United Kingdom

Queen carries on: Grieving monarch 'will still conduct state opening of Parliament on May 11'

The Queen will not delay returning to work after her husband's funeral and plans to attend the state opening of Parliament next month, MailOnline can reveal today. 

Her Majesty will attend the ceremonial event in the House of Lords without her husband Prince Philip and will be supported by her son Prince Charles at Westminster on May 11 instead.

The monarch has overseen every one of the constitutional set pieces since taking the throne in 1952, apart from in 1959 and 1963 when she was pregnant with Prince Andrew and Prince Edward respectively.

While the Duke of Edinburgh only missed the event once, 12 months before he retired in 2018, when he was hospitalised.

Today a well-placed Westminster source has said the Queen is still planning to conduct the state opening of Parliament on May 11.  There had been speculation that she might not attend in person amid the pandemic and after the loss of Prince Philip. But one source said: 'She is still coming, with Charles.'

It came as the Royal Family released more tributes to the Duke of Edinburgh, from officers at Britannia Royal Naval College at Dartmouth, where the Queen's husband was awarded the King's Dirk for the best all-round cadet of the term, as well as a prize for the best cadet in college. 

The Queen will attend the State Opening of Parliament in May accompanied by her son Prince Charles, who has supported her at the ceremonial event since his father retired in 2018

It came as the Royal Family released more tributes to the Duke of Edinburgh, from officers at Britannia Royal Naval College at Dartmouth, where the Queen's husband was awarded the King's Dirk for the best all-round cadet of the term, as well as a prize for the best cadet in college.

Photographs of the duke at the college through the decades were put on Instagram while on Twitter a video of him describing being in Japan when they surrendered in 1945 was shared. 

Following training at Dartmouth, His Royal Highness went on to become one of the Royal Navy’s youngest first lieutenants, and saw active service in WWII. He was present in Tokyo Bay when the Japanese signed the surrender on September 2 1945.

The Duke of Edinburgh left the Royal Navy as a serving officer in 1952 in order to support The Queen in her duties, but remained deeply committed to the Armed Forces. In 1953, he was given honorary appointments in all three services, becoming Admiral of the Fleet, British Army Field Marshal and Royal Air Force Marshal.

The Duke of Edinburgh became an important figure in Armed Forces life, opening annual Field of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey for many years and visiting service personnel and their families in the UK and around the Commonwealth regularly throughout his working life.

It came as his grandson Prince Harry has flown into London's Heathrow Airport without his heavily-pregnant wife Meghan Markle ahead of Prince Philip's funeral on his first visit to Britain since quitting royal duties and the couple's bombshell Oprah interview, it was revealed today.

The Duke of Sussex was reportedly seen leaving his £11million California mansion on Saturday night in a black Cadillac Escalade to board an early-hours flight from LA, and disembarking a BA plane in chinos, a jacket and black face mask at the west London airport around 10 hours later at 1.15pm GMT yesterday.  

Harry was met by security off the plane and put into a black Range Rover, before he was reportedly driven to Kensington Palace. The Sun has claimed he is quarantining at Christopher Wren-designed Nottingham Cottage, where Harry proposed to Meghan Markle in 2017, and is just a few yards from the apartment where his brother William lives with his family. 

The Duke of Cambridge, who is likely to be at home, was said to be 'very upset' and 'reeling' over claims the Sussexes made in their Oprah interview, especially claims that the Royal Family is racist. Experts say their grandfather's funeral could be the 'ideal opportunity' for William and Harry to heal their rift. 

The Sunday Times has claimed that he will stay at Frogmore Cottage in the grounds of Windsor Castle, so he can be close to his grandmother. After Megxit, Frogmore was handed to Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank, who had their first child in February, but they are understood to split their time between the cottage and Kensington Palace.

Harry can leave quarantine after five days rather than 10 if he provides a negative coronavirus test under the Government's Test to Release scheme. However, he will be allowed to attend Philip's funeral regardless, as official guidelines state those coming in from abroad can leave isolation 'on compassionate grounds'.    

Sources close to the couple said former Suits actress Meghan wanted to join Harry but was advised against travelling by her physician because she is around six months pregnant with their second child - a daughter, due this summer.

The Royal Family has ordered a truce over the contents of the bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey to focus on honouring and mourning Philip, who died at the Berkshire residence on Friday just two months before his 100th birthday. 

Harry and Meghan were criticised for accusing the royal family of racism during the CBS special, broadcast by ITV in the UK while Philip was in hospital receiving treatment for an infection and a pre-existing heart condition. Sources say the duke was brief about the content of the interview after he left hospital. 

In a short tribute to Philip, the Sussexes wrote on their Archewell organisation website: In loving memory of His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh, 1921-2021. Thank you for your service... you will be greatly missed.' 

He was last pictured with Philip in May 2019, when they were seen posing for a photograph with baby Archie at Buckingham Palace. 

Harry's return to the UK ahead of Saturday's funeral will be his first since March 2020 when he moved to Canada, and will be the first opportunity to reunite with Prince William and his father Prince Charles, who is said to be 'looking forward' to a reunion with his son. It came as:  

Prince Harry and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh attend the 2015 Rugby World Cup Final match between New Zealand and Australia at Twickenham Stadium on October 31, 2015 in London. Harry is back in London ahead of his grandfather's funeral this Saturday

Harry was met by security off the plane and put into a black Range Rover, before he was reportedly driven to Kensington Palace. It is thought he is quarantining at Nottingham Cottage (pictured)

Police and royal staff continue to clear flowers and are moving them inside the grounds of Windsor Castle where the Royal Family will inspect them

But despite warnings not to leave tributes, people continue to come, including Isla Burton, who wrapped up on a coat, hat and unicorn ear muffs as she laid flowers for her family at Windsor today

Windsor Castle Wardens stoically stand guard outside the castle as rain begins to fall during a period of eight days of mourning for the Queen and the Royal Family

Bouquets pile up at the Norwich Gates of Sandringham, where the Duke of Edinburgh spent much of his retirement before the pandemic 

Military Veterans of Household Division pay tribute to Prince Philip at Windsor Castle yesterday

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex with Prince Philip at Church of St Mary Magdalene on December 25, 2017 in King's Lynn

Sophie, Countess of Wessex (right), has described Prince Philip's death as 'so gentle,' saying 'it's just like someone took him by the hand and off he went.' Sophie was among those attending a Sunday service at the Royal Chapel of All Saints at Royal Lodge in Windsor

Sophie (right) also joined her husband Prince Edward (left) and daughter Lady Louise Windsor (centre)  to speak to the media outside the chapel

The Queen has described the loss of the Duke of Edinburgh (pictured with the Queen in 2007) as 'having left a huge void in her life', according to Prince Andrew

The Queen's car is seen arriving at Windsor Castle after walking her dogs at Frogmore. Along with the rest of the royal family, she is observing a two-week mourning period

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'

Members of the public leave floral tributes to Prince Philip, Duke Of Edinburgh outside of Windsor Castle

Members of the public leave floral tributes to Prince Philip, Duke Of Edinburgh outside of Windsor Castle

The public leave floral tributes to Prince Philip, Duke Of Edinburgh who died aged 99, outside Windsor Castle

Members of the public leave floral tributes to Prince Philip, Duke Of Edinburgh

A tribute to Prince Philip, Duke Of Edinburgh who died at age 99 is left in a pub window near Windsor Castle

Prince Philip died peacefully in his sleep at Windsor Castle on Friday, with Prince Andrew revealing the impact of his father's death on the Queen

FAMILY AND PUBLIC FIGURES SHARE MEMORIES OF THE DUKE OF EDINBURGH 

Here are some of the tributes paid to the Duke of Edinburgh by his family, politicians and religious leaders.

Anne on her relationship with her father 

'My father has been my teacher, my supporter and my critic, but mostly it is his example of a life well lived and service freely given that I most wanted to emulate. 

'His ability to treat every person as an individual in their own right with their own skills comes through all the organisations with which he was involved.'

Andrew on his father's passing 

'I loved him as a father. He was so calm. If you had a problem, he would think about it. 

'That's the great thing that I always think about, that he was always somebody you could go to and he would always listen so it's a great loss. We've lost almost the grandfather of the nation'.

Sophie on the duke's death 

'It was right for him and it was so gentle, it was just like someone 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?'

Edward on how much the support of the public has meant to the royal family 

'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'.

Former Irish president Mary McAleese on the Queen and the duke's 2011 visit to Ireland 

'A man who had come on a mission, as she had come, both of them had come on this mission in their own right to try and heal history, to ensure that for the future these two neighbouring islands would be characterised by good neighbourliness'.

Former archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu on the duke's reputation for making off-colour remarks and his wish to be challenged intellectually

'I am sure he regretted some of those phrases, but in the end it is a pity that people saw him simply as somebody who makes gaffes - behind those gaffes was an expectation of a comeback but nobody came back and the gaffe unfortunately stayed'.

Sir John Major on how the Queen will cope with losing her husband 

'Prince Philip may physically have gone, but (he) will be in the Queen's mind as clearly as if she were sitting opposite him. She will hear his voice metaphorically in her ear, she will know what he will say in certain circumstances, he will still be there in her memory'.  

Former archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu on the secret to the Queen and the Duke's strong marriage 

'His faith was so strong, rooted in Christ, rooted in reality, rooted in his family, that he could be a free person. I have not met a couple that are so free - Her Majesty is exactly the same'.

Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, on the duke's stoic nature 

'For His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh, there was a willingness, a remarkable willingness, to take the hand he was dealt in life, and straightforwardly to follow its call. To search its meaning, to go out and on as sent, to inquire and think, to trust and to pray'.

Philip's ceremonial royal funeral will take place on April 17, and a national minute's silence will be observed as it begins at 3pm. The duke will be carried on a specially-modified Land Rover he helped design which Army engineers reportedly prepared after he was admitted to hospital in February. 

Just 30 people, expected to be the duke's children, grandchildren and other close family, will attend his funeral while wearing face masks and socially distancing, due to Covid-19 restrictions. 

Harry will walk behind the coffin alongside his brother Prince William and the rest of his family at Saturday's funeral at St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle. He will not wear his military uniform after being stripped of his official honorary titles honours, and instead will wear a suit along with Prince Andrew and Prince Edward. 

Harry and William's relationship is said to have taken a frosty turn, after initially being close brothers. 

The warring princes are said to have spoken by telephone following Harry and Meghan's bombshell interview with Oprah, but friends of the LA-based couple said the conversation was 'not productive'.

During his explosive tell-all, Harry hinted at the extent of the alleged rift between the two brothers, claiming that their relationship was now 'space', but added he hoped time would be a healer. 

He went on to claim he was 'on different paths' to William, saying: 'I love William to bits, he's my brother. We've been through hell together, we have a shared experience, but we were on different paths.'

Following the interview, CBS presenter Gayle King claimed she had spoken to the Sussexes who told her that Harry had talked to the Duke of Cambridge and Prince of Wales after its airing - but she said the conversations were 'not productive'.  

The Duke of Cambridge was the first royal to personally respond to the tell-all days after the interview aired when he spoke about mental health during a visit the School21 in east London. At the time, he revealed that he had not spoken to his brother since it came out, but added that he 'will do'. 

A royal insider revealed William's friendship with ITV News at 10 host Tom Bradby is another casualty of the fall out, explaining how the duke reportedly ended his two-decade friendship with the journalist after he sided with Harry and Meghan in the increasingly bitter transatlantic war of the Windsors.

The source told MailOnline: 'The friendship between William and Tom is very much over. The Duke feels let down by Bradby and the way he's acted over the past few months. William is a sensitive soul and believes it's in times of crisis when you find out who your true friends are. It would be fair to say Bradby hasn't been one of them.' 

However, ITV viewers expressed their sadness over William and Harry's relationship after seeing their closeness in film The Day Will and Kate Got Married.

The programme, which marked 10 years since the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's big day in Westminster Abbey, showed the brothers smiling at one another as they made their way to the altar ahead of Kate's arrival.  

It comes as senior royals continue to pay tribute to Philip, with his daughter-in-law saying how his passing was 'just like someone took him by the hand and off he went', accompanied by her husband Prince Edward and their daughter Lady Louise Windsor. 

Also at the Sunday service was Prince Andrew, who called his father Philip 'the grandfather of the nation' in what is thought to be the first time he has spoken in public since his 'car-crash' Newsnight interview in 2019 on his friendship with convicted billionaire paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

The Queen is understood to have said private prayers for her beloved husband, a World War Two hero to whom she was married for 73 years, at a Sunday mass in Windsor Castle. The 94-year-old monarch was later spotted arriving at the Windsor estate after taking her pet corgis out for a walk. 

In a statement, Anne, the Princess Royal and the Queen's only daughter, described how 'you are never really ready' for the loss of a close one. In a statement, she called her father 'my teacher, my supporter and my critic'. 'Mostly it is his example of a life well lived and service freely given that I most wanted to emulate,' she added.   

Speaking to mourners outside the chapel, Sophie said: 'You know it's going to happen but when it happens it's just this massive, massive hole. It was so gentle, it was just like someone took him by the hand and off he went. 

'Very, very peaceful and that's all you want with somebody isn't it? I think it's so much easier for the person that goes than the people left behind, we're all sitting here looking at each other going 'This is awful'.' 

The countess also called all the tributes to the Duke of Edinburgh 'amazing' and even shared a joke about the manicured lawn of the church yard. Pointing to the sky, Sophie remarked: 'Well we know if [staff] had not done such a great job, there is one person who would have noticed!' 

Edward, the Queen and Philip's youngest son, emotionally revealed: 'However one tries to prepare oneself for something like this, it's still a dreadful shock and we're sort of trying to come to terms with that.

'It's very, very, sad, but I have to say, the extraordinary tributes and the memories that everybody's had and been willing to share has been so fantastic 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.

'And just being here this morning with everybody from Windsor Great Park and he was a ranger here for, I think, more years than any other ranger and 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 means a huge huge amount to them... they all have their own personal memories and stories and our hearts go out to all of them as well.'

Sophie added: 'He always exchanged words with everybody because it didn't matter what anybody was doing in and around the estate, here and everywhere else, they all meant a lot to him and he always took a very personal interest in everything that they were doing. So they've all got stories to tell and most of them are quite funny as well'.   

'I will miss my dear papa': Prince Charles pays tribute to his 'very special' father as he praises him for his 'devoted service to Queen and country' and says that the royal family are 'deeply grateful' for moving tributes 

Prince Charles today paid tribute to his 'dear Papa' as he spoke for the first time following news of his father Prince Philip's death yesterday morning.

In a pre-recorded video message, the Prince of Wales said his father had given 'the most remarkable, devoted service' to 'The Queen, to my family and to the country', as well as the Commonwealth. 

The Duke of Edinburgh was, he said, a 'very special person' who would have been 'deeply touched' by the sorrow felt by millions of people in Britain and across the world at news of his passing. 

He said he would miss his father 'enormously' and added that his family were 'deeply grateful' for the condolences offered, which he said would 'sustain us' at this 'particularly sad time'.   

Speaking from his Gloucestershire home, Highgrove, Charles said: 'I particularly wanted to say that my father, for I suppose the last 70 years, has given the most remarkable, devoted service to The Queen, to my family and to the country, but also to the whole of the Commonwealth.

'As you can imagine, my family and I miss my father enormously. He was a much loved and appreciated figure and apart from anything else, I can imagine, he would be so deeply touched by the number of other people here and elsewhere around the world and the Commonwealth, who also I think, share our loss and our sorrow.

'My dear Papa was a very special person who I think above all else would have been amazed by the reaction and the touching things that have been said about him and from that point of view we are, my family, deeply grateful for all that.

'It will sustain us in this particular loss and at this particularly sad time. Thank you.'

Prince Andrew was also in attendance at the service and said the Queen had described the loss of her husband as 'having left a huge void in her life'. Pictured: Prince Andrew (right) with Sophie on Sunday

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'

The Earl and Countess of Wessex, with their daughter Lady Louise Windsor, talk to Cannon Martin Poll, Domestic Chaplin to Her Majesty The Queen

Canon Martin Poll, chaplain to Windsor Great Park, greeted Edward, Sophie, their teenage daughter and Andrew before the service

A specially modified Land Rover, Naval procession and royal mourning: Prince Philip's funeral details are released by palace 

The duke's coffin, accompanied by the Dean of Windsor and the Lord Chamberlain, will be moved to the State Entrance of Windsor Castle by a Bearer Party of The Queen's Company, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards.

The coffin will emerge and the Bearer Party will place it onto a specially modified Land Rover, which Philip helped to design, to transport it to St George's Chapel.

The procession from the state entrance to the West Steps of the chapel will take eight minutes.

The Prince of Wales and members of the royal family will take part in the procession on foot, immediately behind the duke's coffin, together with staff from Philip's household.

The route of the procession will be lined by representatives drawn from the Royal Navy, the Royal Marines, the Highlanders, 4th Battalion Royal Regiment of Scotland and the Royal Air Force.

Minute guns will be fired by the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery from the east lawn of Windsor Castle for the duration of the procession, and the Curfew Tower Bell will toll.

A Guard of Honour and Band from The Rifles will receive the coffin at the foot of the West Steps, with the national anthem being played as the coffin enters Horseshoe Cloister.

A bearing party of Royal Marines will carry the coffin up the steps and pause for the minute's silence.

Following the minute's silence, the Dean of Windsor, together with the Archbishop of Canterbury, will receive the coffin at the top of the West Steps.

In keeping with coronavirus guidelines to limit guests inside the chapel, most of the procession will not enter the chapel, except for members of the royal family, and the duke's private secretary Archie Miller Bakewell.

The funeral service will begin as the coffin enters St George's Chapel.

Separately, Edward added that his mother was 'bearing up' and the royal family appreciated 'the wave of affection' for the Duke of Edinburgh from the public since his death was announced on Friday.

The earl said: 'That wave of affection for him and just those lovely stories. They just mean so much and the tributes have been just fantastic. That's really, really important and we really do appreciate it.' 

Referring to the warm wishes that have poured in from around the world, Sophie said it had been 'so lovely for so many people to learn about what he did'. She added: 'I just think quite a lot of things that have come out will have surprised some people and how intrinsic he was to every element of society, if you look at it.'

The couple recalled some of the scrapes Philip got into while carriage driving around the Windsor estate. Smiling, Sophie said Philip had been 'pulled out of a few ditches here I seem to remember as well'.

Laughing, Edward said: 'In the early days, yes, he used to have a few problems.' Sophie added: 'More recently too.' Philip took up carriage driving after being forced to retire from polo in 1971 due to a wrist injury.

He was driving competitively just two years later and would go on to teach Sophie, while Lady Louise is also a keen participant. The sport can be dangerous and Philip had what he dubbed his own 'annus horribilis' in 1994 with 'no less than eight disasters'.   

The Duke of York, who stepped down from royal duties after his interview with BBC journalist Emily Maitlis, revealed how the 'incredibly stoic' Queen had described the loss of her husband as having 'left a huge void in her life'. He said Philip's death has left the 94-year-old monarch grieving, adding: 'She is feeling it more than anyone.'  

Andrew said 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.'

He said of the Queen: '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.'   

The Duke of York also added: 'It's a terrible loss. My father said to me on the telephone a few months ago, ''We are all in the same boat and we must always remember that, but occasionally we, the family, are asked to stand up and show compassion and leadership''. 

'And unfortunately, with my father's death, it has brought it home to me, not just our loss, but actually the loss that everybody else has felt, for so many people who have died and lost loved ones during the pandemic. And so, we are all in the same boat - slightly different circumstances because he didn't die from Covid, but we're all feeling a great sense of loss.' 

Anne said: 'His ability to treat every person as an individual in their own right with their own skills comes through all the organisations with which he was involved. I regard it as an honour and a privilege to have been asked to follow in his footsteps and it has been a pleasure to have kept him in touch with their activities.

'I know how much he meant to them, in the UK, across the Commonwealth and in the wider world.  

'I would like to emphasise how much the family appreciate the messages and memories of so many people whose lives he also touched. We will miss him but he leaves a legacy which can inspire us all.' 

Canon Martin Poll, chaplain to Windsor Great Park, greeted Edward, Sophie, their teenage daughter and Andrew before the service yesterday. 

Looking sombre and reflective, the royal party spoke to workers from the Windsor estate and the congregation when they arrived at All Saints, which the Queen normally attends outside of lockdown.

The royals thanked everyone for their support particularly over the last few days following the duke's death on Friday.  

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

Flowers and tributes to Prince Philip have continued to be placed outside the gates of both Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, two days after his death

A woman outside of Windsor Castle this morning is seen shedding a tear as she pays her respects to Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II

A note has been left tied to this cap outside Windsor Castle and alongside floral tributes. The note says that the Duke of Edinburgh was 'an example to us all'

'Rest in peace sir': Mourners also visited the gates of Buckingham Palace this morning in order to leave flowers and personal notes

A man bows his head in respect outside of Windsor Castle this morning as he pays tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh, who died on April 9

On top of flowers, stuffed toys were also placed outside of royal residences this morning. This one was placed down alongside a personal note

A mourner holds her hands together in prayer as she stands outside the gates of Windsor Castle this morning paying her respects to Prince Philip

Adding to the huge number of flowers lining the gates of Windsor Castle this morning, a young boy is seen gently tossing his own bunch onto the pile

Members of the public gathered to view the floral tributes to Prince Philip who died at age 99 this week

Prince Harry can leave quarantine for funeral on compassionate grounds

The Duke of Sussex will be able attend Prince Philip's funeral by a leave quarantine on 'compassionate' grounds.

The palace confirmed on Saturday the duke would fly back to the UK for the service, although heavily pregnant Meghan has been advised against flying by her doctor. 

But as the Duke of Edinburgh's funeral is due to take place next Saturday, Harry would not have time to complete the quarantine period.

The rules, however, do allow a person to temporarily leave their place of quarantine on compassionate grounds - which includes funerals.

'This includes attending a funeral of a household member, a close family member or a friend (if neither household member or close family member can attend the funeral).'

It adds: 'You must continue to self-isolate at all other times.'

Harry will have to return a negative coronavirus test result in the three days before travel, and complete a passenger locator form with details of where he will be spending his quarantine.

He will also have to book a travel test package, which involves two tests - one to be taken on or before the second day of his quarantine, and the second on or after his eighth day of quarantine. 

Harry could also participate in the 'Test to Release' scheme. Under the scheme, if he pays for a £130 private test from an approved supplier five days into quarantine, he may be free to leave if the result is negative. 

If Harry were to break the quarantine rules, he risks a penalty of up to £10,000, and if he fails to take the tests on day two and day eight, he could be fined a maximum of £2,000. 

Philip's funeral at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, next Saturday will be like no other royal funeral, 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 has announced 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 Archbishop of Canterbury also led a solemn remembrance service for Prince Philip at Canterbury Cathedral yesterday. 

The service started at 10.30am with Justin Welby paying tribute to the duke after his death on Friday morning. 

It was a small, socially distanced gathering with the Queen represented by Lady Colgrain, the Lord-Lieutenant of Kent. Also in attendance was the High Sheriff of Kent, the Lord Mayor of Kent, the Sheriff of Canterbury and the chief executive of Canterbury. 

Edward Elgar's stirring Nimrod was played, the piece of music that accompanies many British funerals and memorial services and is played annually at the Cenotaph in London to mark the National Service of Remembrance.  

In his sermon, the Archbishop said that the Duke of Edinburgh had a 'remarkable willingness' to 'take the hand he was dealt in life'. However, he added that the Duke 'would have been the first to harrumph strongly at over-spiritualisation of himself'. 

The Reverend Canon Tim Naish spoke after the Archbishop and added: 'We pray for all those who mourn Prince Philip's death. We pray for comfort and strength for Elizabeth our Queen.' 

Marking the third of eight days of national morning, people also gathered at royal palaces to leave flowers despite calls from the palace and the government to stay away to maintain social distancing guidelines. 

Paying tribute to the late Duke at the special service, Mr Welby said: 'It is God who creates, God who calls, and God who sends. For His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh, there was a willingness, a remarkable willingness, to take the hand he was dealt in life, and straightforwardly to follow its call. To search its meaning, to go out and on as sent, to inquire and think, to trust and to pray. 

He added: 'For the royal family, as for every other, no words can reach into the depth of sorrow that goes into bereavement. We all know that it is not simply a factor of age or familiarity. It is not obliterated by the reality of a very long life remarkably led, nor is the predictability of death's arrival a softening of the blow. Loss is loss.'

The archbishop urged prayers for the family and others who are grieving. 

He said: 'Our lives are not completed before death, but their eternity is prepared. So we can indeed pray that the Duke of Edinburgh may rest in peace and rise in glory. We may pray for comfort. We may pray and offer love for all who find that a great life leaves a very great gap. 

'For the royal family and the millions who have themselves suffered loss, we can know that the presence of Christ will bring peace, and the light of Christ will shine strongly, and it is in that light that we can strengthen one another with eternal hope.'

The Duke will be taken to St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle on a Land Rover he helped to design, and will be flanked by pall bearers from the Royal Marines, Regiments, Corps and Air Stations. 

The decision to carry Philip in the custom-built car comes after he is said to have told the Queen: 'Just stick me in the back of a Land Rover and drive me to Windsor.'

Immediately behind the Land Rover, the Prince of Wales and other members of the family, likely to be the Duke's other children and some of his grandchildren including Harry and William, will proceed on foot.

Prince Harry will travel to the UK to be with his family for the service, but his pregnant wife Meghan will remain at their home in California after being advised not to travel by her doctor. 

Official royal mourning will then take place for two weeks after the funeral.  Only 30 people - expected to be the Duke's children, grandchildren and other close family - will attend as guests. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will not be among guests, having stepped aside to allow for the attendance of as many family members as possible during coronavirus restrictions, No 10 said last night.  

The Land Rover's poignant role in the funeral proceedings always formed part of Operation Forth Bridge - the codename given to the plans following Philip's death. 

A senior Palace official said: 'The Duke of Edinburgh had a hand many years ago in the design of these vehicles.' The official added that there were two Land Rovers for 'belt and braces'.

The Queen has approved the Prime Minister's recommendation of national mourning, which began on April 9 and runs until and including the day of the funeral.  

Originally 800 people would have been due to gather to pay their respects to the nation's longest serving consort, but Philip is known to have wanted a low key affair. 

The first guest confirmed by the palace was the duke's long-standing close aide, his private secretary Brigadier Archie Miller Bakewell, who will be one of the few, and possibly only, non-royals invited to attend.

Brigadier Miller Bakewell had been the Duke's right hand man for 11 years, taking on the role in 2010. 

And brothers William and Harry are expected to stand 'shoulder to shoulder' a they come together for the first time since Harry's bombshell Oprah interview.   

All public elements of the funeral have been cancelled, and it will be televised but take place entirely in the grounds of the castle, the Palace said. 

The Queen has decided the royal family will enter two weeks of royal mourning, and engagements will continue appropriate to the circumstances, a senior royal official said.

Army engineers began preparing Philip's Land Rover hearse in his last weeks: Final checks started on modified design for Duke's funeral during his month-long stay in hospital

Army engineers rushed to prepare the modified Land Rover Prince Philip helped design as his own hearse just hours after he was admitted to hospital in February, it was revealed today. 

A team from the Corps of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) were deployed from their base at MOD Lyneham, Wiltshire, when the Duke of Edinburgh went into the King Edward VII's Hospital in Marylebone in February.

Philip is believed to have worked with soldiers from REME to modify two Land Rover Defenders to carry his coffin 'some time ago', having famously told his wife the Queen: 'Just stick me in the back of a Land Rover and drive me to Windsor.'

Once he fell ill two months ago Army mechanics were sent to replace parts and run safety checks on the vehicles - one black and one green - at an unnamed site where they have been kept in storage for several years, according to the Daily Telegraph.   

Philip, Colonel-in-Chief of REME, is believed to have designed the vehicles personally, including the option of an open roof for use in good weather. One MoD source told MailOnline that the vehicle is also likely to have been armour-plated.

The Duke of Edinburgh's funeral has been massively scaled back because of the Covid-19 pandemic. A special Land Rover would have carried the Duke’s body 23-miles from Wellington Arch at Hyde Park Corner to St George’s Chapel in the grounds of Windsor Castle.

Now it will only travel from the castle to the church, where only 30 guests are allowed.

Prince Phillip's Land Rover Defender 130 Gun Bus being driven around Sandringham in Norfolk by Princess Anne's husband Timothy Laurence in 2020. A team of Army engineers are said to have been working on one modified by Philip to be a hearse as soon as he was admitted to hospital

Prince Philip is seen in a Land Rover talking to Queen in 2018, having already planned and designed the unusual hearse that would carry him

Prince Philip was Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME), who are based at MOD Lyneham in Wiltshire (pictured)

Having spent most of his life breaking the royal mould, the Duke of Edinburgh will do so again one last time this Saturday when he takes his final journey on the back of a Land Rover he helped design as a hearse

Princes William and Harry and other senior members of the Royal Family will follow on foot as it driven to nearby St George’s Chapel before Saturday’s funeral. The Queen will not take part in the procession.

Prince Philip's final nod to Australia: How Duke of Edinburgh's funeral will pay tribute to the country he first visited as a teenager in the Royal Navy 

Prince Philip first sailed into Sydney Harbour on March 14, 1940, as an 18-year-old on the British battleship HMS Ramillies. He is in the front row, second from the left.

An Australian representative will stand in front of St George's Chapel for Prince Philip's funeral as part of the Duke of Edinburgh's wish to recognise the country he first visited as a teenager in the Royal Navy.  

Prince Philip, who died peacefully in his sleep aged 99 on Friday, will be farewelled at the 15th century chapel at Windsor Castle on Saturday.

Australia's Defence Advisor in the UK, Commodore Guy Holthouse will reportedly be positioned in front of the chapel as part of Prince Philip's final homage to Australia.

Mr Holthouse met the Queen as recently as March 31 at an event marking the 100th anniversary of the Royal Australian Air Force.

Representatives of other Commonwealth nations including Canada, New Zealand and Trinidad and Tobago will also guard the chapel. 

Prince Philip, who was due to turn 100 on June 10 this year, visited Australia on more than 20 occasions during his life.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced he will not be present to allow as many of Prince Philip’s family as possible to attend amid Covid-19 restrictions, which limit the number of guests to 30.

In a royal funeral like no other, the Queen and her family will wear face masks and maintain social distancing at the service, which will be televised live.

But a Buckingham Palace spokesman insisted that the send-off still reflects the personal wishes of Prince Philip who had meticulously planned his funeral.

The spokesman confirmed that it would not be a state occasion, which are normally reserved for sovereigns, but a ceremonial royal funeral in line with the Queen Mother’s in 2002.

‘This event will be much reduced in scale with no public access. In line with Government guidelines and public health measures, there will be no public processions and the Duke’s funeral will take place entirely within the grounds of Windsor Castle,’ he said.

‘The plans have been given final approval by the Queen and reflect appropriately Government advice. Despite these necessary changes, they still very much reflect the personal wishes of the Duke.

‘Although the ceremonial arrangements are reduced, the occasion will still celebrate and recognise the Duke’s life and his more than 70 years of service to the Queen, the UK and the Commonwealth.’

Buckingham Palace will release full details of the service and guest list on Thursday, when it is understood there will be a dress rehearsal.

The Duke currently lies at rest in the private chapel of Windsor Castle. His body will not lie in state - where members of the public would have been able to view his coffin.

On Saturday, the Duke’s coffin, accompanied by the Dean of Windsor and the Lord Chamberlain, will be moved to the State Entrance of Windsor Castle by a Bearer Party of The Queen’s Company, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards.

The party will place the coffin in the Land Rover - believed to be a modified Defender 130 Gun Bus that was commissioned in 2005 - at 2.40pm.

A senior Palace official said: ‘The Duke of Edinburgh had a hand many years ago in the design of these vehicles’. He added that there were two Land Rovers for ‘belt and braces’.

On the grass in the Castle’s Quadrangle will be representative detachments drawn from Philip’s military special relationships. The Quadrangle will also be lined by the Household Cavalry and The Foot Guards.

At 2.45pm the Band of the Grenadier Guards, of which Philip was Colonel for 42 years, will lead the eight-minute procession to St George’s Chapel.

They will be followed by the Major General’s Party, and then the Service Chiefs, reflecting His Royal Highness’s close relationship with the military.

The Prince of Wales and other senior Royals will follow the Land Rover bearing the Duke’s coffin - draped in his personal standard, a wreath of flowers and his naval cap and sword - on foot.

Philips’ private secretary, Archie Miller Bakewell, one of his protection officers, two of his pages and two of his valets will bring up the rear of the procession.

Buckingham Palace announced that a 'specially modified' Land Rover Defender, which the Duke himself helped design, will carry his coffin on its final journey on Saturday (Picture of the type of vehicle it could be)

The Band of the Grenadier Guards, of which Philip was Colonel for 42 years, will lead the procession to St George's Chapel, followed by the Major General's Party, and then the Service Chiefs, reflecting His Royal Highness's close relationship with the military 

In a Royal funeral like no other, the eight-minute procession will begin at the state entrance of Windsor Castle, ending at nearby St George's Chapel

Minute guns will be fired by the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery from the east lawn of Windsor Castle for the duration of the procession, and the Curfew Tower Bell will toll.

The procession will end at nearby St George’s Chapel for the service, which will begin with a national minute’s silence at 3pm.

The no-frills service will be attended by just 30 members of the Royal Family - including the Duke’s children and grandchildren.

Prince Harry will fly from the Sussexes’ Californian mansion but Meghan, 39, who is heavily pregnant has been advised by her doctor not to travel to the UK.

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and David Conner, the Dean of Windsor, are expected to officiate at the service.

After the service, the duke will be interred in the Royal Vault of the chapel.

Go on Oprah? It's madness! No good will come of it: In the most revealing portrait of the Duke of Edinburgh you'll ever read, his friend of 40 years GYLES BRANDRETH says he sympathised with Harry and Meghan - but thought they were wrong

Prince Philip thought Harry and Meghan's interview with Oprah Winfrey was 'madness' and 'no good would come of it', it has emerged.

He also regretted his grandson's decision to quit royal duties and move to the US and said it was 'not the right thing, either for the country or for themselves'.

Ultimately, however, he accepted it and said: 'It's his life.'

Insights into Philip's thoughts on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's decision and the deeply acrimonious fall-out as a result of it have been aired by his impeccably connected biographer, Gyles Brandreth in today's Daily Mail.

His account comes as royal sources reacted angrily to the suggestion the Duke of Edinburgh would have been 'unbothered' by recent events. And one insider told the Mail they believed the schism created by the couple would take a 'lifetime' to heal.

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, the husband of Britain's Queen Elizabeth who had been at her side throughout her record-breaking 69-year reign, died aged 99 at Windsor Castle on April 9

No uniform for Harry at the funeral? 

Prince Harry is unlikely to wear a military uniform at his grandfather's funeral.

He was stripped of his role as Captain General of the Royal Marines, which he took over from Prince Philip, after deciding to quit royal duties last year. He also lost two other honorary military positions. This means he cannot wear the corresponding uniforms at official events.

It is likely he will dress like other former servicemen in a suit and medals. Harry spent ten years with the Household Cavalry (Blues and Royals), rising to the rank of lieutenant and served in Afghanistan. He wore his Blues and Royals uniform when he married Meghan at Windsor in 2018, pictured.

All other senior male royals are expected to attend in uniform apart from Prince Andrew.

In his account, Mr Brandreth described Harry and Meghan's plan to divide their time between the UK and North America in search of financial independence, while hoping to continue serving the Queen and the Commonwealth on their own terms, as 'naive'.

In the end the Queen, backed by Prince Charles and Prince William, made clear that this was impossible. Harry and Meghan would have to give up their official roles and would not be able to use their HRH titles for work purposes. Both the Queen and Harry were distressed at the outcome.

Mr Brandreth added: 'The Duke of Edinburgh was equally sorry 'that it should come to this'. Harry had only succeeded his grandfather as Captain General of the Royal Marines in 2017.

'Philip had done the job for 64 years. Harry had barely managed 30 months. The Duke of Edinburgh was not pleased, nor did he believe that Harry and Meghan were doing the right thing either for the country or for themselves.'

But Philip was sympathetic to Harry's distrust of the media and supportive of his desire to 'do his own thing in his own way'.

'He said to me: 'People have got to lead their lives as they think best',' Mr Brandreth said.

He added: 'I know from someone close to him that he thought Meghan and Harry's interview with Oprah Winfrey was 'madness' and 'no good would come of it'. I was not surprised because that is exactly how he described to me the personal TV interviews given by Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales, back in the 1990s.'

There has been much criticism that the Sussexes insisted on their explosive interview going ahead last month despite Philip lying seriously ill in hospital.

But Mr Brandreth said of this: 'The fact that the Meghan and Harry interview was aired while Philip was in hospital did not trouble him. What did worry him was the couple's preoccupation with their own problems and their willingness to talk about them in public. 'Give TV interviews by all means,' he said, 'but don't talk about yourself'.

'That was one of his rules. I know he shared it with his children. I imagine he shared it with his grandchildren, too.'

Ultimately, Philip loved Harry, admired him for his service career and thought him 'a good man'.

Prince Harry, left, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, in conversation with Oprah Winfrey, in an interview which aired March 7

People observe flowers outside Windsor castle, after Britain's Prince Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth, died at the age of 99, in Windsor, near London

Members of the public leave floral tributes to Prince Philip, Duke Of Edinburgh who died at age 99 outside of Windsor Castle on April 11

A woman outside of Windsor Castle this morning is seen shedding a tear as she pays her respects to Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II

Source close to couple said Meghan and Prince Harry were 'united in grief'. Pictured: During tell-all Oprah interview

He chose not to get involved with the Sandringham Summit, when details of the Sussexes' departure were thrashed out last year. Mr Brandreth said Philip responded to the rift by saying: 'I'll soon be out of it and not before time.'

Buckingham Palace has confirmed that Harry will attend Saturday's funeral – the first time he has seen any of his family for more than a year.

The last occasion was when he and Meghan attended the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey in March last year.

Meghan will not be attending because she is pregnant, said a spokesman for the couple.

All eyes will be on the body language between Harry and his family during the funeral.

While many hope that the death of Philip may serve to build bridges between Harry and his family, others are more pessimistic. One senior royal source said the situation might take 'decades' to resolve.

However, former prime minister Sir John Major told the BBC's Andrew Marr programme that he hoped the funeral would prove an 'ideal opportunity' to heal the rift.

No uniform for Prince Harry at the funeral? Duke of Sussex is expected to attend the service in a suit after being stripped of military roles following Megxit 

By REBECCA ENGLISH, ROYAL EDITOR FOR THE DAILY MAIL  

Prince Harry is unlikely to wear a military uniform at his grandfather's funeral.

He was stripped of his role as Captain General of the Royal Marines, which he took over from Prince Philip, after deciding to quit royal duties last year.

He also lost two other honorary military positions. This means he cannot wear the corresponding uniforms at official events.

Prince Harry (left) has a Blues and Royals military uniform which he wore when he married Meghan at Windsor Castle in May 2018

It is likely he will dress like other former servicemen in a suit and medals.

Harry spent ten years with the Household Cavalry (Blues and Royals), rising to the rank of lieutenant and served in Afghanistan.

He wore his Blues and Royals uniform when he married Meghan at Windsor in 2018.

Members of the Royal family (from left to right) Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Prince William and Prince Harry talk onboard the Spirit of Chartwell during the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant on the River Thames in London, June 03, 2012

Harry inspects a parade at RAF Honington in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, in July 2017 while wearing ceremonial uniform

Harry wears his Household Division ceremonial uniform during a visit to the Field of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey in November 2018

Other members of the Royal Family, notably Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cambridge and the Earl of Wessex are expected to attend in regimental dress.

The only other male senior royal in a suit is likely to be the Duke of York, who stepped back from public life in 2019 over his friendship with the late convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

Buckingham Palace has said it will confirm details later this week.

Prince Harry wears his dress uniform as Captain General of the Royal Marines as he attends the Mountbatten Festival of Music at the Royal Albert Hall in London with Meghan Markle on March 7, 2020, shortly before they stepped down as senior royals

So can Prince Charles cut it as CEO of the Firm? Heir to the throne might at last see the value of being pragmatic, writes RICHARD KAY and GEOFFREY LEVY

How often in life do you have to lose something to realise just how important it was to you? 

For much of his adult life, Prince Charles has been convinced his father didn’t understand him. 

Worse, he was certain Prince Philip viewed him as a disappointment who needed toughening up for kingship — and might never be tough enough.

This week, as Charles formally assumes new family responsibilities, he will be reflecting on his past bitterness, and wondering, perhaps, if he was wrong, and that Philip was right.

The fact is, the private Charles has a short fuse, and a temper, not dissimilar to his father’s. What has been particularly noticeable, is that as his parents aged and Charles’s responsibilities within the family have grown, so he has increasingly understood how right his father was

For although the Prince of Wales may not yet be king, no one can be under any illusions that, as the Queen heads towards her 95th birthday this month, a strong hand and a firm conviction are crucial for the long-term welfare of the monarchy.

That role falls to Charles. And with the pain and sadness over Prince Harry and Meghan’s exit from the Royal Family still raw — as well as the ongoing scandal of Prince Andrew’s extra-curricular activities that continue to reverberate around the world — it is he who has had to take charge.

Once this would have been Prince Philip’s dominion, and his children never underestimated his old Naval-style discipline.

So could the Prince of Wales, with his aesthetic tastes and his outwardly gentle nature, be capable of imposing a similar code of royal control?

The fact is, the private Charles has a short fuse, and a temper, not dissimilar to his father’s. 

What has been particularly noticeable, is that as his parents aged and Charles’s responsibilities within the family have grown, so he has increasingly understood how right his father was.

There was, according to insiders, one other topic between father and son: Philip’s instruction that with his life drawing to an end, it was Charles who must now serve the Queen as he had done instinctively for 73 years

All those discomforts suffered at Gordonstoun, the tough Scottish public school, and dressings down in front of his siblings have, in fact, prepared him rather well for the difficult years ahead — just as his father hoped.

Nothing illustrates better how the relationship between father and son evolved over the years than the urgency with which Charles hurried to see his ailing father when the Duke of Edinburgh was admitted to hospital in London in February.

This was the moment that confirmed the baton of head of the family had formally changed hands. 

No other family member was permitted to see the Duke during his lengthy stay at the King Edward VII hospital where he was being treated for an infection.

But Philip wanted his eldest son at his bedside. For Charles who has not been ‘bubbled’ with either of his parents at Windsor, it meant ignoring the strict social-distancing rules imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic. And when he emerged after spending 30 minutes with his father, he looked grim-faced.

No Palace bulletin was issued on what father and son discussed but with the crisis over Harry dominating the headlines, it seems inconceivable that the two figures — who had found themselves on opposite sides in so many domestic disputes — did not devote some of their time to it.

Once Charles would have been asking Philip what he should do about Harry. Now, it was Philip who was asking his eldest son what he was going to do about him.

There was, according to insiders, one other topic between father and son: Philip’s instruction that with his life drawing to an end, it was Charles who must now serve the Queen as he had done instinctively for 73 years.

What this means is protecting her from family and other distractions so her sole focus can be the wellbeing of the crown. After years as shadow monarch, Charles gets that.

How the father-son relationship had changed. For decades the two had largely communicated by nothing more personal than hand-written letters and inter-office memos.

They rarely met beyond the constraints of the traditional gatherings at Balmoral, Sandringham and Windsor, where neither ever seemed to find the time or inclination to share intimacies.

Whenever they did meet, tension and the threat of paternal rebuke always hovered between them. 

At times, Prince Philip complained of Charles’s ‘separateness’ from the rest of the family, not realising, perhaps, that he himself was probably the cause.

Things reached rock bottom in 2001 with publication of a biography to mark the Duke of Edinburgh’s 80th birthday. 

In it, an unflattering picture of Charles emerged, one in which his father viewed him as ‘precious, extravagant and lacking in the dedication . . . to make a good king’.

Although the damning remarks did not come directly from Philip, he had permitted members of his circle to speak to the author.

The Duke later wrote his son a letter of apology insisting they were not his views, and that if they were said they were uttered without his authorisation.

All the same, it did little to improve an atmosphere that had been soured ever since Charles’s collaboration with broadcaster Jonathan Dimbleby seven years earlier. 

Philip privately described Dimbleby’s biography as ‘turgid’, a mild description considering it portrayed him as a bully who had pressured Charles into marrying Lady Diana Spencer.

Friends of Charles likened the relationship with his father to that which existed between Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert, and his eldest son, the then Prince of Wales, Bertie, later King Edward VII.

Like Philip, Albert was ambitious for all his children and would never let Bertie be treated in a way that was superior to his siblings.

‘Albert’s doctrine was the monarchy above all without regard to public or political opinion,’ recalls a royal household figure. ‘Bertie, like the current Prince of Wales, recognised that the monarchy had to earn the public’s respect.’

As with Prince Albert and Bertie, Prince Philip found the young Charles’s frequently withdrawn behaviour irritating. He often rebuked him for what family friends would call ‘inconsequen- tial errors’.

Such treatment exacerbated Charles’s tendency to retreat even further into his boyhood shell. Compared with his outgoing sister Princess Anne, the Prince was timid and passive. When his father upbraided him for some inadequacy, he easily drew tears to his son’s eyes.

As a close royal family friend noted: ‘Philip was trying to bring up a son who could take over as king in a tough world. Charles wasn’t a cry-baby, but he was terribly sensitive. Philip didn’t realise.’

So the bonds of love were strained by impatience on one side and trepidation on the other.

But who would say now that Philip’s toughening up policy — especially sending the young prince to Gordonstoun, whose rough regime (‘Colditz in kilts’, Charles called it) — hasn’t worked?

It made Charles resolute enough to stand up to both his parents over Mrs Parker Bowles — ‘not negotiable’ was his mantra.

Even his father, who deplored the idea that his son was bedding the wife of a brother officer in the Brigade of Guards, came round to accepting her as his wife.

The reason? Prince Philip firmly believed that whoever sat on the throne did so with much more assurance with a spouse by their side, just as he had been to the Queen. 

Whatever else she had been, he reasoned, Camilla would be an excellent sounding board.

Now, there are certainly tough years ahead — too tough, it must be said, for the Queen to handle alone at her age.

She will lean now more than ever on her son and heir. For his part, the Prince of Wales, with Camilla at his side performing a mature role of sympathetic ear, will undoubtedly be crucial to his success.

In recent times, Charles has already begun — as de facto chief executive of ‘The Firm’ — to change things, slimming down the monarchy as he so presciently felt it needed to be years ago, ensuring that peripheral royals performed peripheral roles, roles that were just enough to keep them involved, small enough for them to have minor impact.

A major part of that slimming down has — perhaps fortuitously, as Charles might see it — already taken care of itself with the shocking controversies swirling around the Duke of York removing him from royal duties for the foreseeable future, perhaps for ever.

One has to wonder just what influence he can now bring to bear on William and, especially, Harry, whose activities have a significant effect on his own eventual smooth accession to the throne.

Indeed, one part of the slimming-down process he never bargained for was the impulsive departure of Harry from royal service, and he is understandably concerned at the effect this will have on William.

Growing up in a single-parent household, the two princes never took too much notice of him. And for his part, he was so absorbed in Camilla, making sure that the public would accept her, that he rather took his eye off the ball, leaving the two boys very much to their own devices.

As adults they continued to develop their own highly independent styles, so independent that in going their own ways as married men and royal ambassadors, that wonderful brotherly togetherness the world saw as they grew up without a mother melted away.

The rift between William and Harry has troubled Charles enormously. Privately, friends had always hoped that the death of their grandfather would bring the two princes to their senses and make them recognise what their father had always taken for granted — that they are a stronger unit when they are together.

Charles hates familial conflict largely because of his own run-ins with Prince Philip.

‘But he will have to risk confrontation now with the boys,’ says a family friend, ‘not especially with William and Catherine, but with Harry and Meghan who have been far, far too public about their problems.’

No matter what, Charles is desperate to avoid the debilitating family tensions that he experienced with his own father.

Undoubtedly he will fight to keep the family together. This will not be easy. William has matured into a man of independence with a clear understanding of where he is going, as much influenced by the grounded philosophy of his in-laws the Middletons as by his royal heritage.

Even so, how to maintain a relationship with the absent Harry, Meghan, grandson Archie — and a still-to-be born fifth grandchild —will be a far tougher test.

It is not just the physical gulf between the prince and his Los Angeles-based son, but the very different views Harry and his wife hold on the meaning of public service.

These, then, are the challenges that lie ahead for Charles — and he must now tackle them without the guidance of his father who, despite the flaws some saw in his character, was always a source of plain good sense.

As Prince Philip once opined rather sarcastically about his son: ‘He’s a romantic and I’m a pragmatist. That means we do see things differently. And because I don’t see things as a romantic would, I’m unfeeling.’

Prince Philip unfeeling? A man of such passion and intensity is, surely, hardly that. He never ascribed that adjective to Charles, but one can safely assume that it came from his eldest son during one of their heated exchanges.

No one, in any circumstances, is likely to call Charles unfeeling. But as he assumes the role of head of the family, he might see, at last, the value of being a pragmatist.

Remote South Pacific tribe who believe Prince Philip is their god and the incarnation of a volcano spirit pay their condolences to the Royal Family in a video message 

A tribe living on a remote South Pacific Island who believe Prince Philip is their god and the incarnation of a volcano spirit have offered their condolences to the Royal Family in a video message.

The Yaohnanen tribesmen and women on the Vanuatu island of Tanna are devastated with his death and have started a ritualistic mourning process that could last for weeks.

The islanders were asleep when the Duke of Edinburgh's death was announced to the world on Friday night and were up early to harvest yams the following morning. 

They were not aware of the tragic news until a woman from a nearby resort told them when they returned from their work on Saturday afternoon. 

The tribe's sorrow was immediately evident as women burst into tears and heartbroken men fell silent as they tried to comfort their children. 

Village chief Yapa said, holding a photo showing the tribesmen meeting the late Royal: 'In 2007 we were taken to England. The connection between the people on the Island of Tanna and the English people is very strong. We are sending condolence messages to the Royal Family and the people of England.'

Mary Niere, who works as an accountant at the White Grass Ocean Resort and Spa, told Daily Mail Australia the village was mostly empty when she arrived but there was an elderly man sitting at the nakamal - where the men meet and drink cava.

Yaohnanen tribesmen on the Pacific Island of Tanna, in Vanuatu, hold a framed photo of Prince Philip following the news of his death

The Yaohnanen tribeswomen console their children after learning of the news of Prince Philip

Ikunala village Chief Yapa holds photos of himself and four other local men with Prince Philip, taken during their 2007 trip to England

Inter-island flights operate from Port Vila to Tanna daily with Air Vanuatu. There is only one flight per day, departing in the morning, except for Thursdays and Saturdays when there are two flights daily departing early morning and early afternoon. This is where the tribe of 400 people live

'When I told him he was shocked and asked if I was telling the truth because he couldn't believe it,' she said.

'They had to send messages to the yam garden to get the people back and when the chief (Charlie) came and everyone found out. They were very, very sad.

'The men were silent and looking down. Many of the women were very emotional and crying a lot.'

Ms Niere said ritualistic wailing is a traditional custom on the island for those dealing with immense grief and could last for weeks.

For decades, the 400-strong community has worshipped Prince Philip, praying everyday that he would protect their banana and yam crops.

It's not entirely clear how the Prince, who never visited the island, came to be seen as a deity.

It's believed tribesmen had seen large portraits of him with Queen Elizabeth when they visited Port Vila in the 1960s, and impressed that he had married a 'powerful white queen' on the other side of the world, started to believe he was the incarnation of a volcano spirit who would one day return to Tanna.      

The Yaohnanen tribesmen hold a framed photograph of Prince Philip, which the Duke of Edinburgh had sent them

Yaohnanen children stand around a bucket of water following the news of Prince Philip's death

The closest the Duke came to the island was during a trip to the capital Port Vila in 1974. Back then Vanuatu was an Anglo-French colony named New Hebrides.

During the royal visit a warrior from Tanna named Chief Jack Naiva, and others, paddled 240km (150 miles) in a canoe to the capital to greet Prince Phillip as he disembarked the royal yacht Britannia. 

From there, the Prince's godlike status became even more cemented after Chief Naiva became convinced the Duke was sent from the heavens to protect the island and bring its people good fortune.

Inhabitants even speculated the divine intervention of Prince Philip helped to get Barack Obama - a black man - elected President of the United States in 2008, author Matthew Baylis revealed in his book about the Yaohnanen. 

They also praised him for keeping cyclones away.

The Yaohnanen tribespeople gather together as they collectively mourn the loss of Prince Philip

The Yaohnanen have begun their ritualistic mourning process, which could take several weeks

Ten thousand miles away in England, Prince Philip was well aware of the Yaohnanen's admiration for him.

Over the years he sent framed photographs of himself which were turned into a shrine at the village.

In a bizarre series of events, the Yaohnanen sent the Duke a traditional war club called a nal-nal used for hunting pigs and requested that Prince Philip take a picture with it.

The Duke obliged and snapped a photo with their cherished weapon but reportedly asked aids 'how on earth does one hold a nal-nal?' before posing with the deadly club.

The Palace sent the photograph across the world to Tanna in 1980 where it has been treated as a sacred item ever since.

Chief Charlie is now set to organise a traditional feast and ceremony to mourn Prince Philip's death.

The tribe had hoped the Prince would visit the island before his death but now they are certain his spirit will make its way to Tanna. 

'The ladies will come together and get some local food and then they will prepare lap-lap - pig that's cooked underground in banana leaves,' Ms Niere said'Men will bring cava and in the afternoon they will all eat it and share it together.'

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