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Hundreds in Windsor join minute’s silence

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

Hundreds of people in the town of Windsor took part in a national minute’s silence in honour of the Duke of Edinburgh as his funeral began.

Crowds lining the high street outside the walls of Windsor Castle and along the Long Walk fell silent at 3pm in remembrance of the nation’s longest-serving consort.

People held Union flags, partners wore matching hats and others clutched bunches of flowers.

Commemorations were disrupted shortly after, when a topless protester ran past crowds and jumped on to a statue of Queen Victoria before being removed by police officers.

The woman, who was without a top or bra, ran into the road shouting “save the planet” when members of the public began clapping following the silence.

People had arrived steadily in the town throughout Saturday morning to pay their respects to the duke.

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

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

Duke of Edinburgh death
The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery make their way down the Long Walk (Andrew Matthews/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.

Sasha Spicer, 52, who wore a Union flag poncho, said Philip had been a “fantastic role model” and that she felt sorry for the Queen.

“I’ve come down to pay my respects, say rest in peace and thanks for service to the country and that we’ll miss you,” she told the PA news agency.

“He was a lovely fella.”

Ms Spicer said she was “impressed” by the crowds who had come to the town on the day of the funeral.

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People observe a minute’s silence on the Long Walk outside Windsor Castle (Andrew Matthews/PA)

“He was a fantastic role model and someone who was known for his banter. Quite a character.

“The Queen is going to miss him…they were best friends. I feel for her.”

At midday scores of people gathered in the sunshine to watch as the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery processed along the Long Walk up to Cambridge Gate.

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

The regiment fired minute guns from the east lawn of Windsor Castle as Philip’s coffin was taken from the castle to St George’s Chapel.

Earlier, members of the public expressed their sadness that crowds could not gather in the town, and said the country was “missing out” on fully commemorating the duke’s death.

Windsor resident Ian Mawhinney, 56, said that it had been a “sombre few weeks” in the town but that the royal family were “setting an example” by limiting numbers.

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)

“I think it’s really important to mark the event. It’s been a very sombre time for the town,” he told PA.

“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, from Essex, who says he met Phillip on several occasions, said: “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.”