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Sophie, Countess of Wessex has said Prince Philip's death has left 'giant-sized hole' in the lives of the royal family as she broke down in tears in an emotional interview.
The 55-year-old reflected on the loss of the Duke of Edinburgh, 99, amid a tumultuous year for the royal family.
In an interview with BBC Radio 5's Naga Munchetty, Sophie spoke about the difficulty of grieving in public and amid the pandemic following Philip's death.
"Well he's left a giant-sized hole in our lives," she said.
"Unfortunately the pandemic has slightly slewed things in as much as it's hard to spend as much time with the Queen than we would like to."
Sophie Countess of Wessex in the BBC Radio 5 interview
A tearful Sophie added: "The normal way of things isn't normal yet. So we're not necessarily doing the things that we would have normally done with him. So I think the whole grieving process is probably likely for us to take a lot longer."
She recognised other families will be going through the same.
"It's only when you do the normal things you would have done with them and you suddenly realise that they are not there, that you start to have an 'Oh my goodness' moment," the countess told the BBC.
The Countess of Wessex in a photo with Prince Philip
(Image: Getty Images)
Sophie has previously described the "shock" of Philip's death on April 9, which prompted an outpouring of grief from across the UK and abroad.
"It's such a shock but at the same time you know it's going to happen, but when it happens it's just this massive, massive hole," she had said.
Earlier this month, the countess told The Telegraph Magazine the royals are "still a family no matter what happens" following tensions earlier this year in the aftermath of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey.
The Countess of Wessex after the death of Prince Philip
(Image: Getty Images)
In an interview with BBC Radio 5's Naga Munchetty, Sophie also discussed the ongoing prevalence of rape and sexual violence as weapons of war in global conflicts as well as the importance of raising awareness of the cause and supporting its survivors.
The countess publicly committed herself to supporting the UK's work helping victims of rape, sexual violence and exploitation in war on International Women's Day in 2019.
In an address at a virtual UN event for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict in June 2020, Sophie said sexual violence in the home or during conflicts is likely to have "risen substantially" during the pandemic.
She reaffirmed her commitment to champion the Women, Peace and Security agenda and the UK's Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative in her BBC interview, recorded at St James's Palace earlier this week ahead of the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict on June 19.