Prince Philip funeral: Mourners pay tribute to Duke of Edinburgh and place flowers at Windsor Castle gates

Video report by ITV News Correspondent Rachel Younger

Members of the public visited Windsor Castle to place flowers at the gates and pay tribute ahead of the Duke of Edinburgh's funeral.

There were no large crowds seen in Windsor in the morning, but by midday, hundreds of people had gathered to pay their respects and watch the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery along the Long Walk.

Dozens of riders, wearing black, gold and red uniforms and carrying three guns, rode up to Cambridge Gate where tributes to Prince Philip have been laid.

Some mourners were seen wearing face masks with the duke's face.

People gather on the Long Walk as the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery make their way towards Windsor Castle

Artist Kaya Mar, 65, from south east London, took an oil painting of Prince Philip, which he painted last week.

He said: “I liked him, he was a lovely family man who will be missed.

“He was hard-working and dedicated to this country and I think people will finally realise his value. He was a good public servant and will be missed.”

Others came to place flowers outside the castle.

Kings Troop Royal Horse Artillery make their way up The Long Walk towards Windsor Castle

Jack Carson, 34, who lives locally, placed a bunch of flowers near Windsor Castle and said: “I’m going to watch the funeral service from home but I thought it would be nice to come down this morning to lay some flowers down.

“Philip was a fantastic public servant and will be missed by the people in this town."

Ian Mawhinney, 56, said the “country is missing out” on properly commemorating the duke's death but feels the Royal Family are “setting an example” by limiting numbers at the funeral.

He said: “I think it’s really important to mark the event. It’s been a very sombre time for the town. Living in Windsor you realise how much they do for the community and the country.

“You sense the loss more here. It’s been a very sombre few weeks.

Police hold back the crowds as a coach arrives outside St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle

“I’m quite torn about the measures… I think the country is missing out on something.

“I think the royal family are setting an example. Having a small event is not what they would have wanted but they will adapt and… honour (Philip) in their own way.”

Members of the regiment will fire guns from the east lawn of Windsor Castle as Philip’s coffin is taken from the castle to the chapel on Saturday afternoon.

A large police presence has been in place since Saturday morning to prepare for possible crowds. Dozens of armed police made preparations on the high street and swept areas along the Long Walk up to Cambridge Gate, and the walls of Windsor Castle.

Road signs in the area warned: “Avoid all non essential travel and do not gather at royal residences.”

The duke's funeral on the grounds of Windsor Castle on Saturday afternoon is to be one of the smallest events to mark the death of a senior member of the British monarchy due to Covid restrictions.

Police officers in Windsor on Saturday morning, ahead of the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh

Just 30 people will be allowed at the service in St George’s Chapel.

Tributes for Prince Philip have poured in from across country.

Royal biographer Robert Hardman said the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral plan “very much reflects the man – very unstuffy, unfussy”.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today, Mr Hardman said: “It is reduced but I don’t think it is any way diminished – the core elements are there.”

“You won’t hear a eulogy or any great address – it is very much what he wanted but all the way through it are those echo of his naval career which shaped him,” Mr Hardman said.

ITV News Reporter Chloe Keedy gives a rundown of what will happen at Prince Philip's funeral

The journalist recalled asking Philip about his legacy for a documentary, adding: “He sort of winced – he knew it was coming – and said, ‘I don’t want to talk about my legacy’.

“He actually said – it was his word – that it was indecent to talk about your legacy. He said: ‘it is not down to me to decide how I’m remembered, other people can decide that.'

“He said what he really wanted to do is make sure that life can go on for those who follow behind.”

Lord Chartres, a former bishop of London, said the duke had a “very practical” Christian faith.

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The retired Church of England bishop, who was understood to be close to Philip, told BBC Radio 4’s Today: “I always remember preaching on occasions which he was principal actor that the instruction would always come down: ‘No more than four minutes.’"

The peer described Philip as a “very questioning, curious and deeply committed person”.

He added the Queen would be under “extraordinary pressure” during the funeral as she mourns her husband in public.

Admiral Tony Radakin, the First Sea Lord, said the Duke of Edinburgh held a “very clear affection” for the military that was reciprocated.

Flowers left in tribute to Prince Philip outside St George's chapel on Friday Credit: PA

The chief of the naval staff told BBC Radio 4’s Today: “It is (a naval send-off at the duke’s funeral) but I think it is much bigger than that.

“I really do think that for all of us in the military, today is about a royal funeral and it is about playing our part in that, but it is for the Royal Air Force, the British Army and the Royal Navy, and to reflect our dignity and respect and the affection we all had for Prince Philip, and the very clear affection that he had for all of us.”

Admiral Radakin recalled how the duke was evacuated out of Greece at aged 18 months on HMS Calypso before later going on to embark on a “distinguished” career in the service.

Flowers and messages left at Windsor Castle the day before Prince Philip's funeral.

“He carried on these connections all the way through his life,” he said.

“He was captain general of the Royal Marines for 64 years, he was a Lord High Admiral from 2011 and then his final official engagement was with the Royal Marines when he was aged 96 at Buckingham Palace, so I think it is the consistency and the enduring connections and the affection, and how real they were, that means so much to us.”

One of the country’s top military commanders, General Sir Patrick Sanders, who was present at the rehearsal for the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral on Friday, said it was “difficult to stifle a tear” when he heard the hymns which will be played at the ceremony.

Watch Prince Philip - A Royal Funeral from 1.15pm on Saturday 17 April on ITV and

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