Prince Charles has spoken for the first time about the death of his “dear papa”, saying the royal family was missing Prince Philip “enormously” while deeply grateful for the public outpouring.
In a short address to media outside his home, Highgrove House, the Prince of Wales said his father would have been “amazed” at the reaction and “so deeply touched” by the messages of sorrow and support.
“My father, for I suppose the last 70 years, has given the most remarkable devoted service to the queen, to my family, to the country and also to the whole of the Commonwealth,” Charles said, wearing a black necktie of mourning.
“My dear Papa was a very special person who above all else would have been amazed by the reaction and the touching things that have been said about him.
“And from that point of view we are, my family, deeply grateful for all that. It will sustain us in this particular loss and at this particularly sad time.
“As you can imagine, my family and I miss my father enormously.”
His comments came as details of Prince Philip’s funeral arrangements were announced and it was confirmed Prince Harry would be attending the small family service but his wife Meghan would not.
Prince Harry will make the journey from the couple’s home in California and follow COVID-19 protocols for the trip and during his visit for his grandfather’s funeral on April 17.
It is understood that Meghan, who is pregnant with her second child, had made every effort to join her husband but was not given clearance to travel by her doctor.
Harry has not returned to the UK since stepping down as a senior royal just over a year ago.
It will also be the first time he has seen his family in person since his and Meghan’s bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey, in which they accused the royal family of racism and the institution of failing to support Meghan.
The two-hour interview was aired while Philip was in hospital after having heart surgery.
Prince Philip had not wanted a state funeral in the UK.
Only 30 people will attend the funeral at Windsor Castle, in line with COVID restrictions, with the guests expected to be his children, grandchildren and other close family.
Mourners coming from outside England are required to self-isolate for 10 days after they arrive.
But Harry will be entitled to leave his place of self-isolation on compassionate grounds to attend the funeral.
Members of the royal family, including the Prince of Wales, will walk behind the coffin at the funeral as his coffin is transported from Windsor Castle to St George’s Chapel.
The royal family will observe two weeks of mourning.
Services in Australia
Anglican churches, the Australian equivalent of the Church of England and the official religion of the British monarchy, will hold services to give thanks for the life of Prince Philip.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Governor-General David Hurley will attend St Andrew’s Cathedral in Sydney on Sunday.
St Paul’s Cathedral in Melbourne and St Peter’s Cathedral in Adelaide will hold special services in coming days.
Australians have sent thousands of condolence messages online via the government website pmc.gov.au, which will be forwarded to Buckingham Palace.
The Duke’s passing was marked with a 41-gun salute in Canberra on Saturday afternoon, in keeping with tradition being observed in other Commonwealth nations.
Flags were flown at half mast across the country on Saturday and will be again on the day of Prince Philip’s funeral in the United Kingdom.
Anecdotes and fond memories of Prince Philip flowed from Australian leaders including former prime minister John Howard, who said his death marked the end of a “partnership for the ages” – his marriage to the Queen – that lasted more than 70 years.
“Prince Philip was always destined to be two or three steps behind (the Queen), but he did that with extraordinary grace and flair and intelligence,” Mr Howard told reporters.
Prince Philip visited Australia 21 times, the first in 1940 before his marriage, as a midshipman aboard the battleship Ramillies.
Federal Labor opposition leader Anthony Albanese paid tribute to Prince Philip for establishing the Duke of Edinburgh Award in which more than 775,000 Australians, including his son, have participated.