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Royal family attend church as Philip is remembered in prayers

PA News

The Duke of Edinburgh has been remembered in prayers across the nation as members of the royal family joined a church congregation to mourn their loss.

The Earl and Countess of Wessex, with their daughter Lady Louise Windsor, were accompanied by the Duke of York when they attend the Sunday service at the Royal Chapel of All Saints at Royal Lodge, Windsor.

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby paid tribute to Philip during a remembrance service at Canterbury Cathedral and described the duke as someone who had a “remarkable willingness” to “take the hand he was dealt in life”.

The Duke of York attends the Sunday service (Steve Parsons/PA)
The Duke of York attends the Sunday service (Steve Parsons/PA)

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

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.

Philip’s funeral at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, next Saturday will be like no other, with the Queen and her family wearing face masks and socially distancing as they gather to say their final farewell amid coronavirus restrictions.

Speaking during the remembrance service at Canterbury Cathedral, the archbishop said of the duke: “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.”

The archbishop, who is expected to officiate at the funeral alongside David Conner, the Dean of Windsor, said bereavement is a “blow” for any family, and “loss is loss”, as he urged people to pray for the royals and others dealing with grief.

He told the congregation at the cathedral, and those watching online: “For the royal family, as for every other, no words can reach into the depth of sorrow that goes into bereavement.”

The Prince of Wales said the royal family is “deeply grateful” for the outpouring of support since Philip died peacefully in his sleep at Windsor Castle on Friday, two months before his 100th birthday.

Speaking from his Gloucestershire home of Highgrove a day after his father’s death, Charles said the support would “sustain us in this particular loss and at this particularly sad time”.

He paid tribute to his “dear Papa”, who he said had devoted himself to the Queen, his family and the country for 70 years.

The UK is officially in a period of national mourning for the next week, up to and including Philip’s ceremonial funeral on Saturday afternoon.

Only 30 people – expected to be the duke’s children, grandchildren and other close family – will attend as guests.

The Duchess of Sussex has been advised by her doctor not to travel to the UK for the funeral.

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

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