The Queen Reveals One of her Favourite Images with Prince Philip Relaxing Together in the Scottish Highlands Just Hours Before she Says a Final Farewell to her Husband of 73 Years

The royal couple are photographed as they are rarely seen – relaxing together away from public duties and enjoying the stunning scenery of the Scottish Highlands

The Queen will say a private farewell to Prince Philip before his coffin leaves Windsor Castle for today’s funeral. The monarch, 94, will take a moment to reflect at the duke’s side ahead of his final journey to St George’s Chapel.

Sources say she has been the ‘epitome of dignity’ this week as she deals with the loss of her husband of 73 years, and has insisted on personally signing off final preparations for the 3pm service.

Buckingham Palace has shared a touching unseen picture of the Queen with her husband, who died peacefully at the castle on Friday last week at 99.

It shows the couple at one of their ‘happy places’ – the Coyles of Muick hills close to Balmoral, where they enjoyed walking and picnics throughout their long lives together. The Queen so loves the place that she named her new corgi puppy after it.

The photograph – taken by their daughter-in-law the Countess of Wessex in 2003 during one of their family summer holidays – was specially chosen by Her Majesty to share ahead of today’s funeral.

The couple look blissfully happy and relaxed as they sit back in the heather, the Queen in her off duty Scottish dress of a woollen twinset, pearls and a tartan skirt, with Philip in country casuals and a sun hat resting on his knee.

The duke’s coffin, draped in his personal standard and bearing his naval cap, sword and a wreath of flowers, will first be seen at 2.41pm today when it emerges from the State Entrance to Windsor Castle carried by a bearer party from The Queen’s Company, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards.

It will then be placed on the Land Rover hearse that Philip personally designed for the occasion for the eight-minute journey to the chapel, followed by a procession of nine family members.

The service will begin with a minute’s national silence, as Philip’s coffin rests on the West Steps of the chapel to remember the man the monarch described as her ‘strength and stay’. In other developments:

  • No planes will land or take off at nearby Heathrow for six minutes to coincide with the minute’s silence;
  • Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby will praise Philip’s ‘life of service to the nation and Commonwealth’ at the service;
  • The Order of Service, released by the Palace last night, reflects Philip’s naval roots, including the seafarers’ hymn Eternal Father, Strong To Save;
  • The Earl and Countess of Wessex, with their daughter Lady Louise, appeared touched by tributes left in memory of the duke when they viewed cards and flowers at Windsor Castle.

The Queen was seen yesterday walking her puppies Muick and Fergus, a dorgi, in the gardens at Frogmore, where her grandson Prince Harry has been quarantining after flying in from the US, leading to speculation she may have greeted him from a distance.

She is said to have been ‘stoical’ about her husband’s death, and has been personally involved in the funeral preparations, including the order that senior royals wear morning dress instead of uniforms to stop tensions over what Andrew and Harry should wear.

She even found time yesterday to talk to governor general of Australia David Hurley and Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau, both of whom expressed their condolences.

Today’s funeral service will be for just 30 mourners – the maximum under Covid restrictions. Boris Johnson, who gave up his place, left a wreath for the duke outside St George’s Chapel yesterday saying the nation owes ‘more than words can say’.

All those at the socially distanced service will wear masks, including the Queen. The congregation will not be able to sing and the hymns performed by a small choir of four.

The Queen will follow her husband’s coffin on his Land Rover hearse down from the castle to the chapel in her State Bentley. The Dean of Windsor, the Right Reverend David Conner, who will lead the service, will say of the duke: ‘We have been inspired by his unwavering loyalty to our Queen, by his service to the nation and the Commonwealth, by his courage, fortitude and faith.’

The Archbishop of Canterbury, who will pronounce the Blessing today, said it was important for people to understand the Queen was facing the day with ‘extraordinary dignity and courage’, while saying goodbye to the most important person in her life.

He added that he hoped the nation prayed for her and ‘hope for her to find strength in what must be an anguished moment’.

Meanwhile, the Queen has been forced to ask her family not to military uniforms to save Harry’s blushes.

Prince Andrew asked to dress as an admiral, has stuck with royal protocol and kept Peter Phillips, her eldest grandchild, at the centre of the procession between the warring brothers.

He is being seen by royal experts as a ‘mediator’ on the day, having supported them when their mother Diana died in 1997.

Keeping Harry and William apart will be seen by some as a missed opportunity to show family unity in the wake of Prince Philip’s death.

Others questioned whether the princes were being kept apart deliberately at their own request, but the Royal Family has refused to discuss it.

A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: ‘This is a funeral [and] we will not be drawn into those perceptions of drama. The arrangements have been agreed and reflect Her Majesty’s wishes.’

Today royal biographer Hugo Vickers claimed that Peter Phillips, Philip’s eldest grandson, has been deliberately chosen to help his two younger cousins find a way forward with their relationship, which has become badly strained in the past year.

He said: ‘Peter Philips was incredibly good with the boys when Diana died, so I think it will be very good for them.

‘Sometimes I think that when people behave very well in public, which I think they will do, they find it easier to behave better in private. Prince Philip and the Queen were conciliators all their life so I’m sure that is what he would have wanted’.

Her Majesty’s youngest son Edward, his wife Sophie and their 17-year-old daughter Lady Louise nodded to well-wishers as they drove through the gates of Windsor Castle this afternoon.

The family then stopped to inspect bouquets, notes, cards and balloons left by well-wishers mourning the death of the Queen’s husband a week ago now moved to outside St George’s Chapel.

Sophie, while looking over handwritten letters from children, could be heard saying ‘how sweet’, before speaking to her husband about the huge amount of flowers.

They walked around for about fifteen minutes before leaving.

Among them were wreaths bearing messages from Boris Johnson, Nicola Sturgeon and the Royal Navy. The couple appeared touched by the tributes.

Edward inspected the tributes 24 hours after his eldest brother Charles shed tears as he did the same at Marlborough House – the home of the Commonwealth – in central London, where floral tributes laid at the gates of Buckingham Palace are brought each evening.

A wreath from Boris Johnson has paid tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh, saying the nation owes him ‘more than words can say’.

The Prime Minister’s written message, laid outside St George’s Chapel in the grounds of Windsor Castle, read: ‘In grateful memory of a man to whom the nation owes more than words can say. Sent on behalf of the nation. From the Prime Minister’.

A wreath from Nicola Sturgeon read: ‘With deepest sympathy from the First Minister of Scotland and the Scottish Government.’

The Royal Navy’s tribute read: ‘In gratitude for an exceptional life of service from all ranks of the Royal Navy. Fair winds and following seas.’

It came as details of Philip’s royal ceremonial funeral, which will take place at 3pm tomorrow, were publicly released.

These included:

  • The Queen will wear a mask, sit socially-distanced from her family and follow the coffin of her husband of 73 years in the state Bentley;
  • The 30-strong congregation comprises of all of Philip’s children and grandchildren, their spouses and close relatives including Princess Margaret’s son the Earl of Snowdon;
  • The only non-family member of the group is his close friend and carriage driving companion Countess Mountbatten of Burma, Penny Knatchbull;
  • Other royals including the Duchess of Kent have not been invited after Covid rules meant a 1,000-name list was whittled down;
  • The Land Rover hearse specially designed by the duke to carry his coffin was unveiled.

William and Harry, 36, were last seen in public together at a Commonwealth Day service in March last year where they could barely look each other in the eye following Harry and Meghan’s acrimonious split from the Royal Family.

Relations were further soured by the couple’s explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey last month, in which they attacked senior royals while Philip, who died on Friday aged 99, lay in hospital.

It had been quietly hoped that the loss of their beloved grandfather, who both men loved deeply, might start the process of rapprochement.

Tomorrow is likely to be particularly difficult for the brothers as it will evoke memories of having to walk behind their mother’s coffin when they were just 15 and 13.

In Windsor today, security was stepped as the castle town went into final preparations for tomorrow’s funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh.

Dozens of security officials were stationed alongside police armed with machine guns as appeals were made for the public to stay away.

Those that did attend to place flowers on the gates of Windsor Castle were asked to remove all the wrappings and told that their tributes would be taken away at the end of the day.

Thousands flocked to pay their respects and among them was Professor Chris Imafidon who met Phillip in 2003 when the Royal visited Queen Mary University in East London.

Wearing the Duke’s image on his face mask, the message imprinted on it said: ‘His energy his enthusiasm and his commitment to the British people is now going to be lacking.

‘I don’t know who can step into that position I don’t think that anyone can replace him.’

He added: ‘I was nervous about meeting him but he made me feel so relaxed straight away.

‘I told him I was nervous because I was a foreigner and he was a member of the British Royal family. But he said to me ‘I am Greek, I’m a foreigner and I’m a refugee too!’

‘I have come to pay my respects because he was such a wonderful person. He was all about education, emancipation, empowerment and equality. He will be missed by many, many people.’

Dance teacher Carole Hellewell, 60, from Farnham, said: ‘I was here on Sunday and it was very busy. I’ve put some flowers down then.

‘I’ve come back with my husband David because our friends in Canada and America asked us to lay some tribute for them too. It’s a very, very sad time and I think Prince Phillip’s death will be felt by millions all over the world.’

Publican Robert Gillespie, 62, who runs the Two Brewers Pub next to the castle, has decorated his establishment in red white and blue flowers to mark the princes death.

He said: ‘I used to see him when he would drive his horse and carriage down here from the Royal Mees towards the Long Walk and he would always give me a wave.

‘I’ll be closing the pub tomorrow or the day of his funeral also to pay respects to him.’

On the castle entrance facing the Long Walk, lines of flowers had been placed.

One message said: ‘To a brilliant and lovely Queen. We are sorry that your beloved husband has died. We hope you are well. Keep smiling.’

Another message read: ‘We hope you find comfort in all the wonderful memories you’ll have of all your times together. And you can continue to smile as he would want you to.’

William and Harry will be among nine family members who will walk behind Philip’s coffin, leaving the Sovereign’s entrance at Windsor Castle at 2.45pm.

William, 38, and Harry will walk in the third row of mourners, with their cousin Peter Phillips in between them, behind the Queen’s four children.

The procession will be led by the Prince of Wales and his sister, Princess Anne, followed by Prince Edward and Prince Andrew.

Behind William and Harry will be Princess Anne’s husband, Tim Laurence, and Philip’s nephew, the Earl of Snowdon, with staff bringing up the rear.

A palace spokesman said the Queen had been forced to make ‘difficult’ decisions about who to include among the guests as a result of Covid restrictions.

But she did her best to honour her late husband’s wishes and include representatives of all sides of the family – and from every generation, apart from his great-grandchildren who are considered too young to attend.

‘The family have had to implement his wishes in the best way they can,’ he said.

He stressed that the decision for the two princes to move apart from Mr Phillips and go into the chapel separately was a ‘practical’ one, as they could not have walked three abreast through the door while social distancing.

Prince Philip had been involved in the planning for his funeral for at least two decades, but his wife had been forced to change it to a pared back event due to Covid.

More than 700 military personnel will be involved in ceremony, with his beloved Royal Marines carrying his coffin, which will bear his sword and cap.

Tomorrow service detachments recognising Philip’s special military relationships will be in position in the Windsor Castle Quadrangle, as he begins his final journey.

These include the: Royal Navy; Royal Marines; Band of the Royal Marines; Royal Fleet Auxiliary; The Queen’s Royal Hussars (The Queen’s Own and Royal Irish); Grenadier, Coldstream and Welsh Guards; The Highlanders, 4th Battalion; The Royal Regiment of Scotland; Royal Gurkha Rifles; The Rifles; REME; Intelligence Corps; Royal Air Force; Guidon, Colour and Truncheon Parties and several military bands.

The Quadrangle will also be lined by the Household Cavalry, The Foot Guards and the Band of the Grenadier Guards.

Before the funeral procession sets off, the Queen will have a moment of quiet reflection when her car draws up behind the coffin at the State Entrance to the castle and pauses for a moment.

The procession will then depart, following the Land Rover as it is driven to the west steps of St George’s Chapel. But the Queen will not be required to follow it all the way down.

Instead her car will stop at the Galilee porch at the chapel, where she will be greeted by the Dean of Windsor before taking her seat inside.

On the altar will be displayed some of the duke’s regalia personally chosen by Philip himself, which will include nods to his Danish and Greek heritage.

Buckingham Palace has refused to say what the royal family will do after the service. In normal circumstances there would be a wake, but coronavirus rules allow only outdoor gatherings of up to six people. The televised ceremonial aspects of the funeral will start at 2pm.

A Palace spokesman stressed the funeral will be a ‘family event’ said the Royal Family was ‘grateful’ and ‘touched’ for all the messages of condolence from around the world and at the way so many people had shared ‘fond memories’ of the duke.

Among the other guests are the Duchess of Cornwall, all of the duke’s grandchildren and their spouses, the children of the Queen’s sister Princess Margaret and three of Philip’s German relatives – Bernhard, the Hereditary Prince of Baden; Donatus, Prince and Landgrave of Hesse; and Prince Philipp of Hohenlohe-Langenburg.

Also invited is a close friend of the duke, Countess Mountbatten of Burma, previously known as Lady Romsey and later Lady Brabourne, who was Philip’s carriage driving partner and one of his closest friends.

While the Queen will be joined by her lady-in-waiting on her way to the service, she will sit by herself in the quire of the chapel, with all mourners following Covid-19 guidelines and remaining socially distanced. The lady-in-waiting will not sit in the quire and is not counted among the guest list of 30.

Leading the procession to the chapel will be the Band of the Grenadier Guards, followed by the Major General commanding the Household Division, service chiefs, the Duke of Edinburgh’s coffin borne on a custom-built Land Rover hearse, members of the royal family on foot, Philip’s household staff, and finally the Bentley carrying the Queen.

The Palace has not said which lady-in-waiting will accompany Her Majesty in the vehicle.

The Queen’s ladies-in-waiting, personally chosen by the monarch, have a variety of duties including attending to private and personal matters for the Queen and handling her correspondence.

They include her senior lady-in-waiting, Lady Susan Hussey, who was married to the late BBC chairman Marmaduke Hussey.

The Queen’s ladies-in-waiting have also been part of HMS Bubble – the name given to the reduced selection of around 20 staff attending to the Queen at Windsor during lockdown.

Some of the ladies-in-waiting have been with the Queen for more than 50 years and act as both friends and loyal assistants, and their discretion and support will be invaluable.

Details of Philip’s funeral were released by Buckingham Palace Thursday night and it has been confirmed the Queen – like all 30 guests invited to the service – will wear a facemask in the car and in the chapel.

The Queen will depart the Sovereign’s Entrance in the state Bentley accompanied by a lady-in-waiting at 2.44pm.

Prince Harry has spoken in the past about how he and William are on ‘different paths’ and have good and bad days in their relationship.

Their brotherly bond was put under further strain after the Sussexes’ interview with Oprah Winfrey where they accused a royal family member of racism, something William strongly denied.

Asked whether arrangements for the procession reflected the royal siblings’ relationship, a Buckingham Palace spokesman said: ‘This is a funeral, we’re not going to be drawn into those perceptions of drama, or anything like that, this is a funeral.

‘The arrangements have been agreed, and they represent Her Majesty’s wishes, so we’re not going to say anything more on that.’

The Buckingham Palace spokesman stressed the duke’s funeral will ‘at its heart’ be a ‘family event’.

He said: ‘We are following the Covid guidelines, there (is) a limit on who could be invited as a guest and Her Majesty wanted to ensure that all branches of the duke’s family were there, and had to make – I think fair to say – difficult decisions about who would be there.’

BBC broadcaster Huw Edwards will lead nearly six hours of coverage broadcast from Windsor across three programmes on Friday and Saturday, while ITV News’ funeral coverage on Saturday will be led by Tom Brady and Julie Etchingham.

During the funeral service, which will be conducted by the Dean of Windsor David Conner, the duke’s coffin will be lowered into the royal vault in front of the guests.

A senior palace official said: ‘The dean will give the commendation as the coffin is lowered into the royal vault, Garter Principal King of Arms will then proclaim His Royal Highness’ styles and titles from the sanctuary.’

The Duke’s project to custom build his own Land Rover hearse spanned 16 years, with Philip requesting a repaint in military green and designing the open top rear and special ‘stops’ to secure his coffin in place.

Philip’s modified Land Rover Defender TD5 130 chassis cab vehicle has been unveiled for the first time, two days before his final farewell in St George’s Chapel.

The duke, who died aged 99 on Friday, made the final adjustments in 2019, the year he turned 98.

He first began the long-lasting venture to create his own bespoke hearse in collaboration with Land Rover in 2003, the year he turned 82.

The polished sturdy, utilitarian vehicle, with its heavy duty wheels and angular structure, stands as a showcase for the duke’s practical nature, and his passion for functional design and engineering.

The Defender was made at Land Rover’s factory in Solihull in 2003 and Philip oversaw the modifications throughout the intervening years.

The duke, who served with distinction in the Second World War and held special associations with all the Armed Forces, requested the original Belize Green bodywork be switched to Dark Bronze Green, a colour used for many military Land Rovers.

He also designed the open top rear section where his coffin will rest, made to his exact specifications, including the rubber grips on silver metal pins known as the ‘stops’ or ‘stoppers’ which perform the crucial task of preventing the coffin from moving.

Details on the vehicle include matching green hubs, a black front grille, a single cab and no registration plates.

Eighteen years after the duke began the Land Rover project, the vehicle will finally be used for its intended function on Saturday.

The vehicle will ferry Philip’s coffin in a slow procession from the state entrance of Windsor Castle through the grounds to the west steps of St George’s Chapel, followed by the Prince of Wales and other members of the royal family on foot.

Land Rover has maintained the vehicle since it was built and has prepared it for the funeral in collaboration with the Royal Household.

Jaguar Land Rover’s chief executive Thierry Bollore hailed Philip’s ‘impressive knowledge and deep interest in vehicle design, engineering and manufacturing’.

He said: ‘We are deeply privileged to have enjoyed a very long and happy association with the Duke of Edinburgh over many decades.

‘We are also honoured that the Land Rover which the duke designed will be used at the funeral on Saturday. The duke was a tremendous champion for design, engineering and technology.

‘During his visits to our sites he engaged with hundreds of employees and demonstrated his impressive knowledge and deep interest in vehicle design, engineering and manufacturing.

‘The duke was a truly remarkable man and will be greatly missed.’

Prince Philip used Land Rovers throughout his adult life and granted his Royal Warrant to Land Rover over 40 years ago.

He visited Jaguar Land Rover’s manufacturing facilities on numerous occasions over the decades and accompanied the Queen when she opened Jaguar Land Rover’s new Engine Manufacturing Centre in Wolverhampton in 2014.

The Land Rover’s original role would also have been to transport the duke 22 miles from Wellington Arch in central London to Windsor, but the coronavirus pandemic curtailed the long-held plans for military parades in honour of Philip through the streets of both the capital and the Berkshire town.

It will be flanked by pall bearers reflecting the duke’s special relationships with the military, the Royal Marines, Regiments, Corps and Air Stations.

Palace officials have told how the duke’s interest in design sparked his desire to make the Land Rover and include it in his funeral plans, codenamed Operation Forth Bridge.

Two Land Rovers were made for ‘belt and braces’ in case a backup was needed.

In 2019, the duke, then 97, was driving a Land Rover Freelander when he was involved in a serious car crash involving a mother and a baby.

The car Philip was driving was hit by another vehicle when he pulled out of a driveway on the Sandringham estate in Norfolk on to a busy A road, after being dazzled by the low sun.

The duke’s car flipped over and he was trapped, and had to be rescued through the sunroof by a passing motorist. He was miraculously unscathed.

The baby was unhurt, but both women in the other vehicle had to be treated in hospital, and one broke her wrist.

Three weeks after the crash, Buckingham Palace said Philip’s driving days on public roads were finally over and he had voluntarily surrendered his driving licence. The CPS later confirmed Philip would face no action over the crash.

Also today it was revealed how the Duke of Edinburgh personally selected the regalia that will be on the altar for his funeral.

Philip’s chosen insignia, the medals and decorations conferred on him by the UK and Commonwealth countries – together with his Royal Air Force wings and Field Marshal’s baton, will be pre-positioned on nine cushions on the altar in St George’s Chapel.

The duke also included insignia from Denmark and Greece – Order of the Elephant and Order of the Redeemer respectively – in a nod to his birth heritage as a Prince of Greece and Denmark.

Insignia, orders, decorations and medals are a way of a country saying thank you and recognising someone’s achievements.

Stephen Segrave, Secretary of the Central Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood, said: ‘There will be nine cushions with insignia placed on pre-positioned around the altar at St George’s Chapel in Windsor.

‘They represent British and Commonwealth orders and decorations, and the final cushion with orders from Greece and Denmark, for obvious reasons.

‘The Duke of Edinburgh had, I think, 61 decorations and awards from 53 different other countries, and there simply just wasn’t the space to have them all on display at the funeral.’

Asked how it was decided what would go on display, Mr Segrave said: ‘I think if you have to draw the line somewhere, the line was drawn at Commonwealth orders and decorations, and those two countries that are appropriate to the Duke of Edinburgh.

‘And he certainly had a hand in planning his arrangements, so he would have made the decision himself.’

Mr Segrave said the chosen insignia would have ‘absolutely’ meant a great deal to Philip.

The plans for Philip’s funeral – codenamed Forth Bridge – have been in place for many years, and were updated and reviewed regularly by Buckingham Palace staff in consultation with the Queen and the duke.

The insignia are sewn in place on the cushions with fishing wire as it is see-through and therefore tends not to show up in the way coloured thread would.

The regalia was sewn on to the cushions at St James’s Palace by two seamstresses, including Diane Hatcher from Cleave Court Jewellers, earlier this week.

Among the chosen pieces are the Order of the Garter which consists of a collar made out of 22 carat gold, a badge with Saint George slaying the dragon known as the greater George, a sash with a badge called the lesser George, a breast star with the motto of the order, ‘Honi soit qui mal y pense’, which translates as ‘Evil to him who evil thinks’, and the garter itself.

Others include the Royal Victorian Order collar and badge, British Empire collar and Grand Masters badge, Royal Victorian Chain and Order of Merit.

The Order of Merit is restricted to 24 members and is awarded in recognition of outstanding service in the Armed Forces, science, literature, art and the promotion of culture.

One particular cushion has the Field Marshal’s baton – the most senior appointment in the British Army – next to Philip’s RAF wings.

A qualified pilot, the duke gained his RAF wings in 1953, helicopter wings in 1956 and private pilot’s licence in 1959.

Insignia on display from across the Commonwealth will include the Order of Australian Knight, Order of New Zealand, Order of Canada, Canada Order of Military Merit, Papua New Guinea Order of Logohu, Zanzibar Brilliant Star of Zanzibar, Brunei Esteemed Family Order, and Singapore Order of Darjah Utama Temasek.

In Windsor today, crowds gathered to watch as members of the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery rode to Windsor Castle in preparation for the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral.

Dozens of riders carrying three guns rode along the Long Walk up to Cambridge Gate where tributes to Philip have been laid throughout the week.

Members of the regiment will fire minute guns from the east lawn of Windsor Castle on Saturday as the duke’s coffin is taken from the castle to St George’s Chapel.

The guns will fire for the duration of the procession, and the Curfew Tower Bell will toll.

Scores of people, some sitting with picnic lunches, watched as the riders passed by this afternoon. The riders began at Combermere Barracks and entered the Long Walk from Albert Road.

The role of King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery includes firing royal salutes at other grand occasions of state, including royal births and birthdays.

Also today, the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall made their first joint public appearance since the death of the Duke of Edinburgh to see flowers left in his memory.

Charles and Camilla made an emotional visit to Marlborough House – the home of the Commonwealth – in central London, where floral tributes laid at the gates of Buckingham Palace are brought each evening.

The heir to the throne and his wife were pictured stopping to look at the bouquets of flowers left by those wanting to honour the duke.

Items left in tribute include a model of a Land Rover similar to the one that will bear Philip’s coffin on Saturday, with the words ‘The Duke R.I.P’ on the roof.

Next to it, a card from ‘Marian & Marum’ read: ‘Your memory will never fade. Rest in Peace.’

Another read: ‘Words cannot even begin to express our sorrow. You are in our prayers.’

One card said: ‘HRH A True Gentleman. Thank you for your devoted service to our country. We shall miss you.’

Some notes were written for the Queen: ‘Sending our love and condolences on the loss of your beloved Prince Philip, yours always, love Layla, Lis and Neil xxxx.’

One card quoted the monarch’s famous comment about her husband: ‘We are so sorry for your profound loss, Your Majesty’s ‘strength and stay’ will endure in our hearts always.’

Meanwhile, the Earl of Wessex thanked holders and participants of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, and the International Award, for sharing their memories of his father and their experiences of the scheme.

Edward said: ‘He may have departed this world, but his spirit and ethos lives on through his award, through each and every life touched, transformed, inspired; then, now and in the future.’

In a tribute at the weekend, Charles described his late father as a ‘very special person’ and praised him for giving ‘the most remarkable, devoted service to the Queen, to my family and to the country’ for the last 70 years.

The public had been asked not to lay flowers to prevent any possible breach of Covid guidelines and instead were asked to consider a donation to a charity they support or one that Philip represented, but many have still decided to leave bouquets.

To avoid them becoming a spectacle that might attract a crowd, the tributes have been gathered up and brought to Marlborough House, the headquarters of the Commonwealth and the seat of its Secretariat, just off The Mall.

It was a fitting place for the flowers to be kept given Philip’s long association with the ‘family of nations’.

During his many years of public duty and service he undertook more than 220 solo visits to Commonwealth countries between 1949 and 2016, with many more alongside the Queen.

Meanwhile the Earl of Wessex thanked holders and participants of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, and the International Award, for sharing their memories of his father and their experiences of the award.

He said: ‘Reading just some of the wonderful memories you have shared about your experiences of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and, in some cases, of meeting my father, has been truly uplifting.

‘I think I may have said once that he was a man that once met, never forgotten. He had a unique ability to make a lasting impression in a remarkably short time.

‘I, like all my family, have a lifetime of lasting impressions, inspiration, shared passions and love. He may have departed this world, but his spirit and ethos lives on through his award, through each and every life touched, transformed, inspired; then, now and in the future.

‘Thank you one and all for helping to create such an extraordinary tribute.’

Boris Johnson also paid tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh’s ‘amazingly distinguished’ career in the navy during a visit to the college where he was a cadet.

The Prime Minister said his thoughts were once more with the Queen while at the Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth, which is where the young royal couple met for the first time in 1939.

King George VI and Queen Elizabeth visited the naval college with their two daughters, when Philip, then 18, and the 13-year-old Elizabeth had their first publicised meeting.

In commemoration of the duke, Mr Johnson attended a passing out parade at the Devon college today, where he congratulated naval cadets as they became officers and spoke with them about their career ambitions.

The PM said: ‘I’m here at the Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth, which is the college from which the Duke of Edinburgh himself passed out, became an officer in 1940, before going on to have that amazingly distinguished naval career, the Battle of Cape Matapan, Sicily and then seeing the Japanese surrender in Tokyo Bay.

‘We’ve just seen those wonderful cadets become officers themselves and incarnating the finest traditions of the Royal Navy in the way that the duke did himself.

‘And actually, funnily enough, here in this very garden, I think in 1939, the Duke of Edinburgh met the then Princess Elizabeth for the very first time. So, our thoughts are with her again today.’

In May 1939, Philip, then aged 17, entered the college as a special entry naval cadet for training, following the footsteps of his paternal grandfather and uncles.

He was named best cadet on his course before beginning a career in the Royal Navy that saw him serve during the Second World War and reach the rank of commander.

During the Second World War, he served on several ships, firstly on HMS Ramillies, and saw active service against German, Italian and Japanese forces.

The Armed Forces are stepping up preparations for the duke’s funeral on Saturday which will feature servicemen and women from the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Army and RAF alongside top military brass.

One of the four Royal Marine buglers who will play ‘The Last Post’ at the service said it was an ‘honor and privilege’ to perform the role.

‘It’s incredibly important. We feel nervous,’ Sgt. Bugler Jamie Ritchie. ‘We feel the pressure, but we’re channelling that and we’re using that and we’re going to deliver an outstanding performance.

‘We’ve rehearsed, we’ve fine-tuned, and we’ve made sure that the last post itself will be ready and will make an incredibly poignant moment in the service,’ added Ritche, who will wear the medal he received personally from Prince Philip after serving in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile it also emerged today members of the Royal Family will now not wear military uniform at the funeral.

It is understood the Queen decided senior royals attending the service should be in civilian clothing.

The move means the Duke of Sussex will not have to face being one of the only close family members who is not in uniform at Saturday’s service.

Harry lost his honorary military titles after deciding to step down as a senior working royal.

Reports had also suggested the Duke of York, who spoke of his father as being ‘the grandfather of the nation,’ was considering wearing an admiral’s uniform.

Andrew stepped down from royal duties over his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein in 2019.

He was due to be promoted to Admiral in 2020 to mark his 60th birthday but this did not go ahead following the fallout from his disastrous Newsnight appearance.

The decision is a break with tradition for ceremonial royal funerals and will contrast with the strong military presence which will be on show to honour Philip, who served with distinction in the Second World War.

Protocol suggests Harry, who did two tours of Afghanistan, can only wear a suit with medals at royal functions.

As plans were finalised for the funeral, the royal family released a touching photo of the Queen and the duke surrounded by their great-grandchildren.

The previously unseen image shows the Queen and the duke sitting with the youngsters on a sofa during a family get-together and with the little ones appearing on best behaviour.

The Duchess of Cambridge captured the moment on her camera in 2018 when the Queen and Philip’s seven great-grandchildren were at Balmoral.

A number of other images showing the duke with members of the royal family – including his son the Prince of Wales – were posted on official royal Twitter accounts.

The Queen has continued to work as she grieves, carrying out an official engagement yesterday to formally welcome her new Lord Chamberlain to his post.

The official engagement was recorded in the Court Circular, a daily list of the events attended by the Queen and her family.

It said: ‘The Lord Parker of Minsmere had an audience of the Queen today, kissed hands upon his appointment as Lord Chamberlain and received from Her Majesty the Wand and Insignia of Office and the Badge of Chancellor of the Royal Victorian Order, when the Queen invested him with the Insignia of a Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order.’

Andrew Parker, Baron Parker of Minsmere, officially took up his new role on April 1, following the Earl Peel’s retirement after more than 14 years in the post.

The Earl Peel had overseen arrangements for the duke’s funeral, known as Operation Forth Bridge, before handing responsibility to his successor just over a week before Philip died peacefully at Windsor Castle.

Baron Parker served as director general of MI5 from April 2013 until last year and hosted a visit by the Queen to the intelligence agency.

The image of the Queen and the duke with the young members of the family is a snapshot of a typical day at her private Scottish home where she entertains family, friends and politicians during the summer.

Cradled in the arms of the Queen is Prince Louis, a rare image of the monarch holding one of her great-grandchildren.

The full line-up of royal children includes the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s children Prince George and Princess Charlotte either side of the Queen who holds their brother Louis.

Peter Phillips’ daughters Savannah and Isla are close to their great-grandfather and at the other end of the sofa are Zara and Mike Tindall’s children Lena, held by her cousin Isla, and his daughter Mia.

A black and white picture posted on Charles and Camilla’s official Twitter account, taken in 1966, shows Philip and Charles sitting on polo ponies with mallets and helmets in hand during a match.

The image was posted alongside a more modern image of the duke with his son and the duchess in the moments after William and Kate’s Westminster Abbey wedding.

William and Kate also shared memories of Philip and the Queen, posting an image taken at Balmoral in 2015 on their official Twitter account showing the couple with their children George and Charlotte.

Earlier yesterday, the Queen’s granddaughter Princess Eugenie paid a heartfelt tribute to her ‘dearest Grandpa’, pledging to look after ‘Granny’ the Queen for him.

The Princess Royal also reminisced fondly about learning to sail as a child with her father as she returned to public duties.

Anne visited the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes on the Isle of Wight where she met spoke fondly to club members of her ‘links’ and ‘early memories of sailing’ there.

Meanwhile Ross Kemp has said the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award will form part of its founder’s legacy as he called for donations to a fund aiming to help a million young people complete the scheme.

The actor is a supporter of the award, which is hoping to reach the target over the next five years with its Living Legacy Fund.

The money will help to establish new centres, train thousands more leaders and volunteers and provide targeted help to young people who need specialist support to complete their award, the DofE Award charity previously announced.

Former EastEnders star Kemp, 56, said: ‘The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is part of his legacy and I think it’s something he wholeheartedly supported because of his belief in young people.

‘It’s open to people from all walks of life, people who are marginalised, young offenders can get on the course, people in schools, people who are members of clubs and, as I say, it gives not only value to yourself but also helps you to understand the value of being part of a community.

‘Particularly coming out of lockdown you can’t underestimate that.’

Kemp said he has ‘witnessed first hand the difference it can make to a young person’s life’ and has handed out awards to participants.

‘It helps people’s self-belief, it gives people life skills, it helps them to deal with things that might be thrown at them in later life,’ he said.

He described Philip as ‘someone who had a lot of faith in young people’ and added the award helps people ‘connect with their community in a positive way’.

Kemp said there had been an ‘outpouring of support’ for Philip after his death, adding: ‘I think many people wouldn’t have thought that you would see that and I think that shows there’s such massive support for the royal family in this country still, from all walks of life and all areas.’

Other celebrities supporting the Living Legacy Fund include actor Hugh Jackman and actress Nina Wadia.

Some 6.7million young people across the UK have taken part in the scheme and achieved more than 3.1 million awards since 1956. The scheme sees participants complete tasks to help their community or environment, developing new skills and completing an expedition.

Donations can be made to the Living Legacy Fund at Alternatively cheques payable to the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award can be sent to Supporter Relations Manager, The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, 11 Belgrave Road, London, SW1V 1RB.

Also today, the Commandant General of the Royal Marines spoke of the ‘generous’ time the Duke of Edinburgh gave to the regiment.

Major General Matt Holmes said Philip had a ‘long and happy association’ with the Royal Marines, of which he held the ceremonial title of Captain General for 64 years until 2017.

Speaking to Times Radio, he said of the duke: ‘We were utterly privileged and honoured to enjoy his company on numerous occasions.

‘He gave his support to the corps and often visited us on operations at home during his time.

‘We had numerous encounters, and I think that was the beauty of his service with us. He was always generous with his time.’

Major General Holmes said the Royal Marines Band Service will perform at the funeral, which is taking place this Saturday at Windsor Castle.

Recounting memorable moments with the duke, he said: ‘From my recollection there were a number of formal events that he attended.

‘The one that really stands out is when he flew all the way to Exeter airport from London to meet one of my companies returning from Afghanistan.

‘He spent an hour on the ground. He hated fuss, so we would host him and he would go straight amongst the marines and talk to our valiant warriors.’

He said the duke would be interested in the modernisation of defence, adding: ‘Certainly I think he was interested, in particular, in innovation and technological developments.’

It has emerged members of the royal family will now not wear military uniform at the duke’s funeral.

The move means the Duke of Sussex will not have to face being one of the only close family members who is not in uniform at Saturday’s service.

Harry lost his honorary military titles – including Captain General of the Royal Marines, which he had taken from his grandfather in 2017 – after deciding to step down as a senior working royal last year.

SOURCE: Daily Mail, Rebecca English and James Gant