A poignant photograph of the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh relaxing together away from public duties has been released on the eve of Philip’s funeral.
The royal couple are pictured enjoying the stunning scenery of the Scottish Highlands, giving a glimpse of their lives away from protocol and ceremony.
Looking completely at ease and smiling warmly at the photographer, Philip and the Queen relax on the grass at the Coyles of Muick, a beauty spot near the town of Ballater in Aberdeenshire.
The duke lies back on a rug, propping himself up on his left elbow and has jauntily placed his hat on his right knee.
Beaming at the the Countess of Wessex - who took the picture in 2003 - the Queen, dressed in a tartan skirt, blouse and cardigan and a string of pearls, also sits on a rug.
It is thought the picture was taken when the couple were enjoying their traditional summer break at the Queen's nearby private estate of Balmoral.
The area is clearly a favourite spot for the Queen as she has named a corgi puppy, recently given to the monarch, Muick and it has a dorgi puppy playmate called Fergus - another Scottish name.
After 73 years of marriage, the Queen will say farewell to Philip during a televised funeral service at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle on Saturday, attended by a small group of close family and friends.
Covid regulations have reduced the scope of the service with public elements cancelled, mourners reduced from around 800 to just 30, and all guests wearing face masks and sitting apart.
The Prince of Wales and Princess Royal will lead the Duke of York, Earl of Wessex and other family members walking behind the duke’s coffin, carried on a Land Rover hearse he helped design, during the funeral procession which the Queen will join, travelling by car.
Royal brothers the Duke of Cambridge and Duke of Sussex, who have a troubled relationship, will not walk shoulder to shoulder but with their cousin Peter Phillips between them.
Among the mourners will be the Duchess of Cornwall, Duchess of Cambridge, Countess of Wessex and her children Viscount Severn and Lady Louise.
Zara and Mike Tindall, Princess Beatrice and her husband Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, Princess Eugenie and her husband Jack Brooksbank have been invited.
Also attending will be the children of the Queen’s sister Princess Margaret, three of Philip’s German relatives and his close friend Countess Mountbatten of Burma.
Philip’s “unwavering loyalty” to the Queen and “courage, fortitude and faith” will be hailed at his funeral.
No sermon will be delivered during the ceremonial royal service, in keeping with Philip’s wishes.
His love of the sea and long association with the Royal Navy permeates the Order of Service, with the music chosen by the duke including the hymn Eternal Father, Strong To Save - traditionally associated with seafarers and the maritime armed services.
The Dean of Windsor, in the Bidding, will pay tribute to Philip’s “kindness, humour and humanity”.
“With grateful hearts, we remember the many ways in which his long life has been a blessing to us,” he will say of Philip, who died aged 99 last Friday.
Met Office forecasters said the weather on Saturday afternoon will be very calm and settled with clear sunny spells and temperatures as high as 15C.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies