Prince Philip's long-time scrap dealer friend has paid tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh, saying he treated him as his equal.

George Bowman and the royal first met in the late 70s and stayed in touch.

They became close during Philip's annual visits to Cumbria and the ex-tradesman says he was a man of the people.

The 84-year-old revealed they became unlikely friends after connecting whilst competing in the Lowther Carriage Driving Trials.

George gave an emotional interview to ITV News and was reduced to tears when remembering their long-standing relationship.

He broke down as he said the Duke was a man he 'respected'.

George Bowman and the Prince met in the late 70s
George Bowman and the Prince met in the late 70s

Mr Bowman added: "I came from humble beginnings, I was a scrap dealer, and through the horses I climbed my way up the ladder.

"He always treated me with great respect and treated me as equal. That's what I admired about him the most.

"I cry even talking about it. He was a great man."

The Duke visited the Carriage Driving Trials almost every year between 1973 and 2008, missing just two of the events.

The Duke was a regular at the Carriage Driving Trials
The Duke was a regular at the Carriage Driving Trials

"We were friends, we would have a drink and a chat and do barbecues," he added.

"When he was older he still attended as a judge and spectator. He had a great sense of humour.

"He liked a pint of beer and would tell a few jokes. He was a very good sport."

Prince Philip will be laid to rest on Saturday, Buckingham Palace have announced.

His friend broke down when remembering him
His friend broke down when remembering the royal

The royal funeral at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, will take place against the backdrop of the Covid pandemic and grant his wishes for a 'no fuss' service.

Only 30 guests will be allowed at the televised funeral, which will get underway when Philip's coffin arrives on a specially modified Land Rover he helped to design.

The Queen has given final approval to the funeral plans, codenamed Forth Bridge, and eight days of national mourning, which will end on Saturday.

The Royal Family has entered two weeks of royal mourning, starting from the day of Philip’s death.