Britain’s Prince Charles paid a personal tribute Saturday to his “dear papa” Prince Philip, saying the royal family missed him enormously and that the 99-year-old would have been amazed at the touching reaction around the world to his death.
Philip, the husband of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth who had been at her side throughout her record-breaking 69-year reign, died at Windsor Castle on Friday.
“As you can imagine, my family and I miss my father enormously,” Charles, the couple’s eldest son and heir to the throne, said outside his Highgrove House home in west England.
“My dear papa was a very special person who I think above all else would have been amazed by the reaction and the touching things that have been said about him and from that point of view we are, my family, deeply grateful for all that. It will sustain us in this particular loss and at this particularly sad time.”
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Buckingham Palace announced that the funeral for Philip would be April 17, and that the queen’s grandson Prince Harry, who had become estranged from the family after moving to the United States with his wife Meghan, would attend.
Meghan, who is pregnant with their second child, will not attend on doctor’s advice, the palace said.
The palace said long-established plans for the funeral had to be redrawn and scaled down because of COVID-19 restrictions, but they remained very much in line with Philip’s wishes.
Philip, who was officially known as the Duke of Edinburgh, will be given a ceremonial royal funeral, not a state funeral, as planned before the pandemic. But there will be no public processions, and it will be held entirely within the grounds of Windsor Castle and limited to 30 mourners.
The funeral, which will be broadcast on live television, will be held at the castle’s St George’s Chapel and will be preceded by a minute’s silence across the country.
Charles and other members of the royal family will walk behind a specially modified Land Rover, which Philip helped design. At the conclusion of the service, Philip will be interred in the Royal Vault.
Exact details of who will attending were not released.
Buckingham Palace stressed the service would be held in line with government coronavirus guidelines, meaning members of the royal family, including the queen, would be expected to wear a mask.
‘Queen has been amazing’
Tributes have flooded in from across Britain and from world leaders for Philip, who was a pillar of strength for the queen. At 94, she is the world’s oldest and longest-reigning living monarch.
Philip was a decorated sailor who fought in World War II and the armed forces marked his passing with artillery salutes with units in London, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Belfast and Gibraltar, and some navy warships, firing their guns.
The royal family asked the public to heed social distancing rules and avoid visits to its residences, but people still laid cards and bouquets outside Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace.
“It’s not something I’ve ever done before,” said Joanna Reesby, 60, who came to pay her respects at Buckingham Palace. “I brought yellow roses for friendship because I think that’s what he exhibited to everyone who came into his world.”
The queen has lost her closest confidante. They had been married for 73 years and Philip would have turned 100 in June. Members of the family visited the grieving monarch at Windsor Castle.
“The queen has been amazing,” said a tearful Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, as she left with her husband Prince Edward, the youngest son of Elizabeth and Philip.
On its official Twitter feed, the royal family put up a tribute paid by the queen to her husband on their 50th wedding anniversary in 1997.
“He has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years, and I, and his whole family, and this and many other countries, owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim, or we shall ever know,” she said.
Flags at Buckingham Palace and at government buildings across Britain have been lowered to half-mast and billboard operators replaced advertisements with photographs and tributes to the prince. Sporting events observed silences in his honor.
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