Prince Charles pays tribute to “my dear papa” Philip for his devoted service

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© Reuters. View of Buckingham Palace after the death of Prince Philip in London

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By Peter Nicholls and Michael Holden

WINDSOR, England (Reuters) – Britain’s Prince Charles personally paid tribute to his “dear papa” Prince Philip on Saturday, saying the royal family missed him dearly and the 99-year-old had been amazed at the touching response from around the world up to his death.

Philip, the husband of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth, who had been by her side during her record-breaking 69-year reign, died at Windsor Castle on Friday.

“As you can imagine, my family and I miss my father immensely,” said Charles, the couple’s eldest son and heir to the throne, outside his home at Highgrove House in western England.

“My dear papa was a very special person who I think would have been amazed especially by the reaction and touching things that were said about him, and from that point of view we, my family, are deeply grateful for all of that. It will support us in this particular loss and in this particularly sad time. ”

Buckingham Palace announced that Philip’s funeral would take place on April 17th 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 her second child, will not be present on medical advice, the palace said.

The palace said the long-standing funeral plans had to be redrawn and scaled down due to COVID-19 restrictions, but they largely met Philip’s wishes.

Philip, officially known as the Duke of Edinburgh, will receive a ceremonial royal funeral, not a state funeral as planned prior to the pandemic. However, there will be no public processions that take place exclusively in the grounds of Windsor Castle and are limited to 30 mourners.

Funeral at Windersor

“The occasion will still celebrate and recognize the Duke’s life and more than 70 years of service for the Queen, Great Britain and the Commonwealth,” said a palace spokesman.

The funeral, which will be televised live, will take place in the castle’s St. George’s Chapel and will be followed by a minute of silence across the country.

Charles and other members of the royal family will stand behind a specially modified Land Rover that Philip helped create. At the end of the service, Philip is buried in the royal vault.

Exact details of who will be in attendance have not been released, but among those present will be Harry, the Duke of Sussex, whose explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey along with Meghan last month plunged the royal family into their greatest crisis in decades.

During the interview, Meghan said that while she was feeling suicidal, her requests for help were ignored and that an unnamed family member asked how dark her unborn child’s skin might be. Harry also lamented his family’s reaction to their decision to step down from official duties and move to Los Angeles.

“The Duke of Sussex plans to attend,” said the palace spokesman. “The Duchess of Sussex has been advised by her doctor not to travel. So the Duke will be present.”

Buckingham Palace stressed that the service would be held in accordance with the government’s coronavirus guidelines, which means that members of the royal family, including the queen, are expected to wear a mask.

“QUEEN WAS AMAZING”

Honors have been received from across Britain and from world leaders for Philip who was a pillar of strength for the Queen. At 94 years old, she is the world’s oldest and longest reigning living monarch.

Philip was an excellent seaman who fought in World War II and the armed forces marked his death with artillery salutes with units in London, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Belfast and Gibraltar, as well as some naval warships firing their weapons.

The royal family urged the public to respect the rules of social distancing and avoid visits to their residences, but people were still placing cards and bouquets of flowers in front of Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace.

“I’ve never done that before,” said 60-year-old Joanna Reesby, who paid her respects at Buckingham Palace. “I brought yellow roses for friendship because I think he showed it 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. Family members visited the grieving monarch at Windsor Castle.

“The Queen was amazing,” said a tearful Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, as she walked out with her husband Prince Edward, the youngest son of Elizabeth and Philip.

In their official Twitter feed, the royal family paid their husband a tribute on the occasion of their 50th wedding anniversary in 1997, which the Queen had paid her husband.

“He was quite simply my strength and my stay in all these years, and I and his whole family and this and many other countries owe him a debt that is greater than he would ever claim, or we will ever find out”, said she said.

OFF-THE-CUFF NOTES

While Philip’s charm and reluctance to tolerate those he viewed as stupid or sycophantic earned him the respect of some Britons, many others found his sometimes gruff demeanor rude and aloof. He liked spontaneous comments that were sometimes viewed as racist and offensive.

Flags at Buckingham Palace and government buildings across Britain were lowered to half mast, and poster owners replaced advertisements with photos and tributes to the Prince. In his honor, there was silence at sporting events.

Philip, a Greek prince, married Elizabeth in 1947 and brought news of her father’s death five years later when they were visiting Kenya, meaning that she was queen at the age of 25.

He continued to play a key role in adapting the monarchy to a changing world in the post-World War II period, and supported the Queen as the monarchy faced numerous crises over the years. In 2017 he finally resigned from his public duties.

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