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Prince Philip funeral: Nation ‘missing out’ on bigger service, say Windsor mourners

Chiara Giordano,Sam Hancock and Tom Richell
·4-min read
Small but growing crowd outside Windsor Castle for Prince Philip’s funeral on Saturday (AFP via Getty Images)
Small but growing crowd outside Windsor Castle for Prince Philip’s funeral on Saturday (AFP via Getty Images)

People gathering outside Windsor Castle on Saturday have paid tribute to Prince Phillip’s life ahead of his funeral, with proceedings due to begin within the hour.

While there is a large police presence, including armed officers, the majority of the public seems to have got the message to pay its respects from home amid the ongoing coronavirus restrictions.

Kaya Mar, a political satirist from London, was in Windsor with a portrait he painted of the Duke of Edinburgh. The 64-year-old told The Independent: “It’s a tribute to his life, I liked him very much. I’m not a royalist; as a person, I liked him.”

Mr Mar continued: “He was a very outspoken person, a very colourful person. He did a lot for this country. When something happened, the country turned to them for security.

“It took me an hour to paint it, to say thank you to his life.”

Read more:

Also speaking toThe Independent outside the castle were mother and daughter Lucinda, 27, and Julie Lohse, 62, said it was a “really sad” day but that it was “lovely to be a part of it”.

“It’s nice seeing everyone, you know, wanting to be a part of the day,” Lucinda said, while Julie explained she had only just moved to Windsor and so felt it was “quite an emotional day”.

Asked if they were fans of the royal family, the pair replied quickly “yes”, and went on to recount their favourite moment of the late duke. They picked the incident in which famously straight-talking Philip told a photographer to “just take the f****ing picture” at a Battle of Britain anniversary event.

Meanwhile, some people standing outside the ground’s gates expressed their sadness that original plans for the funeral could not proceed due to the pandemic.

“I think the country is missing out on something,” local resident Ian Mawhinney, 56, told the PA news agency.

“[But] I think the royal family are setting an example. Having a small event is not what they would have wanted but they will adapt and ... honour Philip in their own way.”

PA
PA

Philip’s funeral will take place at St George’s Chapel, in Windsor, and will be attended by just 30 close relatives, owing to Covid restrictions.

Many have commented on today’s sunny weather, with 56-year-old Kern Kelly telling The Independent it was “a great day to have” a funeral.

He said Philip’s death had given him the opportunity to learn more about the duke’s life than he previously knew: “I was watching some of the programmes about [Philip’s] life and he was very educated.”

“He had a heart of gold,” Mr Kelly added.

Another man, speaking to The Independent, described Philip’s death and “significant” funeral as “the end of an era”.

Patrick Robinson, 28, said: “It’s the end of ... a lot of stability and the bedrock of the continuous monarch and her partner. That’s come to an end, and I think it’s an emotional, significant day for the country.”

AP
AP

It’s not just the people of Britain who will be marking the duke’s life and death this afternoon, but the rest of the world will also be watching the historic occasion, with numerous camera crews from international media having lined the streets surrounding the castle since early this morning.

Austrian Roman Topler, 47, who was outside the castle on Saturday, described the duke as being “very important, not just to the UK”.

“Prince Philip was a very iconic person, a very distinctive person,” Mr Topler said. “He was a very important person, and not just to the UK but for Europe too.”

Mr Topler added that because countries like Austria do not have their own royal family, Philip and the monarchy he represented play an “important role” in non-British people’s lives too.

BBC News
BBC News

There was a small flurry of excitement shortly before 1pm as a small crowd gathered to watch as coaches pulled up outside a gate to the castle and men in military dress alighted one by one before walking past armed officers guarding the entrance and made their way inside.

Meanwhile, a steady stream of shoppers enjoying their first bit of Saturday retail therapy since non-essential shops reopened were seen wandering down the high street in curiosity, while a number of others have been milling about outside the castle since this morning.

So far, there have not been any signs of trouble with stewards and police mainly concerned with keeping the main high street clear of pedestrians. The Independent did not immediately see any incidents of officers trying to move anyone on or offer social distancing advice, either.

As crowds began to steadily grow, many gathered behind barricades on Castle Hill while the duke’s coffin was placed on his custom-made Land Rover hearse and began making its way from the castle to the chapel.

Princes William and Harry walked in the procession behind the coffin, along with all four of the Queen and Philip’s children, which culminated in a national minute’s silence led by Elizabeth.

Read More

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