Queen Elizabeth II found herself with a “huge void” in her life following the death of her husband, Prince Philip, according to their son, Prince Andrew.
Andrew, the third of the couple’s four children, spoke as well-wishers arrived to leave floral tributes outside the gates of the royal residence in memory of the monarch’s late husband. The royals attended the Chapel Royal of All Saints Church in Windsor with other family members, two days after Philip, 99, died at Windsor Castle.
Andrew said his mother “described him as having left a huge void in his life.”
“We have almost lost the grandfather of the nation,” he said. “And I’m very sorry and I support my mom, who probably feels it more than everyone else.
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Her younger brother Prince Edward called Philip’s death a “terrible shock” but said the 94-year-old queen “supported”. Edward’s wife, Sophie, said the monarch “thinks of others before herself.”
Edward, 57, added that the “extraordinary” tributes meant a lot to the royal family.
“It just shows that he might have been our father, our grandfather, our stepfather, but he meant so much to so many other people,” he said.
Palace and government officials have urged people not to come in person to pay their respects due to coronavirus restrictions on social gatherings. However, hundreds of people on Sunday brought notes, cards and flowers to the gates of Windsor Castle, located 20 miles west of London, while others paid their respects outside the Palace of Buckingham in the British capital.
Neil Loughton, founder of the Penny Farthing Club, rode his antique bicycle to the gates of the palace to pay homage to him.
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“I think there are things that are just important and need to be done. Ninety-nine years of life and over 70 years of service deserve some recognition, ”he said.
Philip’s funeral is scheduled to take place on April 17 at Windsor Castle. Only 30 people will be able to attend under the current coronavirus restrictions in England, but the lite service is expected to be broadcast live on television.
Philip’s grandson Prince Harry, who stepped down from royal duties last year and now lives in California, will attend the service along with other royals, palace officials said. His wife, Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, is pregnant and has been advised by her doctor not to make the trip.
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Members of the Royal Family have said they appreciate the outpouring of tributes and good wishes from the British and around the world to Philip, who was the Queen’s groom and support for more than seven decades of marriage.
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Andrew, 61, who has largely stayed away from the public since 2019 amid controversy over his friendship with the late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, also praised the “absolutely incredible tributes.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.