“It was right for him. It was so gentle,” added Sophie, 56, the wife of Philip’s youngest son, Prince Edward. “It was just like somebody took him by the hand and off he went. Very, very peaceful. And that’s all you want for somebody isn’t it?”
Philip, 99, died Friday at Windsor Castle and left what the 94-year-old Queen Elizabeth II described as “a huge void in her life,” said her son Prince Andrew, the third of the couple’s four children. “We’ve lost, almost, the grandfather of the nation.”
“I feel very sorry and supportive of my mother, who’s feeling it probably more than everybody else,” Andrew told journalists gathered Sunday outside the Royal Chapel of All Saints in Windsor, where he and his brother Prince Edward’s family attended church.
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Princess Anne, Philip’s only daughter, thanked the public for the “messages and memories of so many people whose lives (her father) also touched.”
“You know it’s going to happen but you are never really ready,” Anne, 70, said Sunday in a statement shared by the palace. “My father has been my teacher, my supporter and my critic, but mostly it is his example of a life well lived and service freely given that I most wanted to emulate. His ability to treat every person as an individual in their own right with their own skills comes through all the organisations with which he was involved. … We will miss him but he leaves a legacy which can inspire us all.”
Philip’s funeral will take place April 17 at Windsor Castle, where the prince lived out his final weeks with the queen. Only 30 people are allowed to attend the smaller service at St. George’s Chapel under current COVID-19 restrictions in England, but it will be broadcast live. The prince will be interred at the royal vault in the chapel, according to the palace.
His grandson Prince Harry, who lives in California since stepping away from royal duties last year, will attend the service along with other members of the royal family, palace officials have said. His wife, Duchess Meghan, is pregnant with their second child and has been advised by her doctor not to make the journey.
Philip’s death comes a month after the couple’s bombshell televised interview with Oprah Winfrey, in which they opened up about their reasons for stepping back from royal duties and moving to America in search of more independence and privacy.
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Royal family members said they appreciated the outpouring of good wishes from people across Britain and around the world to Philip, who was the queen’s consort and support through more than seven decades of marriage.
Palace and government officials have discouraged well-wishers from paying their respects in person amid the coronavirus pandemic. But hundreds of people on Sunday brought notes, cards and flowers to the gates of Windsor Castle, while others laid tributes outside Buckingham Palace.
Prince Edward, 57, said the “extraordinary” tributes meant a lot. “It just goes to show, he might have been our father, grandfather, father-in-law, but he meant so much to so many other people,” he said.
Andrew, 61, who has largely kept out of the public eye since 2019 amid controversy over his friendship with the late convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, also praised the “absolutely amazing tributes.”
Edward, called Philip’s death a “dreadful shock” on Sunday but added that his mother was “bearing up.”
Prince Charles, 72, said in a recorded video statement Saturday the royal family is “deeply grateful” for the outpouring of support they’ve received.
“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,″ Charles said. “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.”
Prince William and Duchess Kate, in addition to Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan, posted tributes to Philip on social media.
Contributing: Jill Lawless, The Associated Press, and Hannah Yasharoff, USA TODAY
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