‘Queen has been amazing’, says Countess of Wessex as family visit monarch following Prince Philip’s death

Prince Edward and Sophie visit Windsor Castle

Queen has been 'amazing', says Countess of Wessex

Prince Andrew and Prince Edward visited the Queen at Windsor Castle on Saturday following the death of her husband and their father, Prince Philip.

Edward and Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, spent around an hour at the castle. The tearful countess told reporters “the queen has been amazing” as the couple left Windsor in a Land Rover.

Prince Andrew briefly waved at the crowd of mourners as he left. Prince Charles, the queen’s oldest child and heir to the throne, visited his mother on Friday.

In interviews recorded for broadcast after the duke’s death, Charles described his father’s life as an “astonishing achievement” while Edward said his father had a tough job that was carried out with the most “extraordinary flair”.

Princess Anne praised the “double act” her father maintained with the Queen. “Without him life will be completely different,” she said, adding that she would remember her father as an ever-present mentor.

Prince Andrew recalled how Philip used to read to the family in the evenings. “Like any family of the day your parents went out to work during the day, but in the evening ... we would get together, we would sit on the sofa as a group and he would read to us.”

The Queen is seeking solace from family and friends as she adjusts to life without her beloved husband. The monarch is said to be close to daughter-in-law Sophie and the countess will be a source of friendship for the monarch over the coming months.

Prince William will also be in constant contact, and the Prince Harry – despite the difficult relations with his family – is expected to travel to the UK for the funeral.

Coming together for Philip’s funeral could help heal any tensions between the royal family and Harry, a religious leader has said.

“Many a family gather and get over tension and broken relationships at the time of a funeral,” said Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales. “Something very profound unites them all again. And that would be true for this family, I’m sure.”

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s official website has been transformed into a memorial page to Philip. A short message states: “In loving memory of His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh.” It adds: “Thank you for your service ... you will be greatly missed.”

People queue outside Buckingham Palace to pay respects to Philip

The Queen’s other grandchildren Zara Tindall and Peter Phillips, and Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, will also offer their support to their grandmother, keeping in touch through telephone and video calls.

Guns have been fired across the UK and at sea in honour of the duke, who died on Friday at the age of 99. Saluting batteries began firing 41 rounds at one round every minute from 12 noon on Saturday in London, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Belfast and Commonwealth cities.

The public was encouraged to observe the gun salutes online or on television, rather than gather to watch outside, in line with plans for a pared-back funeral due to Covid restrictions.

However, a long queue of well-wishers wanting to leave flowers at Buckingham Palace formed on Saturday afternoon. The line snaked along the front of the palace gates towards Green Park, before turning to follow the edge of the Victoria Memorial.

The public are being allowed to approach the palace gates one by one to lay their tributes, in an effort to reduce the size of the crowd amid coronavirus restrictions.

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