A golden radiance fell over the grounds of Windsor Castle this morning as sunrise broke on the day HRH Prince Philip will be laid to rest.
The eyes of the world will be on the royal residence now as the Queen says her last goodbye to the Duke of Edinburgh, her husband of 73 years.
In pre-pandemic times thousands of mourners would have gone to the Berkshire town to pay their respects, but the Royal Family, the Government and police are urging people to stay away.
Early this morning members of the armed forces, police, security and the media were taking up their posts around the castle ahead of this afternoon’s ceremony.
While much of the usual pageantry has been stripped back, Buckingham Palace says the funeral will still reflect Philip’s life of service and the plans he spent years fine-tuning.
Right down to the bespoke Land Rover hearse to carry his coffin, the event, code-named Operation Forth Bridge, will be done with military precision, leading up to the 3 pm service at St George’s Chapel.
The first glimpses inside the chapel reveal the Duke’s insignia, Field Marshal’s baton, RAF wings and decorations from Denmark and Greece resting on cushions at the altar.
The Queen, 94, will say a private farewell to her husband, who she once called her strength and stay, before his body is transported to the chapel tailed by a meagre procession including Philip’s four children and three grandsons.
Sources say she’s been the epitome of dignity this week, and the Archbishop of Canterbury paid tribute to her remarkable dignity and strength.
Justin Welby, who will praise Philip’s life of service to the nation and Commonwealth at the service, added that he hoped the nation prays for her and hopes for her to find strength in what must be an anguished moment.
The Dean of Windsor, in the Bidding, will commemorate his unfaltering loyalty to our Queen, and his service to the nation and the Commonwealth, by his courage, fortitude and faith.
It was a crisp Spring day at Windsor this morning, with sunshine forecast for most of the day, and signs have been erected about the town asking members of the public to stay away from Windsor and other royal residences.
Police patrols have been stepped up to enforce COVID rules, which ban large gatherings. Marshals have also been drafted in to assist and were observed trooping through the town in high vis jackets.