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Members of the public leave floral tributes to Prince Philip, Duke Of Edinburgh, outside of Windsor Castle in England on April 11, 2021.Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

British authorities have implored people to stay away from royal palaces as they mourn the death of Prince Philip in this time of COVID-19, but the crowds keep coming. Not just to honour him, but to support Queen Elizabeth, who lost her husband of 73 years.

Both palace and government officials urged people not to come in person to pay their respects but hundreds of people on Sunday brought notes, cards and flowers to the gates of Windsor Castle, located 32 kilometres west of London, while others laid tributes outside Buckingham Palace in the British capital.

Neil Loughton, founder of the Penny Farthing Club, rode his antique bicycle to the palace gates to pay tribute.

“I think that there are some things that are just important and need to be done. Ninety-nine years of life and more than 70 years of service deserves some recognition,” Mr. Loughton said.

The mix of people included children, seniors, Sikhs and the children of African immigrants. A cross-section of British society and admirers from abroad also descended on Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle on Saturday. They laid bouquets at the gates, offered prayers or just paused for a moment of reflection as they remembered a man who dedicated much of his life to public service.

Mourners talked about Philip’s work with some 780 charities and organizations, particularly his Duke of Edinburgh Award, which seeks to build confidence and resilience in young people. But they also recalled his role as the consummate royal consort, supporting the queen at thousands of public engagements and state visits.

“We had a really hard year, all of us, and there’s people uniting in a very special moment,” said Carolina Przeniewska, originally from Poland, who came to Buckingham Palace with her five-year-old daughter Grace. “So I wanted her to see it and I wanted to pay respect.”

Meanwhile, the death of Philip has left a “huge void” in Queen Elizabeth’s life, their son Andrew, Duke of York, said on Sunday.

Andrew, the third of the couple’s four children, attended church at the Royal Chapel of All Saints in Windsor along with other members of the Royal Family, two days after the Duke of Edinburgh died at Windsor Castle.

Andrew said his mother “described it as having left a huge void in her life.”

“We’ve lost, almost, the grandfather of the nation,” he said. “And I feel very sorry and supportive of my mother, who’s feeling it probably more than everybody else.”

Andrew has rarely been seen in public since he stepped down from official duties in 2019 over the controversy surrounding his association with the late disgraced U.S. financier Jeffrey Epstein.

Andrew’s younger brother, Edward, called Philip’s death a “dreadful shock” but said the 94-year-old queen was “bearing up.”

Edward’s wife, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, said the Queen was “thinking of others before herself.”

She said Philip’s death at Windsor Castle, which came three weeks after he was discharged from a month-long hospital stay, was “peaceful.”

“It was right for him and it was so gentle. It was just like someone took him by the hand and off he went,” Sophie told well-wishers. “It was very, very peaceful and that’s all you want for somebody, isn’t it?”

Philip, the son of a Greek prince, and the future queen first met as teenagers. They were married in 1947 when she was 21 and he was a 26-year-old naval officer.

Elizabeth became Queen when her father died in 1952. At her coronation, Philip swore to be his wife’s “liege man of life and limb” and settled into a life of supporting the monarch.

Philip retired from public life in 2017. At the time, he had conducted more than 22,000 public engagements on his own, given 5,496 speeches and made 637 solo trips abroad, in addition to countless more appearances by the Queen’s side.

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