do. 

We are here if you are affected by this news. We have our helpline, Cruse chat and our social media pages should you need to talk to someone today.

Our statement on the death of Prince Philip

“On behalf of the trustees, staff and volunteers at Cruse, I would like to say how sad we are to hear about the death of the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip. Our thoughts go out to our Royal Patron, Her Majesty the Queen, the Royal Family and the nation at this difficult time.

“The times we are currently experiencing are not only uncertain, they are unprecedented. When someone well-known dies, it can be hugely distressing. You don’t have to know someone personally to be affected by their death. It’s normal to feel a sense of grief for them. It is also normal for their death to bring up feelings of your own bereavements and you can feel that grief more acutely. Grief is individual, and everyone will react differently to historic moments like this.

“It is now more important than ever to reach out for help, whether that’s to loved ones, or to an organisation like Cruse. You are not alone, and we are here to listen. Our National Helpline (0808 808 1677) is open today until 5pm for anyone who is struggling.” Steven Wibberley, CEO

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