United Kingdom

Prince Philip funeral: Hundreds of mourners defy Buckingham Palace's plea to stay away from Windsor

Crowds have started to gather outside Windsor Castle ahead of Prince Philip's funeral today despite Buckingham Palace's plea for mourners to watch from home.

Police officers threw a 'ring of steel' around Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle as a high-alert security operation was launched to control 'thousands' of expected well-wishers, according to one officer.

Drains and rivers surrounding the castle have been scoured for security threats and in London all roads around Buckingham Palace have been closed off.

Dozens of police - some armed - and security officers are on duty, patrols are being carried out in parks surrounding the Palace and a police helicopter hovers above. 

Hundreds of socially-distanced mourners have flocked to Windsor this afternoon ahead of the duke's funeral at St George's Chapel at 3pm. 

While this morning security, police and the media vastly outnumbered the public and empty trains from Waterloo and Paddington rolled into Windsor, people have now started to pour in. 

The service, which will follow an eight-minute procession carried out by military regiments from the Royal Air Force, Army and Navy, will be attended by members of the duke's close family. 

On the Long Walk, where some of the pageantry will march before entering the castle gates, steel barriers have been placed to fence any spectators in.

Hundreds of socially-distanced mourners have flocked to Windsor this afternoon ahead of the duke's funeral at St George's Chapel at 3pm

'Thousands' of well-wishers are expected to descend on the Royal palaces this afternoon to pay their respects despite the Duke of Edinburgh's funeral taking place at St George's Chapel in Windsor, one officer told MailOnline. Pictured, armed officers gather outside Windsor Castle

Hundreds of socially-distanced mourners have started to flock to Windsor this afternoon ahead of the duke's funeral at St George's Chapel at 3pm. Pictured, the Kings Troop Royal Horse Artillery arrive on the Long Walk

A young girl dons yellow wellington boots as she observes the procession at Windsor Castle

Families started to gather to watch the procession from outside Windsor Castle this afternoon

A man pays his respects by raising his bowler hat as members of The Kings Troop Royal Horse Artillery arrive

Hundreds of people watched as the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery processed along the Long Walk up to Windsor Castle at midday.

Dozens of riders, wearing black, gold and red uniforms and carrying three guns, rode up to Cambridge Gate where tributes to the duke have been laid throughout the week.

Members of the regiment will fire minute guns from the east lawn of Windsor Castle as Philip's coffin is taken from the castle to the chapel. 

The public has expressed its sadness original plans for the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh could not proceed in Windsor.

Mourners said the country was 'missing out' on fully commemorating Philip's death but praised the royal family for 'setting an example' during the ongoing pandemic.

Despite the sunshine, few people had gathered in the town by 11am on Saturday morning ahead of the event, though a steady stream of tourists, shoppers and dog-walkers passed along the high street.

Dozens of armed police made preparations on the high street and swept areas along the Long Walk up to Cambridge Gate, and the walls of Windsor Castle.

Road signs in the area warned: 'Avoid all non-essential travel and do not gather at royal residences', though some visited briefly to lay tributes to the duke.

Jack Carson, 34, who left bunch of flowers said: 'I'm going to watch the funeral service from home but I thought it would be nice to come down this morning to lay some flowers down.

'Philip was a fantastic public servant and will be missed by the people in this town.'

Crowds have started to line the side of the road as mourners ignore plea to stay away and watch from home 

Hundreds of people kept apart from each other as they gathered to watch a procession in Windsor

Police kept an eye on the crowd as people started to flock to Windsor

A Corgi dog wearing a Union Jack bandana is seen near Windsor Castle on the day of the funeral

Another resident, Ian Mawhinney, 56, said that it had been a 'sombre few weeks' in the town but that the royal family were 'setting an example' by limiting numbers at the event.

'I think it's really important to mark the event. It's been a very sombre time for the town,' he said. 'Living in Windsor you realise how much they do for the community and the country. You sense the loss more here. It's been a very sombre few weeks.

'I'm quite torn about the measures... I think the country is missing out on something. I think the royal family are setting an example.

'Having a small event is not what they would have wanted but they will adapt and...honour (Philip) in their own way.'

Another royal supporter spoke of his dismay that crowds could not gather at Windsor Castle for the Duke of Edinburgh's funeral. 

Police officers keep watch using binoculars from a rooftop window as security ramps up for the funeral

As with all royal events, there was a tight security operation and police divers were pictured searching a drain near the grounds

Police officers on a rooftop keeping watch over the surrounding area as part of the ring of steel security operation

Dozens of police officers marched through Windsor's town centre today as patrols were launched ahead of the funeral

Speaking outside the historic castle, Professor Chris Imafidon, from Essex, who says he met Philip on a few occasions, said: 'I think it's a disgrace, there should be more people here, especially when there are plans for people to return to football stadiums.

'It's such a mediocre service for a great man, his contribution to helping working-class people generally has been enormous.

'He has done so much for this country, there should be a big public celebration of his life. People have been asked not to come, so I think it will be a quiet atmosphere, I just feel so sad.'

This morning bored security guards in Windsor were pictured standing in groups of 16 as they chatted in the sunshine with instructions to ask any gathering groups to keep moving due to Covid restrictions.

A police sergeant told MailOnline: 'It certainly looks like the royal family and Prince Phillip have been given the upmost respect. Its 9am and I haven't talked to one person who has come here to be at the castle today. I think people realise they're better off at home watching the funeral on television.' 

Alicia Evans, 48, from Windsor who was walking her dog there, was one of the few in the area.

She said: 'If people are staying away then all I can say is good heavens for that. It's a private funeral with only 30 Royal mourners. This is not one of those occasions where we want to see union flags and bunting.

'It's a very sad day and I hope most of the public remember Philip at home in their thoughts and watch the funeral on television.'

Police officers outside Windsor Castle were instructed to tell mourners to move on ahead of expected crowds for the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh at St George's Chapel

Bored security guards in Windsor have been pictured standing in groups of 16 as they chat in the sunshine with instructions to ask any gathering groups to keep moving due to Covid restrictions

Armed police patrol the grounds outside Windsor Castle to ensure no security threats are made 

Police officers stand guard outside Windsor Castle to help disperse any gathering crowds

Thelma O’Donnell, a nanny, was one of the people who ignored advice not to go to Windsor for the funeral.

Mrs O’Donnell, who was with her husband Thomas, wanted to record the scenes around the castle on her phone to put on Facebook so that her family in The Philippines could see them.

She said: ‘My family and I loved Prince Phillip. He has always been part of our lives and we will miss him.

‘I wanted to pay my respects in person, but we will go back to our home near Heathrow in time and watch the funeral on television. ‘

Her husband added: ‘ we heard that people were being asked to stay away. But we don’t live that far and we just wanted to see what it was like a Windsor before we go and watch on TV. We have nothing but respect for the royal family.‘

James Louizou, 24, from Manchester was with his girlfriend Eliza and said they had arrived in London last night for a weekend in the capital.

He said: ‘We have come here because we thought it would be quiet a spectacle.

‘There are actually very few people here. We might have been better off watching the funeral on TV. But the castle is amazing to see.’

At lunchtime, the Long Walk was virtually empty with only around 100 locals in the area.

In Windsor town centre, locals made the most of the shops reopening, but were expected ’to come to a standstill' at 3pm in a minute's silence for Prince Phillip.

Security was on high-alert, with police snipers placed on roof tops and armed officers patrolling the streets.

Postboxes were sealed, rubbish bins were checked and experts went down into drains to check for threats as part of the intense security ring. 

One officer earlier told MailOnline they were expecting 'thousands' of people to arrive at other Royal palaces.

He added: 'The funeral may be in Windsor but we're expecting a lot of people to turn up at Buckingham Palace, as they have been through the week.

'The sun is out and people have been very moved by Philip's death. There's lots of media here and we have to make sure things run smoothly because the eyes of the world are on us.'

Thames Valley Police has put a range of visible and covert security measures in place, including automated number plate checks, CCTV and barriers to prevent attacks using vehicles, as well as armed and mounted officers on patrol.

In London, all roads around Buckingham Palace (pictured) have been closed off, dozens of police - some of them armed - are on duty, private security guards stand outside, officers patrol surrounding parks and a police helicopter hovers above

Some members of the public did visit Windsor this morning, despite being urged by Buckingham Palace to stay away 

Despite the absence of spectators, security was on high-alert, with police snipers placed on roof tops and armed officers patrolling the streets. Postboxes were sealed and rubbish bins were checked as part of the security ring

Experts say GCHQ could even be listening in to 'chatter' around the world online and on phones, looking out for any spikes in conversations about the funeral.

The Government's Rule Of Six puts police officers in a difficult position as they try to control the crowds and Royal fans have been told not to attend any part of the events that make up the funeral due to Covid restrictions.

They have also been asked not to lay flowers because it could encourage crowds and lead to a super-spread of the coronavirus.

Buckingham Palace instead invited well-wishers to sign a book of condolences - but only online, to avoid crowds and queues. 

Despite this, local florists opened early this morning as they braced themselves for a hectic day.

Florist Bridge Banks Harvey, 36, who was one of the first well wishers to arrive at Buckingham Palace this morning, said: 'I'm opening up my shop early because I'm expecting a lot of customers. I came to the Palace to pay my respects before things get busy.'

Police officers troop through the town of Windsor and take up positions on the estate this morning ahead of Philip's funeral 

In Windsor police patrols will also be stepped up to enforce Covid rules, which bans large gatherings

Armed police officers move through the media pack outside Windsor Castle on the morning of Prince Philip's funeral

Security, police and the media currently vastly outnumber the public in the Long Walk and in the streets around the castle as trains from Waterloo and Paddington roll empty into Windsor

From the Queen to Mike Tindall: Funeral guest list 

Here is the full list of guests who will attend the Duke of Edinburgh's funeral at Windsor Castle on Saturday:

  1. The Queen
  2. The Prince of Wales
  3. The Duchess of Cornwall
  4. The Duke of Cambridge
  5. The Duchess of Cambridge
  6. The Duke of Sussex
  7. The Duke of York
  8. Princess Beatrice
  9. Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi
  10. Princess Eugenie
  11. Jack Brooksbank
  12. The Earl of Wessex
  13. The Countess of Wessex
  14. Lady Louise Windsor
  15. Viscount Severn
  16. The Princess Royal
  17. Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence
  18. Peter Phillips
  19. Zara Phillips
  20. Mike Tindall
  21. Earl of Snowdon
  22. Lady Sarah Chatto
  23. Daniel Chatto
  24. Duke of Gloucester
  25. Duke of Kent
  26. Princess Alexandra
  27. Bernhard, Hereditary Prince of Baden
  28. Prince Donatus, Landgrave of Hesse
  29. Prince Philipp of Hohenlohe-Langenburg
  30. The Countess Mountbatten of Burma

Scroll down to the bottom of this article for a more detailed look at who has been confirmed as attending

She revealed she last week sold out of flowers as thousands of mourners left floral tributes to Prince Philip.

Ms Banks Harvey, who works at Pulbridge and Gould Florist in Victoria said: 'People have been very moved by Philip's death and want to remember him.' 

Officers will be patrolling Buckingham Palace and Westminster for the Duke of Edinburgh's funeral.  

Police have asked the public not to gather by royal residences, to avoid meeting in large groups, to minimise travel and to make a donation to charity instead of laying floral tributes. 

Sam Welsh, 68 who laid a bunch of yellow roses said: 'Philip was alright, he did a good job and made me laugh. I just wanted to honour his memory and pay respect to his life.

'He was a good bloke and I'm sure we'll all miss him but not as much as the Queen Mother, who I really loved.

'With Philip gone it's going to be tough for the Queen. I hope she copes OK because she's got a difficult job.'

A member of staff at Windsor's train station told MailOnline the usual crowds have not turned out for the funeral today.

They added: 'Whenever there is a Royal occasion here, you get people sleeping overnight and certainly by 9am every train is packed. Today there hasn't been a single person who has passed through here to stand outside the castle.'  

Those who did travel to Windsor Castle to lay tributes today were asked to remove any wrapping from flowers and warned they would be removed at the end of the day. 

The first floral tribute, at Buckingham Palace was laid by Claudia, 10 who was accompanied by her mother Chesma, 40.

Chesma revealed that she and her daughter set off from their East London home shortly after 6am and had laid yellow tulips.

She said: 'We only moved to the UK from India 10 years ago but in that time we've come to love the Royal family. They represent this nation and we wanted to pay our respects to Prince Philip.'

Claudia said: 'I really wanted to come here because I feel sorry for the Queen. She's going to miss Prince Philip a lot as we all will.'

The mother and daughter revealed that they had decided to arrive early so that they could avoid any crowds and return home to watch the funeral on TV.

A man carrying flowers walks next to Windsor Castle, where at 3pm Prince Philip will be laid to rest

In Windsor police patrols will also be stepped up to enforce Covid rules, which bans large gatherings

Wardens stand outside Windsor Castle on the day of the funeral of Britain's Prince Philip

An armed police officer stands guard at the entrance to Windsor Castle

Thames Valley Police said it has put a range of visible and covert security measures in place for Saturday

Armed Police Officers pictured on patrol outside Windsor Castle today

Chris Davies, 39 left his home in St Neots, Cambridgeshire with his son Christopher, 12 at 7am to pay his respects.

Chris, who was in the Royal Navy for 12 years, said: 'I wanted to pay my respects to a fellow naval man. I love the Royal family and had a lot of respect for Prince Philip. We came down on the train early so that we can get home to watch the funeral on TV.'

Christopher said: 'My dad's told me a lot of stories about the navy and has brought me up to respect the Royal family. I wanted to come to pay my respects.'

Chris revealed that he was one of the Queen's guards for her Jubilee celebrations in 2000.

He added: 'I'll always remember Prince Philip for his gaffes and sense of humour. He was quite a character, had a tendency to put his foot in it and will be missed.'

Eight-year-old Jack Slater was one of the few to lay flowers this morning at Windsor Castle.

Accompanied by his parents Emma and Stuart, he said he got up early this morning from his home in nearby Slough to lay down the flowers.

He said: 'I wanted to pay respects to Philip. Because he's died. '

Mrs Slater said: 'We wanted to come here early, put some flowers down, and leave because of all the covid problems. We also wanted to respect what the Royal Family asked for, that people stay away. We will watch it at home on television.' 

This is the funeral procession for tomorrow's funeral, where William and Harry will not stand next to eachother with the Queen following behind in her car

Publican Robert Gillespie, 62, who runs the Two Brewers Pub next to the castle, has decorated his establishment in red white and blue flowers to mark the Prince's death.

He said: 'I used to see him when he would drive his horse and carriage down here from the Royal Mees towards the Long Walk and he would always give me a wave.

'I'll be closing the pub tomorrow or the day of his funeral also to pay respects to him.' 

Only a small number of guests will attend the service later today, with even the Prime Minister stepping aside to make way for an additional family member under the tight rules on numbers.     

Funerals of senior royals are years in the planning, with each operation named after a different bridge. The Queen is thought to be London Bridge and the duke is Forth Bridge. 

The security operation will focus on preventing risks and 'embarrassment', particularly controlling unauthorised access to the castle. 

Last night the Palace shared a touching unseen picture of the Queen with her husband, who died peacefully at the castle on Friday last week at 99 

The overwhelming majority of people will watch the funeral from their homes, with the BBC, ITV and Sky all broadcasting live 

Flowers and condolences from around the Windsor Estate have been moved inside the Castle precinct

Those who did travel to Windsor Castle to lay tributes today were asked to remove any wrapping from flowers and warned they would be removed at the end of the day

Children leave a floral tribute to Prince Philip, Duke Of Edinburgh, ahead of his funeral

But police and security services will be alert to any incidents that could prevent a threat - from accidents, public disorder and crime to terrorist attacks.

The potential for knife attacks, shootings and the ability to plant bombs will all be considered. 

But officers may be particularly 'alive' to threats drones could pose in disrupting or attacking the ceremony and can draw on technology to try to scupper their flight path or even call in the military.

Richard Aitch, director of operations for firm Mobius International, which offers security services for governments and private companies, said there could be a focus on covert tactics to avoid overshadowing the sombre mood of the day.

He believes that even in a pandemic, the security operation for an event like this would be 'huge', with the cost running 'into the millions'. 

What are the key timings for Prince Philip's funeral?

The ceremonial arrangements for Prince Philip's funeral today will reflect military affiliations and personal elements of his life. The congregation will wear masks for the service and members of the royal family will be wearing morning coat with medals or day dress. Philip has been lying at rest in the private chapel in Windsor Castle. Here is a timeline of events:

  • 2.38pm: The coffin is lifted in the Inner Hall.

  • 2.40pm: Members of Philip's household take up their positions in the procession and the bands stop playing music.
  • 2.41pm: The coffin emerges from the State Entrance and is met by members of the royal family who are walking in the procession. They will not be wearing uniforms. A royal salute is given by the service detachments, the service chiefs, the pall bearers, the Major General commanding the Household Division and his staff give a royal salute. The coffin is placed on to the Land Rover.
  • 2.44pm: The Queen, accompanied by a lady-in-waiting, leaves from the Sovereign's Entrance in the State Bentley as the national anthem is played. The Bentley will pause as it reaches the rear of the procession so the front section of the procession can turn to face the direction of travel.
  • 2.45pm: The procession, which is planned to take eight minutes, sets off. The firing of minute guns by The King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery from the East Lawn and the sound of the Curfew Tower Bell will form the backdrop as members of the royal family who are already at St George's Chapel stand to view the procession. The Queen will be received by the Dean of Windsor who will show the mourners at the service, including those who have been watching the procession, to their seats. A royal salute is given by the Windsor Castle Guard as the coffin passes the Parade Ground. The Band of the Grenadier Guards will stop playing and march through into Denton's Commons as the procession approaches. The Rifles Guard of Honour, positioned in Horseshoe Cloister, will give a royal salute and the national anthem will be played. The service chiefs, the Major General commanding the Household Division and his staff will halt on the north side of the West Steps and turn to face the coffin.
  • 3pm: The National Minute's Silence, signalled by a gun fired by The King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery, takes place. After the minute's silence, the Dean of Windsor and the Archbishop of Canterbury receive the coffin which has been followed by the members of the royal family who have walked in the procession. As the doors to St George's Chapel close to the sound of Carry On being played, the Land Rover, service chiefs, realm defence advisers, bodyguards, military knights of Windsor, along with representatives of services, will leave in silence during the funeral service. After the National Minute's Silence, the coffin is placed on the Catafalque in the Quire and members of the royal family who have walked in the procession will take their places for the service which is set to last 50 minutes and will be conducted by the Dean of Windsor. The Dean will give the commendation as the coffin is lowered into the Royal Vault. A lament will then be played by a Pipe Major of the Royal Regiment of Scotland. The piper will walk from the North Quire Aisle to The Dean's Cloister. The Last Post will be sounded by buglers of the Royal Marines from the west end of the Nave. After a period of silence, the Reveille will be sounded by the State Trumpeters of the Household Cavalry from the west end of the Nave. The buglers of the Royal Marines will sound Action Stations and this is at the specific request of The Duke of Edinburgh. The Archbishop of Canterbury will pronounce the Blessing, after which the national anthem will be sung by the four singers present.
  • After the service: The Queen and members of the royal family and Philip's relatives will leave the chapel via the Galilee Porch.

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