An emotional Earl and Countess of Wessex have viewed tributes left by the public and national leaders for his late father Prince Philip a day before the Duke of Edinburgh's funeral.

Prince Edward, 57, and wife Sophie, 56, who were joined by their daughter Lady Louise Windsor, spent time looking at hundreds of flowers and wreaths outside St George’s Chapel in the grounds of Windsor Castle on Friday afternoon.

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

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

The trio, dressed in black, walked around for about 15 minutes before leaving.

The Earl of Wessex, Lady Louise Windsor and the Countess of Wessex view flowers outside St George's Chapel, at Windsor Castle, Berkshire, following the death of the Duke of Edinburgh
The Earl of Wessex, Lady Louise Windsor and the Countess of Wessex appeared touched by the tributes

The Wessexes and their children - Lady Louise, 17, and James, Viscount Severn, 13 - will join the Queen and other family members at Saturday's service.

The Queen has been comforted by Edward and Sophie following the death of her 99-year-old husband on April 9.

Sophie had previously told how the 94-year-old monarch has been "amazing" and “thinking of others before herself” in her time of grief.

Friday's visit came a day after Prince Charles was close to tears as he and wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, read some of the public's tributes to Philip.

Lady Louise Windsor, Earl of Wessex and the Countess of Wessex view tributes outside St George's Chapel to Prince Philip
The Wessexes look at tributes placed on a bench outside the chapel
The Countess of Wessex and Lady Louise Windsor (standing) view flowers left for Prince Philip after his death
Sophie, while looking over handwritten letters from children, could be heard saying “how sweet”

The pair viewed a sea of flowers, cards and items such as a model Land Rover in the gardens of Marlborough House in central London, where tributes left at the gates of Buckingham Palace are being held.

Members of the public have been asked not to lay flowers or gather outside royal residences due to England's coronavirus lockdown and social distancing rules.

But that hasn't stopped thousands of mourners from visiting places such as Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace to pay their respects to Philip.

Instead of leaving tributes, the public is asked to sign an online book of condolence or make a donation to charity.

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There is no public element during Saturday's funeral at St George's Chapel, and people have been told to stay away from the castle and watch the service on TV or online.

Earlier this week, Edward - the youngest of the Queen and Philip's four children - paid tribute to his father, saying he "may have departed this world, but his spirit and ethos lives on" through the Duke of Edinburgh's Award.

The earl, who will inherit the Duke of Edinburgh's title after the death of the Queen, told how his dad made a "lasting impression" on strangers' lives and "he was a man that once met, never forgotten".

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.

Sophie, Countess of Wessex (R) and her daughter Lady Louise Windsor walk out of Windsor Castle
Sophie and daughter Lady Louise leave Windsor Castle after viewing the tributes
The Queen and Philip with their children Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward in 1965
The Queen and Philip with their children Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward at Windsor Castle in 1965

"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."

Last Sunday, Edward told of his shock and sadness over his father's death as he and his wife paid tribute to the duke alongside their daughter.

Speaking outside the Royal Chapel of All Saints in Windsor, he said: "It's a bit of a shock.

"However much one tries to prepare oneself for something like this, it's still dreadful shock, and we're trying to come to terms with that.

Prince Edward and his wife Sophie with his father Prince Philip
The Royal Family shared this picture as Edward paid tribute to Philip earlier this week
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall visit the gardens of Marlborough House, London, to view the flowers and messages left for Prince Philip after his death
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall look at tributes to Philip at Marlborough House in London

"It's very, very sad."

A source has told the Mirror that Sophie has been a "tremendous source of comfort" to the Queen following Philip's death.

The former PR executive, who was already close to the monarch, has been visiting her at Windsor Castle.

The Queen has been "amazing" and “thinking of others before herself” while mourning her husband, the countess told reporters on Sunday.

Queen Elizabeth II and Sophie, Countess of Wessex attend a reception to celebrate the work of the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust
Sophie has been a "tremendous source of comfort" to the Queen, a source says

Asked how the Queen was, Sophie replied: "Thinking of others before herself, she's amazing."

Edward added: "Yes, as always. But bearing up.

"But again, that wave of affection for him and those lovely stories, they just mean so much and the tributes have been so fantastic and that's really really important and we really do appreciate it."

A source said earlier this week: "The Countess has been a tremendous source of comfort to the Queen.

"The Queen is very practical in making sure everyone is okay and despite her tremendous grief at the passing she is no different.

"Sophie cherishes her relationship with the Queen and not only appreciates her guidance and wisdom throughout her own life, she is very protective of her.

"Their bond is very like a mother and daughter and the feeling of love and respect is quite mutual. It is very special."