29 March 2022

Tears and laughter at Philip’s memorial as friends and family say goodbye

29 March 2022

The Duke of Edinburgh’s memorial service provoked tears, laughter, nerves and relief as the occasion brought royalty and commoners together to remember one man.

Only a handful of Philip’s close family had attended his funeral last April, and when the opportunity came for hundreds of relatives, friends and colleagues to say goodbye, the moment overwhelmed one member of the congregation.

Princess Beatrice burst into tears as soon as the first hymn was sung, after the Queen had been escorted most of the way to her seat by the Duke of York.

Princess Beatrice became emotional during the service (Kirsty O’Connor/PA) (PA Wire)

Beatrice held her hand to her face, but was unable to hold back her tears, covering her face with her order of service.

She was comforted by husband Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, who placed his hand on his wife’s back as she reached for a tissue from her purse.

It was a big day for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s children Prince George and Princess Charlotte, making their first outing at a major church event.

William introduced his eight-year-old son to Westminster Abbey’s chapter, or governing body, lined up close to the great West Door. After the duke shook hands with the clergy the young royal, looking slightly nervous, did the same.

William and Kate with Prince George and Princess Charlotte (Richard Pohle/The Times/PA) (PA Wire)

Kate followed with Charlotte, aged six, putting a hand on her back and ushering her smiling daughter forward as she was introduced.

But Charlotte also looked a little apprehensive and at the end clutched her mother’s hand as they were led to their seats.

The day was for all those who had known the duke, and the faces ranged from King Felipe and Queen Letizia of Spain to the Queen’s head chef Mark Flanagan, and Philip’s former private secretary Brigadier Archibald Miller-Bakewell.

At the end of the service, as everyone streamed out by seniority, with the Queen leaving first, there was a problem at the West Door with the transport.

King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden had to wait for their bus back to the palace (Kirsty O’Connor/PA) (PA Wire)

The foreign heads of state, including King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden and Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, were left queuing up for their bus.

The European royals had been bused to Westminster Abbey and their ride back to Buckingham Palace had not arrived.

Former England rugby player Mike Tindall, married to the Queen’s granddaughter Zara, joked with the kings and queens and made some of them laugh as they waited.

A sense of relief was in the air when their coach pulled into view.

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