The Earl and Countess of Wessex have taken time to look at floral tributes in Windsor ahead of the Duke of Edinburgh's funeral.
- Final preparations are underway in Windsor for the funeral of Prince Philip, tomorrow afternoon. And in the last few minutes, Prince Edward and the Countess of Wessex, along with their daughter, Lady Luis Windsor, they arrived at Windsor Castle to look at, as you can see, some of the floral tributes and the cards to the Duke of Edinburgh, that have been made outside the Chapel, where his funeral will be held.
We'll ask Ashna Hurynag, joins me now from Windsor. And Ashna, we saw rehearsals from the cavalry yesterday. Quite a few people out there on the long walk. Are people gathering there today?
ASHNA HURYNAG: There aren't as many people gathering today, has to be said, but there are still people coming to lay flowers. It is a beautiful sunny day here in Windsor. The day before, of course, the Duke's funeral. But there are still people milling around, many having picnics. But these pictures that we have had in, in the last few moments, for the first time, really, showing us inside the castle grounds, and what they are looking like.
And we can see the Wessex's, Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex, and the Countess of Wessex, his wife, Sophie, alongside their daughter, Lady Luis Windsor, walking through, that pretty impressive, I have to say, arrangement of flowers.
We know that in the last seven days since the Duke's passing, many members of the public have been coming up to the gates of Windsor and laying flowers. That is something the Royal Family have discouraged, but it hasn't stopped people from going and laying a number of flowers, cards, messages of support, at Royal residences. And this is what's happening to those flowers.
They are being taken inside, here at Windsor, inside the grounds and being laid out. As you can see, spread out very carefully, and in quite a beautiful fashion. The family, the Wessex family, taking their time to walk through the arrangement of flowers, having a read of the messages from the public. And all of them really offering their support to the royal family, but in particular, the Queen, who, in all of this, has lost her closest confidant. The person that was her strength and stay.
The Duke of Edinburgh, his funeral tomorrow, will be watched by millions across the world. And we saw yesterday that Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall were at Marlborough House, having a look at the flowers there, that have been picked up from Buckingham Palace. They had been placed there and they were reading some of the messages yesterday.
The Earl of Wessex is, of course, the youngest son of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. And in recent years, he has really taken on a bigger role when it comes to the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme. He is fronting that part of the organization. And he, among many of his statements about his father this week, spoke about how he may have departed the world but his spirit and his ethos lives on through the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme.
Many of those messages that I've been reading, are particularly offering those messages of support to the Queen. And that's something that the Royal Family have said they have been hugely touched by. They say that right across the country, not only in Windsor but the country, and also from people in the Commonwealth. They have really been given a huge amount of support this past week.
- Ashna, we're still looking at these pictures of the Wessex's looking at those beautiful flowers, arranged on the lawn outside St George's Chapel, within the grounds of Windsor. That is where the funeral is going to take place. We've heard now who's going to be in attendance, obviously scaled down considerably, because of coronavirus. Originally, it was meant to be 800 and now just 30.
ASHNA HURYNAG: Yeah, that's right. COVID really having an impact on the funeral tomorrow. As you said, there were meant to be 800 guests that would have normally come down for a state funeral like this. There would normally be dignitaries from right across the world, a number of huge names, including the wider royal family, as well.
For instance, take the Cambridges for example. You're going to have the Duke of Cambridge there, of course. His grandfather. We know the Duchess of Cambridge is in attendance too, but their children won't be there. But if COVID, for instance, wasn't in existence, then you would have had the whole family there. You would have had, you know, Prince George, Prince Louis, Charlotte, all of them there and in attendance.
And likewise too, COVID really impacting the fact that the Duke of Sussex, as we know, has had to self isolate and quarantine in the run up to tomorrow. He will also be there alongside, of course, the children of the Queen, the Duke of York, Prince Andrew is going to be there alongside the Wessex's, as well.
The Wessex's really taking time today and that's a pretty huge deal to, you know, step out the day before, in the case of the Earl of Wessex, the day before his father's funeral. And really taking a moment to, I think, in a very visual way, look at how much of an impact the Duke of Edinburgh has had on people.
That even despite the COVID restrictions, and it's important to note that they are saying that people should not be laying flowers, should not be coming to all residences. For example, tomorrow there won't be any public processions.
But the fact that the family have wanted to go out, and put on a brave face, and take it all in, take this moment in for their father. And read some of those messages which have been incredibly powerful for members of the public.