Prince Charles has paid a moving tribute to his father Prince Philip, calling him his “dear papa,” and “a very special person” who the royal family was already missing “enormously.” Philip died, aged 99, on Friday, and Charles was speaking after plans were announced by Buckingham Palace for his funeral next Saturday afternoon at St George’s Chapel, Windsor.
In a short address broadcast on Saturday evening U.K. time, Charles said, “My father for the last 70 years has given the most remarkable, devoted service to the queen, to my family, and to the country, but also to the whole of the Commonwealth.
“As you can imagine, my family and I miss my father enormously. He was a much loved and appreciated figure, and apart from anything else…we’re so deeply touched by the number of other people here and elsewhere around the world and the Commonwealth who also, I think, share our loss and our sorrow. And my dear papa was a very special person who I think above all else would have been amazed by the reaction and the touching things that have been said about him.
“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. Thank you.”
Charles made his statement before it emerged British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was giving up his seat at the funeral service—restricted to 30 people—for a royal family member.
A statement from a Downing Street spokesman read: “As a result of the coronavirus regulations, only 30 people can attend the funeral of HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. The prime minister has throughout wanted to act in accordance with what is best for the royal household, and so to allow for as many family members as possible will not be attending the funeral on Saturday.”