United Kingdom

Prince Edward and Prince Andrew thank Windsor Estate workers for their support

The Royal Family have shared a touching off-duty photograph of the Queen and Prince Philip on the Balmoral Estate in 1972.

In the snap, which was shared to the Queen's official Instagram page today, the Duke of Edinburgh, then 51, could be seen beaming as he posed with the Queen, 94, in front of a herd of Highland Cattle.  

The image was captioned: 'For much of his married life, The Duke of Edinburgh was closely involved in the management of The Queen’s Private Estates: Sandringham and Balmoral, as well as Windsor Great and Home Parks.

'The Duke worked with Estate workers, farmers and conservationists to maintain the Estates for future generations, through wildlife conservation and biodiversity initiatives.'

It comes as Prince Edward, 57, and Prince Andrew, 61, were joined by Sophie Wessex, 56 and Lady Louise Windsor, 17, to thank the members of staff after a service at The Royal Chapel of All Saints, in Windsor this morning.  

The royal family shared a touching picture of the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh taken in front of Highland Cattle at Balmoral in 1972, when she was 46 and he was 51

Lady Louise Windsor, 17, accompanied her parents Prince Edward, right, 57 and Sophie Wessex, 56 at a morning service at The Royal Chapel of All Saints, in Windsor today

The official family account shared the archive picture, which showed the Queen, then 46 looking relaxed she posed with the Duke of Edinburgh in front of some Highland cattle at Balmoral in 1972. 

Prince Philip looked equally at ease, wearing a black jumper and a light brown pair of trousers and carrying a walking stick. 

The post detailed the Duke's dedication to the royal estates over the years, ending: 'Over recent years, His Royal Highness received regular updates and took a keen interest in developments on the Estates.' 

Sharing pictures of members of the royal family at this morning's service in Windsor, the post went on to say they had thanked the Windsor Estate workers for the support they demonstrated since the announcement of Prince Philip's death. 

On Instagram, the royal family paid tribute to Prince Philip's dedication to the royal estate throughout his life 

It continued: 'After attending morning service at The Royal Chapel of All Saints, The Duke of York, The Earl and Countess of Wessex, and Lady Louise met Windsor Estate workers to thank them for their support, particularly over the last few days.'

The Duke of Edinburgh spent his final days at Windsor Castle with his wife the Queen who he lovingly called Lilibet throughout their long life together, after a 28-night stay in hospital having been admitted in mid-February for an infection and a pre-existing heart condition. 

Her Majesty announced her husband's death at midday as the Union Flag was lowered to half-mast outside Buckingham Palace and on public buildings across the UK and Commonwealth. 

Speaking outside the church today, Prince Andrew revealed the Queen has described the loss of the Duke of Edinburgh as 'having left a huge void in her life'. 

Prince Andrew, left, thanked Windsor Estate workers for their support in the last few days this morning while attending church 

Prince Andrew said the Queen is 'an incredibly stoic person', but said Philip's death had left her grieving and 'she is feeling it more than anyone'. He said: 'She described his passing as a miracle and she's contemplating, I think is the way that I would put it.

'She described it as having left a huge void in her life but we, the family, the ones that are close, are rallying round to make sure that we're there to support her.'

Andrew added of his father: 'He was a remarkable man. I loved him as a father. He was so calm. He was always someone you could go to. We have lost the grandfather of the nation.'

The Queen is 'thinking of others before herself', the Countess of Wessex said as she left the church service.

The Earl and Countess of Wessex, with their daughter Lady Louise Windsor, attend the Sunday service at the Royal Chapel of All Saints at Royal Lodge, Windsor

Addressing a mourner, Sophie added: 'You know it's going to happen but when it happens it's just this massive, massive hole.' 

She said the tributes left by the public have been 'amazing', but claimed Covid is 'preventing people from doing what they naturally want to do which is coming together, which is hard'.

Prince Edward added: 'It's been a bit of a shock. However much one tries to prepare oneself for something like this it's still a dreadful shock. And we're still trying to come to terms with that. And it's very, very sad.

'But I have to say that the extraordinary tribute and the memories that everybody has had and been willing to share has been so fantastic.

Speaking of her father-in-law's last moments, Sophie (pictured with Lady Louisa) added: 'It was so gentle. It was just like somebody took him by the hand and off he went. It was very very peaceful and that's all you want for somebody isn't it'

'And 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.'

The Earl of Wessex also said his heart goes out to all those who worked at royal residences, who will feel a 'very personal' loss after the Duke of Edinburgh's death.

He added: 'He means so much to so many people here, and it's the same for those who lived and worked at Balmoral and Sandringham. For all those past and present.'

He said: 'They've all had their own personal memories and stories. Our hearts go out to all of them as well.'

The Countess of Wessex, attends the Sunday service at the Royal Chapel of All Saints at Royal Lodge, Windsor, following Prince Philip's death

Prince Philip died peacefully in his sleep at Windsor Castle on Friday, two months before his 100th birthday, leaving the Queen and the royal family 'mourning his loss'. 

Philip's funeral at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, next Saturday will be like no other, with the Queen and her family wearing face masks and socially distancing as they gather to say their final farewell amid coronavirus restrictions.

Buckingham Palace announced yesterday that Prince Philip's ceremonial royal funeral will take place on April 17 at St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle, and a national minute's silence will be observed as it begins at 3pm. The funeral service will be broadcast worldwide.

The Queen is in mourning after the tragic death of Prince Philip who was rushed to hospital earlier this year. Pictured last year at Windsor Castle ahead of his 99th birthday

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