Published: 16:27, 11 April 2021
| Updated: 16:37, 11 April 2021
Former Kent schoolgirl Sophie, Countess of Wessex, has described the death of the Duke of Edinburgh as "if someone took him by the hand and off he went".
The wife of the Queen and Duke's youngest son, Prince Edward - who will eventually take over the Duke of Edinburgh's title - Sophie spoke touchingly to mourners outside Windsor Castle after visiting the monarch.
Despite calls not to attend royal sites due to Covid restrictions, many well-wishers have come to pay tribute to the Duke who died on Friday at the age of 99.
Sophie, who lived in Brenchley, near Tunbridge Wells, and attended Kent College in Pembury and West Kent College in Tonbridge, is known to be very close to her mother-in-law.
Speaking to those outside Windsor Castle, she 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'."
Sophie and the Earl of Wessex spoke with reporters after leaving a church service at the Royal Chapel of All Saints at Royal Lodge in Windsor earlier today with their daughter Lady Louise Windsor.
She said: “I just think quite a lot of things that have come out about the Duke of Edinburgh will have surprised some people and how intrinsic he was to every element of society, if you look at it.”
A special service at Canterbury Cathedral, conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury, took place earlier today.