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Prince Philip: Military pays tribute to Duke of Edinburgh

Gun salutes to mark the death of the Duke of Edinburgh have taken place across the UK, in Gibraltar and from warships at sea.

Saluting batteries fired 41 rounds in cities including London, Edinburgh and Cardiff, and at Hillsborough Castle in County Down.

Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth II’s husband of 73 years, died on Friday at Windsor Castle. He was 99.

The Duke of York and the Earl of Wessex visited the Queen ahead of the salutes.

The Countess of Wessex said “the Queen has been amazing” as she left Windsor Castle with her husband.

It is understood that Prince Charles travelled there to visit his mother on Friday afternoon.

The Earl and Countess of Wessex spent about an hour at Windsor Castle on Saturday morning.

Royal Navy ships at sea, including HMS Diamond and HMS Montrose, also fired the salute in honour of the duke, who served as a naval officer during World War Two and held the office of Lord High Admiral.

Hundreds of people lined Tower Bridge in London, where members of the Honourable Artillery Company fired rounds from guns facing the Thames.

And the noise of gunfire echoed out from Edinburgh Castle, where more than 100 people gathered as the salute began.

First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Tony Radakin, the most senior officer in the Royal Navy, praised the duke’s “empathy, affection and engagement” with the fleet.

“His deep understanding of our values, standards and ethos made him such a close friend to the service for over eight decades,” he said.

Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope, who held the position from 2009 to 2013, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that Prince Philip was an “extremely talented sailor” who was “never shy” when it came to telling first sea lords where he thought they were going wrong.

And Admiral Sir Jonathon Band, Sir Mark’s predecessor, told BBC Breakfast that Saturday’s military tributes were “a way you say goodbye to great sailors”.

The duke was “constantly modernising” and “a great believer that the services have to reflect the society they serve”, he added.

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General Sir Nick Carter, Chief of the Defence Staff, said the duke had been a “great friend, inspiration and role model” for the armed forces.

“A life well lived, His Royal Highness leaves us with a legacy of indomitable spirit, steadfastness and an unshakeable sense of duty,” Sir Nick said.

Similar salutes were fired to mark the death of Queen Victoria in 1901 and Winston Churchill in 1965.

n Australia, a 41-gun salute was fired to mark Prince Philip’s death outside Parliament House in Canberra.

The New Zealand Army will pay tribute in the same way at Point Jerningham in Wellington on Sunday.

Final details of the duke’s funeral are also expected to be released this weekend.

The funeral will take place at St George’s Chapel, Windsor, but the arrangements have been amended in light of the coronavirus pandemic, the College of Arms said in a statement.

The duke will not have a state funeral and there will be no lying-in-state, in line with his wishes, it added.

Members of the public are “regretfully” requested not to attend due to the pandemic, and it is understood the Queen is considering modified funeral and ceremonial arrangements.

All UK government buildings have been told to fly official flags at half-mast in tribute to the duke until 08:00 on the day after the duke’s funeral.

Westminster Abbey tolled its tenor bell once every 60 seconds for 99 times from 18:00 on Friday, to honour each year of the duke’s life.

SourceBBC
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