Prince Charles opens up about 'empty seat at the table' after death of Philip

·4-min read

Watch: Prince Charles says his family has 'empty seat at table' after Prince Philip's death

Prince Charles has offered his sympathies to others who have lost family members during the last year as he sent a message to Muslims coming to the end of Ramadan.

Charles, 72, said he knew the impact of an empty seat at the dinner table following the death of his father, the Duke of Edinburgh.

Prince Philip died on 9 April at Windsor Castle, at the age of 99.

Charles, who has gradually been returning to public royal duties since the end of a period of mourning, said his heart went out to those who have lost friends and family members.

In a video message to the Naz Foundation, he said: "The last year I know has been deeply challenging for us all, and I am only too aware of the impact of the pandemic on the Muslim community.

"This year so many families, like my own, will have an empty seat at their dinner table and friends will no longer be able to share the celebratory hug after Eid prayers.

"I can only say how deeply saddened I am by this tragic situation and how my heart goes out to all those who have lost their loved ones."

The Muslim month of fasting, Ramadan, and subsequent celebration, Eid, has been impacted for two years in a row by coronavirus restrictions.

Britain's Prince Charles, Prince of Wales (2L) wearing a face covering, visit a temporary Covid-19 vaccination centre at Finsbury Park Mosque in east London on March 16, 2021. (Photo by Geoff Pugh / POOL / AFP) (Photo by GEOFF PUGH/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Prince Charles visiting a temporary COVID-19 vaccination centre at Finsbury Park Mosque in March. (AFP)

Read more: Queen avoids full robes in COVID hit scaled-back ceremony during the State Opening of Parliament

Charles's message was part of Monday's virtual Iftar, the name given to the meal each evening after sundown, when Muslims break the fast.

It was featured alongside messages from foreign secretary Dominic Raab, the Chief Rabbi, and the Bishop of London.

He also praised Muslims for their donations during Ramadan and the British Asian Trust's work with women's employment in Pakistan.

He said he hoped the vaccine rollout would mean he could meet with people face-to-face again soon, adding 'Inshallah', which means 'God willing'.

Charles closed by wishing Eid Mubarak from himself and his wife, Camilla.

On Tuesday, Charles accompanied his mother to the 2021 state opening of parliament, where she read the speech setting out the goals of the government for the next year.

The prince has been at his mother's side for many years at the event, though this year he was not able to sit directly next to her, as the consort's throne was removed, following the death of Prince Philip.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 11:  Queen Elizabeth II in the House of Lord's Chamber with Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall seated (R) during the State Opening of Parliament at the House of Lords on May 11, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
The Queen sat alone without the consort's throne as Charles and Camilla sat to one side at the state opening on Tuesday. (Getty Images)
Britain's Prince Charles, Prince of Wales gestures during his visit to meet members of the Welsh Guards at Combermere Barracks, in Windsor, England on May 5, 2021. (Photo by PETER CZIBORRA / POOL / AFP) (Photo by PETER CZIBORRA/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Charles meeting members of the Welsh Guards at Combermere Barracks, in Windsor, in May 2021. (AFP)

Read more: Queen leaves Windsor for first time since Prince Philip's death to open Parliament

He is believed to have spent some time at his home in Wales after his father's funeral, but has been seen at engagements since then.

On 5 May, he visited 1st Battalion Welsh Guards who played a part in the funeral, telling them they "did him proud" at the occasion.

He said: “I was so enormously proud of those of you who formed part of the complement during my father’s funeral recently.

“If I may say so, what a wonderful credit not only to the Welsh Guards but also the Household Division and all those who were on parade, for what you all did.

“I know my family and I were deeply moved by the way you all performed your duties. People from other countries rang me up to say that they had never seen anything quite so marvellous, so beautifully done and with such dignity and style.

“Of course it is something with which you are all rightly famed, but I know my father would have been also enormously touched because he had dreamt up this particular way he wanted it done.

“So you did him proud and you certainly did make your old colonel very proud indeed.”

Watch: Prince Charles arrives at State Opening of Parliament