Even if many people believe in it, it is not necessarily true, say royal historians.
“There have been more tears for her than people realize or remember,” said Sally Bedell Smith, the celebrated American biographer of the Queen and other high-ranking kings.
Bedell Smith ticks off half a dozen times when the Queen burst into tears, and not just in 1997 when The beloved royal yacht, the Britannia, has been retired. she cried when she went to Aberfan, Wales1966 to meet survivors of a horrific avalanche of coal waste that killed 144 people, most of them children, says Bedell Smith. At her sister Princess Margaret’s funeral in 2002, people who were there and sitting near her told Bedell Smith that she was “very weepy” and “the saddest I’ve ever seen”.
Prince Philip’s funeral:Queen Elizabeth II sits alone, family says goodbye in St. George’s Chapel
“She shed tears, but it was timely, such as commemorating Memorial Sunday” for Britain’s war dead each November, adds longtime royal commentator Victoria Arbiter, who spent part of her childhood as the daughter of a former press secretary at Kensington Palace has spent to the queen.
But the widespread impression that the queen rarely shows emotion comes to the underlying role of the longest-reigning monarch in British history: after 69 years on her throne, she has had a lot of practice at hiding her feelings when necessary – and often is it also necessary.
Royal reunification: Prince William and Harry leave Prince Philip’s funeral shoulder to shoulder
The Queen withheld her undisputed mourning Saturday at the funeral of her 73-year-old husband, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, who died on April 9 at the age of 99. The 94-year-old monarch kept her composure as she stepped out of her Bentley and Bentley into St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, a tiny, hunched over figure in black wearing a matching face mask. She sat alone in the service with her head bowed, walking with the Dean of Windsor, who was officiating.
“I don’t think we can underestimate how significant a loss is for the queen – there is no denying that this will be the hardest day of her life,” says Arbiter.
Her family will see her grief up close, but those who saw the TV service didn’t. All 30 guests of the community wore masks in accordance with the pandemic rules. TV cameras respectfully stayed away from royal faces during the service, as is the custom.
The Queen’s second son, Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, who is believed to be her favorite, gave a clue about his mother’s behavior when he spoke to reporters two days after his father’s death.
“As you would expect, the Queen is an incredibly stoic person.” Andrew, 61, said. “She described (his death) as leaving a great void in her life, but we, the family, who are close together, gather to make sure we are there to support her.”
The definition of a stoic is a person who can endure pain or difficulty without showing their feelings or complaining. This is the queen of a T, says Bedell Smith.
“She’s a deeply emotional woman, but she works very hard to present a listless face,” says Bedell Smith. “It’s partly because of her role, partly because of her temperament and the way she was brought up.”
Why did Prince Philip’s Land Rover carry his coffin? The story behind the strange hearse
Then-Princess Elizabeth, as she was known until her rise in 1952, was deliberately trained not to show her feelings publicly, says Bedell Smith.
“If you see her at any number of (shows) or events, for convenience, she’s watching, but she doesn’t applaud,” says Bedell Smith. “The theory is that when she starts expressing reactions of any kind, it is seen as favoring one group over another. So she has perfected this neutral look.”
Sometimes she was criticized for having a “stony” face, for looking callous or loveless, says Arbiter. She’s damned if she shows emotion, damned if she doesn’t, so her safest option is not to react.
“The best way to avoid criticism is not to give anything away, but it takes a will of steel and years of practice,” says Arbiter.
Compared to her husband, who is more likely to express himself when upset or moved in any way, she needs to show neutrality. “The discipline! It’s so disciplined in every way,” says Bedell Smith.
As a member of the British generation of World War II, stoicism was a coping mechanism for everyone, not just the Queen, when so many people endured hardship, loss, grief, and devastation, says Arbiter.
“There’s a famous phrase the royals say: ‘Don’t wear private grief on a public sleeve,'” says Arbiter. “The family realizes that so many Brits have gone through hell in the past year and they will want to keep that perspective,” during the funeral.
Prince Philip has died:A look at the British royal tree spanning four generations
The family wants the ceremony to focus on the Duke, the longest-serving royal consort in British history, and years of service to the nation.
The Queen, who heads the Church of England, can say goodbye for good in an even more private and spiritual setting in her private chapel, where his coffin has rested since his death. There are no television cameras there.
“I think she will have gone to the private chapel alone with the coffin for a moment before the funeral,” says Arbiter. “This will be your intimate moment of goodbye, a quiet moment of reflection and belief.”
Then she put on her neutral face and mask, and led her family through another royal ceremony to be remembered as the centuries passed.