The Queen and husband Prince Philip. (Courtesy)

The Queen and husband Prince Philip grew closer as they shielded together during the coronavirus pandemic and bickered like many old couples, a royal aide claims.

Except the 94-year-old monarch and the 99-year-old Duke of Edinburgh weren't just any old couple - and she let him know it.

On one occasion, Philip was overheard telling his wife of 73 years "Oh, do shut up, you silly woman", the unnamed palace aide claims.

The monarch allegedly said as she replied to the nation's longest-serving consort: "I am not a silly woman, I am the Queen."

The claim surfaced before Philip's funeral at Windsor Castle, where the couple and about 20 staff members, dubbed HMS Bubble, had been shielding during the Covid pandemic.

It is one of many private tales to emerge following the duke's death on April 9, two months before his 100th birthday.

In their unique relationship, only Philip put his arm around her, and they had been as close as they had been for years as they were brought together because of Covid, the Daily Mail reported.

The palace aide told how he was called in to wait on the couple because of staff shortages caused by the pandemic.

He told the newspaper: "They bickered with one another. It was sweet but so unexpected.

"On one occasion I heard the duke say, 'Oh, do shut up, you silly woman', and the Queen replied, 'I am not a silly woman, I am the Queen'.

"I couldn't believe my ears but I was told this was how they always were with one another."

The Queen and Philip relax in the Scottish Highlands on the Balmoral estate in 2003. (Courtesy)

A touching photograph of the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh giving a glimpse of their lives away from protocol and ceremony was released on the eve of Philip’s funeral.

The royal couple are pictured as they are rarely seen – relaxing together during a summer break and enjoying the stunning scenery of the Scottish Highlands on the Balmoral estate.

Looking completely at ease and smiling warmly at the photographer, Philip and the Queen relax on the grass at the Coyles of Muick, a beauty spot near the town of Ballater in Aberdeenshire.

The duke lies back on a rug, propping himself up on his left elbow and has jauntily placed his hat on his right knee.

Beaming at the Countess of Wessex – who took the picture in 2003 – the Queen, dressed in a tartan skirt, blouse and cardigan and a string of pearls, also sits on a rug.

Just 30 people will attend Philip's funeral, instead of 800 as originally planned, due to England's Covid lockdown rules.

The public has been asked to stay away from royal residences on Saturday.

Instead of laying flowers or gathering at places such as Windsor Castle or Buckingham Palace in central London, mourners are asked to sign an online book of condolence or make a donation to charity.