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

At her father’s funeral last Friday, she held her mother’s hand and bravely carried his coffin as a pallbearer despite being just 17 years old.

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

A close friend told the USA Online Post: “All the family are staying close to support each other through such a difficult time, especially the children who have been a constant support to Kate.”

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

Mr Draper died of cardiac arrest on January 3 – four years after a severe bout of Covid in 2020 left his health severely impaired.

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

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

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

She held her mother’s hand and courageously shouldered his coffin as a pallbearer at her father’s funeral last Friday 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 with her school friends, was a sturdy and brave figure at the funeral and in the weeks leading up to her father’s death.

She revealed the last words Darcey said to her dad were: ‘Dad if you can’t do it we’ll be fine. You let yourself go if you have to go, don’t worry about us, don’t worry about mommy.

“It will be all right because you live on through us.”

Shocked, Ms Reid, 53, said the story of Darcey’s strength through the devastating ordeal of losing her father was sure to “open up a mature conversation” about how we approach children about death.

Ms Garraway agreed, recalling her children’s adulthood when she told them their father had suffered a cardiac arrest.

She said: ‘The first thing Darcey said was, ‘How’s your mum?’ It took my breath away.

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

‘They have taken a caring role on board and I am so proud of them.

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

‘It’s great that they saw his perspective like that. 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' during 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’ during Mr Draper’s final months (pictured Kate, Billy, Derek and Darcey together in 2019)

The teenager, who is known to be popular with her school friends, was a solid and brave figure at the funeral and in the weeks leading up to her father's death

The teenager, who is known to be popular with her school friends, was a solid and brave figure at the funeral and in the weeks leading up to her father’s death

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

Mr Draper’s funeral was held in London’s Primrose Hill last Friday and was attended by the likes of Tony Blair and Keir Starmer as Elton John sang ‘sweet’ 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 British brand De La Creme.

Darcey was later seen carrying her father’s coffin and Ms Garraway said she did it to allay 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, ‘Can I carry the coffin, please?’

“I thought ‘Crikey, it’s a practical challenge, anyone who’s done it, it’s a heavy thing.’ But she said, ‘I want to do it’ and basically insisted on it and I thought it 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 are pictured together at the National Television Awards in 2022

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

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

He said: ‘It made everyone laugh but it also ended with her last words to her late father.

“I thought it was as mature as you read it, that she was basically whispering to him that he could stop worrying about taking care of you all.”

Before Mr Draper’s death, Ms Garraway took a long period of leave from the ITV show 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 seemed the ‘farthest’ from death before he died, having progressed to a ‘positive place’.

Doctors said he had just 24 hours to live, which stretched to more than a month when he passed in January, but said her heart broke for the children who had ‘heard it many times before’.