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Hundreds gather to watch mounted troops ride to Windsor Castle

Mike Bedigan and Ted Hennessey, PA
·3-min read

Hundreds of people gathered in the midday sunshine to watch as the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery processed along the Long Walk in Windsor ahead of the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral.

Dozens of riders, wearing black, gold and red uniforms and carrying three guns, rode up to Cambridge Gate where tributes to the duke have been laid throughout the week.

Members of the regiment will fire guns from the east lawn of Windsor Castle as Philip’s coffin is taken from the castle to the chapel on Saturday afternoon.

Crowds grew steadily throughout Saturday morning with members of the public arriving to pay their respects to the duke.

Some were seen wearing custom face masks bearing Philip’s face.

Coronavirus restrictions meant fewer people were visiting the town to mark the occasion, but residents praised the royal family for “setting an example” by limiting numbers during the ongoing pandemic.

King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery make their way up The Long Walk (Phil Noble/PA)
King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery make their way up The Long Walk (Phil Noble/PA)

Road signs in the area warned: “Avoid all non essential travel and do not gather at royal residences,” though some visited briefly to lay tributes to the duke.

Ahead of the funeral, dozens of armed police made preparations on the high street and swept areas along the Long Walk up to Cambridge Gate, and the walls of Windsor Castle.

Members of the public expressed sadness that crowds cannot gather in the town, and said the country was “missing out” on fully commemorating the duke’s death.

FUNERAL Philip
(PA Graphics)

Windsor resident, Ian Mawhinney, 56, said it had been a “sombre few weeks” in the town.

“I think it’s really important to mark the event.

“It’s been a very sombre time for the town,” he told the PA news agency.

“Living in Windsor you realise how much they do for the community and the country.

“You sense the loss more here.

“It’s been a very sombre few weeks.

“I’m quite torn about the measures… I think the country is missing out on something.

“I think the royal family are setting an example.

“Having a small event is not what they would have wanted but they will adapt and…honour (Philip) in their own way.”

Professor Chris Imafidon (second from left) , outside Windsor Castle, who says he met the duke on a few occasions (Ted Hennessey/PA)
Professor Chris Imafidon (second from left) , outside Windsor Castle, who says he met the duke on a few occasions (Ted Hennessey/PA)

Professor Chris Imafidon, from Essex, who donned a face mask bearing a picture of the duke, said: “I think it’s a disgrace, there should be more people here, especially when there are plans for people to return to football stadiums.

“It’s such a mediocre service for a great man, his contribution to helping working class people in general has been enormous.

“He has done so much for this country, there should be a big public celebration of his life.

“People have been asked not to come, so I think it will be a quiet atmosphere, I just feel so sad.”