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Defiant mourners continue to travel to Buckingham Palace to pay respects to Prince Philip

Mourners defied public health advice to stay at home and continued to lay flowers for Prince Philip at royal palaces through the night and from dawn today as Britain marks his death at the age of 99.

The bouquets, flowers, cards, Union Flags and balloons are being moved away by staff almost as soon as they are left – but royal aides insist they will all be saved and looked at by the Royal Family inside the grounds of Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace.  

The Duke of Edinburgh’s coffin is at Windsor, where the Queen is in residence, in Her Majesty’s private chapel of worship, before being moved to the nearby Albert Memorial Chapel today, where he will rest over the weekend. 

He is expected to be in the Royal Vault during his private family funeral at St George’s Chapel next Saturday, and will remain there until the Queen dies and they are buried together in the memorial chapel.

Details about Prince Philip’s ‘peaceful’ death have emerged, with his wife of 73-years understood to have been at his bedside when he slipped away yesterday morning after becoming gravely ill late on Thursday, according to the Daily Telegraph. 

The couple’s children then rushed to comfort their mother yesterday, with Prince Charles staying with the Queen until late last night.

Outside the castle the flowers, balloons and personal letters in his memory continue to arrive while mourners, some in tears or singing hymns, also paid their respects at the gates of Buckingham Palace. 

But royal officials stationed outside have urged mourners not to come with flowers, with the floral tributes being moved inside the castle grounds, where the Royal Family can admire them. Workers did the same in central London through the night to clear the huge piles of tributes.

However, despite the warnings, those who wish to remember 99-year-old Philip at the palaces where he lived, still come today, respecting social distancing and wearing masks.

Gun salutes marking the death of the Duke of Edinburgh are to take place across the UK, in Gibraltar and at sea at Midday. There will also be cannons firing across the Commonwealth, including Australia.

Saluting batteries will fire 41 rounds at one round every minute in cities including London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast, as well as Gibraltar and from Royal Navy warships, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said. 

Gun salutes have been fired to mark significant national events since as early as at least the 18th century.  They were used to mark the deaths of Queen Victoria in 1901 and Winston Churchill in 1965. The public is being encouraged to observe the gun salutes, which will be broadcast online and on television, from home.

And as tributes to the Queen’s husband poured in from around the globe, it also emerged:

  • Prince Philip spent his final days at Windsor, enjoying fresh air and spring sunshine, before becoming gravely ill on Thursday night. Her Majesty was with him when he died on Friday morning; 
  • Her Majesty’s sons rushed to comfort her yesterday. Prince Andrew, who lives in the grounds, arrived in the morning followed by Prince Edward and then Prince Charles; 
  • Prince Harry has spoken to his father the Prince of Wales and cousins Beatrice and Eugenie after Philip’s death and plans return to Britain – but pregnant Meghan Markle is expected to stay in California;

Mourners came to Buckingham Palace through the night and as dawn broke to lay flowers for Prince Philip, who died yesterday aged 99

Elaine and Maya Jamieson from Berkshire, leave flowers outside Windsor Castle this morning, where the Duke's coffin is resting in his wife's private chapel

Elaine and Maya Jamieson from Berkshire, leave flowers outside Windsor Castle this morning, where the Duke’s coffin is resting in his wife’s private chapel

Flowers continue to be laid at the gates at the top of Windsor's famous Long Walk despite warnings to stay away due to Covid restrictions

Flowers continue to be laid at the gates at the top of Windsor’s famous Long Walk despite warnings to stay away due to Covid restrictions

Buckingham Palace has staff who are moving tributes into the palace as they arrive, and are sweeping away squashed or dead blooms this morning

Buckingham Palace has staff who are moving tributes into the palace as they arrive, and are sweeping away squashed or dead blooms this morning

A mourner in a beret and mask arrived after 7am to pay her respects despite advice not to travel due to Covid restrictions

A mourner in a beret and mask arrived after 7am to pay her respects despite advice not to travel due to Covid restrictions

A woman gestures as she sings next to tributes left in honor of Britain's Prince Philip in front of Buckingham Palace

A woman gestures as she sings next to tributes left in honor of Britain’s Prince Philip in front of Buckingham Palace

A worker clears away the tributes, which are being taken  inside the royal palaces where Philip's family and aides will look at them

A worker clears away the tributes, which are being taken  inside the royal palaces where Philip’s family and aides will look at them

Windsor Castle staff stood silently at the entrance today as Britain mourns Prince Philip for a second day

Windsor Castle staff stood silently at the entrance today as Britain mourns Prince Philip for a second day

Carriagemen pause and pay their respects to Prince Philip, a man who was an accomplished horseman, polo player and carriage racer

Carriagemen pause and pay their respects to Prince Philip, a man who was an accomplished horseman, polo player and carriage racer

The flag at half mast at Buckingham Palace at dawn today, as Britain continues a period of eight days of mourning

The flag at half mast at Buckingham Palace at dawn today, as Britain continues a period of eight days of mourning

Tributes continued to be placed into the evening, as piles of flowers were left on the ground outside Buckingham Palace

Tributes continued to be placed into the evening, as piles of flowers were left on the ground outside Windsor Castle

The Mail understands that Philip's coffin was last night at the castle, where the Queen is in residence, most probably resting in her private chapel of worship. But over the weekend it is likely be moved to the Albert Memorial Chapel, which was built by Henry VII as a royal mausoleum. Philip's coffin is likely to lie there with little ceremony – resting on two simple wooden platforms called catafalques

The Mail understands that Philip’s coffin was last night at the castle, where the Queen is in residence, most probably resting in her private chapel of worship. But over the weekend it is likely be moved to the Albert Memorial Chapel, which was built by Henry VII as a royal mausoleum. Philip’s coffin is likely to lie there with little ceremony – resting on two simple wooden platforms called catafalques

Death Gun Salute will be fired at noon today to pay tribute to Prince Philip after Westminster Abbey tolls its bell 99 times in 99 minutes 

A Death Gun Salute will be fired at noon today to pay tribute to Prince Philip after Westminster Abbey tolled its bell 99 times in 99 minutes (file image)

A Death Gun Salute will be fired at noon today to pay tribute to Prince Philip after Westminster Abbey tolled its bell 99 times in 99 minutes (file image) 

A Death Gun Salute will be fired at noon today to pay tribute to Prince Philip after Westminster Abbey tolled its bell 99 times in 99 minutes. 

Saluting batteries will fire 41 rounds at one round every minute for 40 minutes at Cardiff Castle, Edinburgh Castle and Hillsborough Castle in Belfast and in Gibraltar, the Ministry of Defence said.

They will be fired at two locations in London – Woolwich Barracks and HM Tower of London. 

There will also be gun salutes at HM Naval Base Devonport and HM Naval Base Portsmouth, and on ships at sea including HMS Diamond and HMS Montrose.  

The gun salutes will take place behind closed doors, but broadcast online and on television, and the public are encouraged to observe them from home, the MoD said. 

It comes after Westminster Abbey tolled its tenor bell every 60 seconds, 99 times, at 6pm following the announcement of Prince Philip’s death yesterday.

The Queen is thought to have been at the bedside of her ‘beloved husband’ of 73 years Prince Philip when he passed away ‘peacefully’ at Windsor Castle yesterday.

The Duke of Edinburgh, the nation’s longest-serving consort, died in his private apartment just two months and a day before what would have been his 100th birthday.

Though palace officials declined to ‘go into any specifics’ about the nature of his passing, it is understood his frail condition worsened overnight on Thursday and that insiders had warned he was ‘gravely ill’. However, any talk of whisking the elderly duke to hospital was reportedly quickly dismissed by the Queen.

Philip, who recently spent a month being treated for an infection and a pre-existing heart condition, is thought to have died suddenly and unexpectedly, but peacefully in the company of his dear ‘Lilibet’. The Telegraph reported that the duke had wanted to pass away ‘in his own bed’ and ‘on his own terms’.

One well-placed source told the paper: ‘He spent most of the four weeks he was in hospital trying to get home. They operated on his heart in a bid to give him a little longer, maybe with the 100th birthday in mind. But he didn’t really care about that.’ They added: ‘There is no way he would have wanted to die in hospital.’

In a short but poignant statement at noon, Buckingham Palace said: ‘It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen announces the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

‘His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle. Further announcements will be made in due course. The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss.’

As tributes poured in from around the world, the Palace’s focus was on the royal family’s aching personal bereavement. ‘They are a family in mourning,’ one official said last night.

Prince Charles, the heir to the throne, was seen leaving Windsor Castle hours after the news of his father’s passing. The Prince of Wales, 72, drove from his Highgrove Estate in Gloucestershire to the 94-year-old monarch’s Berkshire residence ahead of the public announcement of the duke’s passing.

Sitting in the front passenger seat of a silver Tesla, the prince looked on as he pulled away. It is not known whether Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, had accompanied him on what is their 16th wedding anniversary.

A source close to Charles said he was ‘comforted’ by the fact he and his father had been in touch more regularly than ever in recent weeks and months – and that they ‘had said all the things that needed to be said’.

Philip’s funeral is set to be ‘next Saturday’ after eight days of national mourning: Prince won’t lie in state before ceremonial service at Windsor – as royals face dilemma over who to invite because of 30-person Covid rule 

Straight to the point in death as in life, the Duke of Edinburgh always insisted he wanted a funeral with minimal fuss.

His wish for what is known as a ‘royal ceremonial funeral’ similar to the Queen Mother’s – rather than a full state funeral – had already been granted.

But the pandemic will have a major impact upon those plans. Last night, the Queen and her senior officials were discussing how best to proceed.

With final approval down to Her Majesty, a decision is likely to be announced today.

Sources say it is almost certain, however, that any aspect of the arrangements likely to draw a crowd will not take place, meaning the ceremonial aspects will be limited and mourners will number no more than 30.

Under the previous plans – known in the royal household as ‘Forth Bridge’ – his body would have been embalmed immediately and taken to the Albert Memorial Chapel by St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.

The Mail understands that Philip’s coffin was last night at the castle, where the Queen is in residence, most probably resting in her private chapel of worship.

But over the weekend it is likely be moved to the Albert Memorial Chapel, which was built by Henry VII as a royal mausoleum. Philip’s coffin is likely to lie there with little ceremony – resting on two simple wooden platforms called catafalques.

Under pre-Covid plans, it would have been brought to London today by road and taken to St James’s Palace to reside temporarily in the intimate Chapel Royal.

The College of Arms said yesterday there will be no lying-in-state and Philip’s coffin would lie at rest at Windsor Castle ahead of his funeral in St George’ Chapel, most likely next Saturday.

It is likely to have been draped with his personal standard – which bears references to his Danish and Greek royal heritage, his Mountbatten roots and Edinburgh title – and a floral wreath from his family.

A vigil by his children – Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward – is likely to take place at Windsor.

On the day of his funeral, Philip’s coffin is expected to be carried by bearers from the Queen’s Company, First Battalion Grenadier Guards.

The duke will be placed on a gun carriage belonging to the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery, drawn by a Royal Navy gun crew. The carriage – a personal request by Philip – is the one that carried Queen Victoria at her funeral in 1901.

A planned cortege through Windsor is now unlikely to take place. But inside Windsor Castle, events are likely to be largely the same, but with fewer mourners.

The coffin will be met by a guard of honour from The Rifles and a band in Horseshoe Cloister, surrounded by houses built in the 15th century for the chapel’s ‘singing men’.

Twelve singers known as lay clerks still live there, and they will perform during the service, with a bell tolling throughout.

On the grass south of the West Gate will be Royal Navy pipers.

A bearer party of Royal Marines will carry the coffin into St George’s Chapel via the West Steps, lined by the Household Cavalry, where the Dean of Windsor and the Archbishop of Canterbury will wait.

The coffin will be taken into the Quire – the resting place of most of the monarchs buried at the chapel. Inside or under the Quire are Edward VII, Henry VI, Edward IV, George III, George IV and William IV, Henry VIII and Charles I.

Philip’s catafalque will be placed on a black marble slab, which is the entrance to the Royal Vault.

The hymns requested by the prince are believed to include his favourite seafarer’s anthem, For Those In Peril On The Sea. At the end of the service a Psalm and the ‘ashes to ashes’ text will be read as a piper plays a lament.

The coffin will be lowered into the Royal Vault and will remain there until the Queen dies and they are buried together in the memorial chapel.

The day after the funeral, flags will be brought back to full mast, although the Court will remain in mourning for three more weeks.

 

The source said: ‘It is some small comfort today that the prince was in much more regular contact with his father in recent weeks and months than he otherwise might have been. He was the only family member who was able to visit him in hospital and he was at Windsor as recently as the week before last. They spoke a great deal.’

Friends were at pains to point out that the relationship between father and son was also warmer than it had ever been. One said: ‘The idea that their relationship was strained, certainly in recent years, couldn’t have been further from the truth. And that’s an important thing to remember in all that is being written.

‘There was genuine love, affection and understanding there. Which is all anyone holds dear at the end.’

There was no immediate personal reaction from the wider Royal Family, such was their grief. But in a previously recorded tribute to his father, Philip’s youngest son Prince Edward told ITV: ‘My parents have been such a fantastic support to each other during all those years and all those events and all those tours and events overseas. To have someone that you confide in and smile about things that you perhaps could not in public.

‘To be able to share that is immensely important.’

Recalling his humour ‘which always came through and the twinkle in his eye’, Edward added that he would remember his father ‘for what he has done in his public life for all the organisations he has supported and influenced’. Philip’s daughter Princess Anne told the broadcaster: ‘Without him life will be completely different.’

Harry and Meghan posted a message on their website thanking the duke for his service. ‘You will be greatly missed,’ it read. The prince was last night said to be ‘likely’ to fly from his home in the US, although it is unclear whether his heavily pregnant wife will join him.

At around 10.40am there was a flurry of police activity at the castle before Prince Andrew, who lives closest at Royal Lodge on the Windsor estate, arrived at a back entrance to the Queen’s private apartments five minutes later. Then at 11.15am another family member, believed to be Prince Edward, arrived to console their devastated mother.

News of Philip’s death, after being confirmed by the on-call royal doctor and disseminated to members of the Royal Family, was relayed to the Prime Minister and relevant arms of government – via a simple message: ‘Forth Bridge is down’, the official codeword for the Duke of Edinburgh’s death. Around the country, Union flags began to be flown at half-mast and will remain so until after the funeral next Saturday.

Crowds of mourners left flowers in tribute to Prince Philip outside royal residences last night despite pleas by officials to stay away because of covid restrictions.

Thousands of members of the public arrived at Windsor Castle – where the Duke of Edinburgh passed away – over the course of the afternoon.

Hundreds stood in quiet reflection to look at floral tributes lined up outside the gates of Buckingham Palace.

At Sandringham, where the Duke spent much of his time after retiring from public life in 2017 until the onset of the pandemic, flowers, cards and poems were also left outside the main entrance to Sandringham House.

Mourners were seen in tears outside both the Palace and the castle – where bouquets began piling up in early afternoon despite the Cabinet Office and Royal Household requests not to lay flowers in view of the pandemic restrictions on non-essential travel and large gatherings.

With England gradually easing itself out of a national lockdown amid the Covid-19 crisis, officials are desperate to avoid crowds from forming on the scale of those seen when Diana, Princess of Wales died in 1997. Then, tens of thousands of bouquets were left at both Buckingham Palace and her former home, Kensington Palace.

A royal official stationed outside Windsor Castle urged mourners not to come with flowers, but said the floral tributes which had already been left would be moved inside the castle grounds, where the Royal Family could look at them.

Thousands of tributes were posted online with heartfelt words for Her Majesty – who was described by one well-wisher as having ‘lost the brightest jewel in her crown’.

Flags were flown at half-mast across the country while thousands flocked to Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle to leave flowers and mourn.  

But Palace officials and No10 encouraged the public not to congregate in large groups amid coronavirus restrictions, as mounted police asked people to obey socially distancing measures.

Gun salutes marking the death of the Duke of Edinburgh are to take place across the UK, in Gibraltar and at sea.

Saluting batteries will fire 41 rounds at one round every minute from midday in cities including London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast, as well as Gibraltar and from Royal Navy warships, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said.

Gun salutes have been fired to mark significant national events since as early as at least the 18th century.

They were used to mark the deaths of Queen Victoria in 1901 and Winston Churchill in 1965.

Families gather at the gates of Windsor Castle at the top of the Long Lane, with one woman bowing her head in tribute

Families gather at the gates of Windsor Castle at the top of the Long Lane, with one woman bowing her head in tribute

A child leaves flowers at Windsor with a drift of spring daffodils behind her this mornings

A child leaves flowers at Windsor with a drift of spring daffodils behind her this mornings

The bouquets and flowers are being regularly removed by royal staff due to the ongoing pandemic

The bouquets and flowers are being regularly removed by royal staff due to the ongoing pandemic

The public is being encouraged to observe the gun salutes, which will be broadcast online and on television, from home.

First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, the most senior officer in the Royal Navy, added to the tributes to Philip.

In a statement released on Saturday morning, he said: ‘His genuine empathy, affection and engagement with the Royal Navy resonated with us all.

‘His generous spirit, his delight in all aspects of the Naval Service, and his deep understanding of our values, standards and ethos made him such a close friend to the Service for over eight decades.’

In London, the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery will ride out from their base at Napier Lines, Woolwich Barracks, onto the Parade Ground.

There will be 71 horses, 36 of them pulling six 13-pounder field guns dating from the First World War.

The same guns were also fired for Philip’s wedding to the Queen in 1947 and at her Coronation six years later in 1953.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: ‘His Royal Highness Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh was a constant supporter and ambassador of the armed forces.

‘We celebrate his life of service and offer our condolences to Her Majesty the Queen and the royal family.’

Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir Nick Carter said: ‘His Royal Highness has been a great friend, inspiration and role model for the armed forces and he will be sorely missed.

‘The Duke of Edinburgh served among us during the Second World War, and he remained devoted to the Royal Navy and the armed forces as a whole.

‘A life well lived, His Royal Highness leaves us with a legacy of indomitable spirit, steadfastness and an unshakeable sense of duty. From all of us who serve today and who have served, thank you.’ 

A candle is seen among flowers outside Windsor Castle. Bouquets were left in tribute to Prince Philip

A candle is seen among flowers outside Windsor Castle. Bouquets were left in tribute to Prince Philip

A view of Windsor Castle, as people gathered to bring flowers after Britain's Prince Philip passed away

A view of Windsor Castle, as people gathered to bring flowers after Britain’s Prince Philip passed away

A man takes a photograph of a balloon and floral tributes left outside Buckingham Palace, London

A man takes a photograph of a balloon and floral tributes left outside Buckingham Palace, London

Floral tributes are left outside Buckingham Palace, following the announcement of the death of the Duke of Edinburgh at the age of 99

Floral tributes are left outside Buckingham Palace, following the announcement of the death of the Duke of Edinburgh at the age of 99

A young child holds a floral tribute as well-wishers take photographs at the gates of Buckingham Palace

A young child holds a floral tribute as well-wishers take photographs at the gates of Buckingham Palace

People react as they gather outside Buckingham Palace in central London on April 9 after the death of Prince Philip

People react as they gather outside Buckingham Palace in central London on April 9 after the death of Prince Philip

A young boy laid flowers at Cambridge Gate at Windsor Castle, Berkshire, following the announcement of the death of the Duke of Edinburgh

A young boy laid flowers at Cambridge Gate at Windsor Castle, Berkshire, following the announcement of the death of the Duke of Edinburgh

Mourners stand outside Buckingham Palace in central London today following the death of the Duke on Friday morning

Mourners stand outside Buckingham Palace in central London today following the death of the Duke on Friday morning

A boy leaves flowers next to a Union flag in front of the gate at Buckingham Palace in London, after the announcement of the death of Prince Philip

A boy leaves flowers next to a Union flag in front of the gate at Buckingham Palace in London, after the announcement of the death of Prince Philip

A mourner cries outside Buckingham Palace after the heartbreaking announced on Friday afternoon

A mourner cries outside Buckingham Palace after the heartbreaking announced on Friday afternoon

A woman wearing a Union flag face covering wipes away tears as she sits outside Windsor Castle on The Long Walk in Berkshire

A woman wearing a Union flag face covering wipes away tears as she sits outside Windsor Castle on The Long Walk in Berkshire

A mourner shed a tear outside Buckingham Palace after it was announced that Prince Philip had passed away

A mourner shed a tear outside Buckingham Palace after it was announced that Prince Philip had passed away

Windsor Castle saw children praying for the late Duke of Edinburgh today as crowds started to gather outside

Windsor Castle saw children praying for the late Duke of Edinburgh today as crowds started to gather outside

A lifelong supporter of the Royal Family comes to lay some flowers in memory of Prince Philip as members of the press stand around him

A lifelong supporter of the Royal Family comes to lay some flowers in memory of Prince Philip as members of the press stand around him

People gather outside Buckingham Palace, London, following the announcement of the death of the Duke of Edinburgh at the age of 99

People gather outside Buckingham Palace, London, following the announcement of the death of the Duke of Edinburgh at the age of 99

People gather outside Windsor Castle in Berkshire after the announcement regarding the death of Prince Philip on Friday

People gather outside Windsor Castle in Berkshire after the announcement regarding the death of Prince Philip on Friday

A young boy lays flowers in front of the gate of Buckingham Palace in London after the heartbreaking announcement today

A young boy lays flowers in front of the gate of Buckingham Palace in London after the heartbreaking announcement today

Windsor Castle is pictured as crowds start to gather outside following the announcement that HRH Prince Philip has died today

Windsor Castle is pictured as crowds start to gather outside following the announcement that HRH Prince Philip has died today

A Union Flag lies next to flowers outside Buckingham Palace in central London today as crowds gather to pay tribute to the late Prince

A Union Flag lies next to flowers outside Buckingham Palace in central London today as crowds gather to pay tribute to the late Prince

A woman arrives to lay a bunch of flowers outside Buckingham Palace in central London on Friday afternoon after the announcement of the death of Prince Philip

A woman arrives to lay a bunch of flowers outside Buckingham Palace in central London on Friday afternoon after the announcement of the death of Prince Philip

People prepare to leave flowers in front of the gate of Buckingham Palace in London, on Friday. Buckingham Palace officials say Prince Philip died this morning

People prepare to leave flowers in front of the gate of Buckingham Palace in London, on Friday. Buckingham Palace officials say Prince Philip died this morning

The Union flag flies half mast at The Tower of London on April 09 following the death of Prince Philip

The Union flag flies half mast at The Tower of London on April 09 following the death of Prince Philip

The flag flew half mast at Buckingham Palace after Prince Philip died. Visitors laid floral tributes

The flag flew half mast at Buckingham Palace after Prince Philip died. Visitors laid floral tributes

Flags are lowered to half mast following Prince Philip's death. The silhouette of the Houses of Parliament can be seen

Flags are lowered to half mast following Prince Philip’s death. The silhouette of the Houses of Parliament can be seen 

Union Flags fly at half-mast on top of Downing Street after it was announced Prince Philip died on Friday morning aged 99

Union Flags fly at half-mast on top of Downing Street after it was announced Prince Philip died on Friday morning aged 99

Balmoral Caslte lowered its flag to half mast today

Flags at half mast at Holyrood Palace where they changed to a larger Lion Rampant on the announcement of the death of Prince Philip

Flags at half mast at Balmoral (left) Holyrood Palace (right) in Scotland where they changed to a larger Lion Rampant on the announcement of the death of Prince Philip

The Union Flag flies at half mast to mark the death of the Duke Of Edinburgh at Edinburgh Castle in Scotland on Friday

The Union Flag flies at half mast to mark the death of the Duke Of Edinburgh at Edinburgh Castle in Scotland on Friday

A flag flies at half mast behind the stands in honour of the late Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, ahead of Ladies Day of the 2021 Randox Health Grand National Festival at Aintree Racecourse

The Duchy of Cornwall flag flies at half mast at their headquarters in Poundbury on Friday afternoon as the nation mourned

The Duchy of Cornwall flag flies at half mast at their headquarters in Poundbury on Friday afternoon as the nation mourned

An official notice announcing the death of Britain's Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh is placed on the gates of Buckingham Palace in central London

An official notice announcing the death of Britain’s Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh is placed on the gates of Buckingham Palace in central London

Britons expressed their sorrow at the loss of the Duke of Edinburgh and passed on their good wishes to the Queen and the rest of the Royal Family

Many brought bunches of daffodils, tulips, lilies and roses to pay tribute to Prince Philip. 

Some left cards with poignant messages and poems. 

Others simply wanted to reflect on the royal’s life and achievements, their heads bowed in thought. 

Mourners were seen in tears outside both Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, where bouquets began piling up from early afternoon. 

There were similar scenes at Balmoral and Sandringham in Norfolk. 

A royal official stationed outside Windsor Castle said the floral tributes which had already been left would be moved inside the grounds where the Royal Family could look at them. 

In view of current pandemic restrictions on large gatherings, officials are desperate to prevent crowds from forming on the scale of those seen when Princess Diana died in 1997. 

Then, tens of thousands of bouquets were left at both Buckingham Palace and her former home, Kensington Palace. 

An emotional Sheila Reddicliffe, 78, from Windsor, laid flowers at the castle gates, saying: ‘I’m so upset. It’s very sad he didn’t reach 100. He had such a wonderful life. He’s been an absolute rock for this country.’ 

Some children left handmade cards with drawings and messages. 

One, from seven-year-old Haarys, read: ‘Dear Queen Elizabeth I’m sorry about your husband.’ 

Tayla Lawrence, Aroosa Hussain and Alayna Ismail, all 20, went on a three-day hike as part of the Duke of Edinburgh’s bronze award they completed while at Windsor Girls’ School together. 

Miss Lawrence said the scheme was ‘inspiring’ and helped her gain ‘map and directions skills’ she otherwise wouldn’t have learnt. 

The University of Surrey student said the duke’s legacy 

‘will live on through the award and all the students that do it’. 

British Airways employee Jan McMackin, 57, said: ‘We came here when we heard the sad news. We felt that they are quintessentially what Britain is all about, it is about duty and honour, we really wanted to come and pay our respects to both the Queen and Prince Philip.’ 

Outside Buckingham Palace, crowds gazed on the floral tributes lined up against the low wall. 

Maximilien Roesner, 24, who laid a bouquet of red roses by the front gates, said: ‘I’m absolutely saddened. He lived a life dedicated to service to the United Kingdom, and I think he is one of the strongest men and a truly inspirational person.’ 

At Sandringham, well-wishers left flowers at the foot of the wrought-iron Norwich Gates. 

Youngster Skyla Bates, who was accompanied by her grandmother Marlene Overson, 48, from nearby West Lynn, said: ‘I wanted to put flowers down for the Queen because she might be crying.’

Julie Hallifax, of Clenchwarton, Norfolk, who took her four children aged four to 11, to lay flowers, said of the duke: ‘He was just a lovely guy. I just remember him as a good old character who made everyone laugh.’ 

Flowers too were left outside the gates of Balmoral Castle. 

One bunch was wrapped in brown paper with the words: ‘May you rest in peace Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh. Thank you for your legacy.’ 

The sporting world also paid tribute with a two-minute silence at Aintree racecourse. Premier League footballers will wear black armbands this weekend.  

A woman called Charlotte captured the mood when she posted on Twitter: ‘What a life you led. I don’t think the Queen could have done it without you. You were the brightest jewel in her crown.’

Corra Linn wrote: ‘To give you an idea of my emotional state right now, I spent the morning crying to Fearless and it looks like I’ll be spending my afternoon crying about Prince Philip.’

A woman called Elizabeth posted: ‘Am not embarrassed to say I’m crying, and have poured a glass of Fizz to toast his amazing life of service Rest in Peace, Prince Philip.’

Andy Oddy put: ‘Politics aside you have to feel for the Queen as a human being. I recall when my own grandfather died aged 94 – it devastated my Gran after 72 years together.’

A man called Henry added: ‘Love is forever Red heart. No matter what your views are on the #RoyalFamily at this time Queen Elizabeth has just lost her soul mate of 73 years.

‘I can’t begin to imagine how devastated she must be feeling inside right now. Broken heart. Rest in eternal peace #PrincePhilip.’

A former butler to Princes Charles tweeted: ‘I am saddened to learn of the death of HRH Prince Philip The Duke of Edinburgh. A gentleman who I was proud to have served during my time in the Royal Household. I send my condolences to the Royal Family.’

Royal biographer Ingrid Stewart posted: ‘A very sad day indeed. Sending condolences to Her Majesty The Queen on the passing of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. He has been a constant strength and guide during her reign.’

Kate Jamieson put: ‘So, very sad to hear that Prince Philip has died. A man dedicated to Queen and Country in more ways than one. Fair winds and following seas.’

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