Queen Elizabeth is forging a fresh path as a widow. On April 9, 2021, Prince Philip, her husband of more than 70 years, died. For the first time, she will have to reign alone. However, it seems as if she is starting this brand new chapter on her own terms.

The queen once described 1992 as “annus horribilis” — which means horrible year in Latin — per the royal website. According to The Washington Post, “It was a year that three royal marriages collapsed, a fire destroyed more than a hundred rooms in Windsor Castle and a toe-sucking scandal involving Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, rocked Britain and the monarchy.” A decade later, she lost her mother and sister in one year, per Express. 

In March 2021, her grandson’s bombshell interview with his wife and Oprah Winfrey shocked the world. A month later, she buried her beloved spouse as the world watched her say her last goodbye. Elizabeth may never use the Latin phrase again, as the tragic events seem to keep escalating. Now, the monarch seems to have taken a page out of Philip’s book, and might be taking on the future with less fanfare and fuss. For one, she returned to her royal duties four days after her husbands death instead of taking the customary eight-day mourning period, per E! News.

And according to Harper’s Bazaar, the queen is having a scaled-down 95th birthday celebration with some close family members on April 21, 2021. There will be no gun salutes, no Trooping the Color, and the queen won’t be releasing a birthday portrait. However, the queen is also breaking with tradition in another surprising move.  

Queen Elizabeth forges a new future

Following Prince Philip’s death, Queen Elizabeth has set herself apart from other royals by breaking with one long-held tradition. She will not be using black-edged stationery during the official mourning period, per Express (via The Times). Instead, her personal stationery will now have her crest in black instead of the traditional red, as an acknowledgment of Prince Philip’s death. 

Surprisingly, her take on the custom is more modern than other members of the royal family. People revealed that other royalty are still adhering to the royal customs and are using stationery with a thick black border to signal that they are in mourning. Clarence House, the office of the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall, and Kensington Palace, the home of Prince William and Kate Middleton, are adhering to the tradition of the black-edged correspondence.

The queen, with these thoughtful changes, might be endearing herself to the public at large. By showing that the monarchy is an ever-changing, modern institution, she remains relevant and real. As she begins her life without her beloved spouse, she already has Twitter in tears and the rest of the world rooting for her.

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