Prince Philip's funeral will be 'toughest time' in Queen's life, says Archbishop

ITV News at Ten presenter Rageh Omaar hears from the Archbishop of Canterbury about his reflections on the Duke of Edinburgh

The Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral could be the most difficult period of the Queen’s life and all thoughts will be with her, The Archbishop of Canterbury has said.

Justin Welby will do the blessing at the service at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle on Saturday in a funeral that will be watched around the world.

Asked for what his thoughts are ahead of the service, Mr Welby said they are “essentially about Her Majesty the Queen most of all, and the rest of the family, but principally about her.”

Justin Welby says his thoughts are with the Queen and the rest of the family

“The queen is such a remarkable person,” he told ITV News.

“The longer her reign goes on, the more I hear people just awed by her. And it will – I’ve no doubt it is – [be] one of the greatest trials of her life, probably the greatest trial of her life.

“But she will, I am sure, be, as ever, herself. We can’t judge by looking at her, you never judge people at a funeral by how they behave, you simply let your heart go out to them, you pray for them, you sympathise with them, you love them in their suffering.

“But she will be as resilient, as courageous, as dignified as she always is in all circumstances. I think we will be, as usual, amazed by her.”

The Royal Rota - listen to our special episode on the life and legacy of the Duke of Edinburgh

Mr Welby spoke of the “profound sense of burden” the Queen will be feeling after losing her husband of 73 years.

To have a funeral in such restricted circumstances, he said, makes it all the more difficult.

“I think what’s important to get right is in heart and mind and prayer… to be present to God and present to those who are there,” he said of his role in the funeral service.

“It is to lift them as your pray for them before God. And to trust God that he will carry and strengthen them.”

Mr Welby had several occasions with the Duke, having led sermons at Sandringham before the Royal family – where he said Prince Philip would ask thorough questions.

The Archbishop remembers a funny exchange with the Duke

He recalled one moment in particular at a lunch at Windsor, where Mr Welby sat next to a woman with the Duke on the other side.

Following the meal, she said that she wished she brought a camera to take a picture of the name tags on the table – with hers in between the Archbishop’s and the Duke’s.

The Archbishop then said “sort of between the devil and the deep blue sea” – to which the Duke responded with a smile: “And which am I?”