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How Kate Garraway’s daughter Darcey, 17, has remained a ‘constant pillar of strength’ to her mother as the family grieve the loss of her husband Derek Draper

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She held her mother’s hand throughout her father’s funeral last Friday and courageously shouldered his coffin as a pallbearer despite being just 17 years old.

And now it can be revealed that Darcey Draper has remained a ‘constant pillar of strength’ for her mother Kate Garraway, 56, throughout Derek Draper’s fatal four-year battle with Covid.

A close friend told the Daily Mail: ‘All of the family are staying close to support one another through such a difficult time, especially the children who have been a constant huge pillar of strength for Kate.’

It comes after Ms Garraway’s tearful interview on Good Morning Britain today in her first television appearance since her husband died – just three days after his funeral on Friday.

Mr Draper passed away on January 3 from a cardiac arrest – four years after a serious bout of Covid in 2020 led his health to heavily deteriorate.

Darcey Draper has remained a 'constant pillar of strength' for her mother Kate Garraway , 56, throughout Derek Draper's fatal four-year battle with Covid (pictured at Derek Draper's funeral on Friday)

Darcey Draper has remained a ‘constant pillar of strength’ for her mother Kate Garraway , 56, throughout Derek Draper’s fatal four-year battle with Covid (pictured at Derek Draper’s funeral on Friday)

She held her mother's hand throughout her father's funeral last Friday and courageously shouldered his coffin as a pallbearer despite being just 17 years old (pictured)

She held her mother’s hand throughout her father’s funeral last Friday and courageously shouldered his coffin as a pallbearer despite being just 17 years old (pictured)

During the interview with her ITV co-stars, Susanna Reid and Richard Madeley, Ms Garraway praised her daughter’s ‘extraordinary bravery’ throughout Mr Draper’s final months.

The teenager, who is known to be popular among her school friends, was a solid and brave figure during the funeral and in the weeks before her father’s death.

She revealed the last words Darcey said to her father were, ‘Dad if you can’t do this we’ll be OK. You release yourself if you need to go, don’t worry about us, don’t worry about mum.

‘We’ll be fine because you live on through us.’

Shocked, Ms Reid, 53, said the story of Darcey’s strength throughout the devastating ordeal of losing her father is sure to ‘open a mature conversation’ about how we approach children about death.

Ms Garraway agreed and recalled her children’s maturity when she told them their father had suffered a cardiac arrest.

She said: ‘First thing Darcey said was, ‘How are you mum?’ It took my breath away.

I said, ‘That’s a lovely question, thank you for asking.’

‘They’ve taken on board a caring role and I’m so proud of them.

‘They didn’t want to pressure him to keep going for us – I don’t think he did.

‘It’s lovely that they saw his perspective in that way. I think it’s extraordinary.’

During the interview with her ITV co-stars, Susanna Reid and Richard Madeley , Ms Garraway praised her daughter's 'extraordinary bravery' throughout Mr Draper's final months (pictured Kate, Billy, Derek and Darcey together in 2019)

During the interview with her ITV co-stars, Susanna Reid and Richard Madeley , Ms Garraway praised her daughter’s ‘extraordinary bravery’ throughout Mr Draper’s final months (pictured Kate, Billy, Derek and Darcey together in 2019)

The teenager, who is known to be popular among her school friends, was a solid and brave figure during the funeral and in the weeks before her father's death

The teenager, who is known to be popular among her school friends, was a solid and brave figure during the funeral and in the weeks before her father’s death

But added: ‘We are just in the foothills of our grief’.

Mr Draper’s funeral was held last Friday in London’s Primrose Hill and was attended by the likes of Tony Blair and Keir Starmer while Elton John ‘sweetly’ sang Skyline Pigeon.

An emotional Ms Garraway wore a £349 black overcoat from Hobbs accompanied by her son Billy, 14, and Darcey who wore a similar £150 faux fur-trimmed coat from the British brand, De La Creme.

Later Darcey was seen carrying her father’s coffin and Ms Garraway said she had done it to quell her mother’s fears that the significance of the day would be lost behind her ITV profile.

She said: ‘It was her idea. I wanted the funeral to represent everything about him and not be about me.

‘Darcey came into the room while we were talking about it and said, ‘Please can I carry the coffin?’

‘I thought ‘Crikey, that’s a practical challenge, anybody who’s ever done it, it’s a heavy thing.’ But she said, ‘I want to do it’ and basically insisted and I thought that was a beautiful thing.’

It comes after Ms Garraway's tearful interview on Good Morning Britain today in her first television appearance since her husband died - just three days after his funeral on Friday

It comes after Ms Garraway’s tearful interview on Good Morning Britain today in her first television appearance since her husband died – just three days after his funeral on Friday

Darcey and Kate pictured together at the National Television Awards in 2022

Darcey and Kate pictured together at the National Television Awards in 2022

Richard Madeley, who attended the funeral, recalled in the interview how Ms Garraway had read out a eulogy written by Darcey, which was ‘beautiful and also very funny at times’.

He said: ‘It made everybody laugh but it also finished with what her final words to her late father.

‘I thought this was so mature as you read it out, that she basically whispered to him that he could stop worrying about taking care of you all.’

Before Mr Draper’s death, Ms Garraway took an extended period of leave from the ITV programme to be with her husband after he suffered a cardiac arrest in December which left him in a vegetative state.

She revealed it came as a ‘stop all the clocks’ moment because her late husband had seemed the ‘furthest’ from death before he died, after progressing into a ‘positive place’.

Doctors said that he only had 24 hours left to live, which extended to over a month with his passing in January, but said her heart broke for the children who had ‘heard it many times before’.

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