Mounted police today moved in to hold back people gathering to mourn the death of Prince Philip – after Downing Street urged people not to gather outside royal palaces due to the risk of Covid.
Officers on horseback arrived at Buckingham Palace to break-up crowds who had gathered in their hundreds to mark news of the Duke of Edinburgh’s death, at the age of 99.
Police on foot were also seen marshalling crowds as they attempted to keep a gap between mourners and the palace gates – where tributes have already begun piling-up.
It comes weeks after people, including the Duchess of Cambridge, were freely allowed to lay flowers and pay tribute to Sarah Everard at Clapham Common following news of the marketing manager’s tragic death.
Today Downing Street asked mourners not to gather or lay flowers outside royal residences for the much-loved Duke due to the risk of Covid.
Hundreds of floral tributes have already piled-up at palace gates, including Buckingham, Windsor and Balmoral, following the announcement of Prince Philip’s death earlier today.
Meanwhile a brief bulletin traditionally used to notify the public of key royal events such as births and deaths was taken down prematurely from the gates of Buckingham Palace today due to Covid.
Usually the statement, on paper set in a foolscap imperial-sized dark wooden frame and which was put in place by Royal Household staff wearing black face masks, would have remained in place for 24 hours.
Around 30 people initially began queuing to read the sign before four police officers on horses stopped the crowds from gathering.
A Cabinet Office spokesperson told MailOnline, said: ‘The sad death of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh has been announced by Buckingham Palace.
‘Although this is an extraordinarily difficult time for many, we are asking the public not to gather at Royal Residences, and continue to follow public health advice particularly on avoiding meeting in large groups and on minimising travel.
‘We are supporting the Royal Household in asking that floral tributes should not be laid at Royal Residences at this time.’
Downing Street has today asked mourners not to gather or lay flowers for Prince Philip outside royal residences due to the risk of Covid
It comes as hundreds of tributes pile-up at palace gates, including Buckingham and Windsor, following the Duke of Edinburgh’s death this morning, at the age of 99
A brief bulletin, on paper set in a foolscap imperial-sized dark wooden frame, is traditionally used to notify the public of key royal events such as births and deaths – but it was removed prematurely today due to Covid
However Number 10 has insisted people avoid gathering at the gates today, urging mourners to stick to Covid guidelines and ‘avoid meeting in large groups’
Huge crowds were today seen gathered outside Buckingham Palace as a lifelong supporter of the Royal Family laid a floral tribute
It comes as the Queen today announced with ‘deep sorrow’ the death of Prince Philip at the age of 99. Pictured: A mourner holds a Union Jack outside Buckingham Palace today
A group of mourners today added to the growing tributes outside Windsor Castle, where Prince Philip is said to have passed away earlier today
A woman adds flowers to the tributes at the railings at the front of Buckingham Palace today, as dozens of mourners are seen gathering in the background
Police were earlier today seen keeping mourners back from the gates, after Downing Street asked people not to gather due to the risk of Covid
Flowers with condolence messages are placed outside Windsor Castle following the passing of Prince Philip, in Windsor
Flags fly at half-mast amid huge outpouring of grief over death of Prince Philip
Flags across the UK are today flying at half mast as the nation remembers the life of Prince Philip after his death was announced by the Queen this morning.
A huge outpouring of grief has seen thousands of tributes online with heartfelt words for Her Majesty – who was described by one well-wisher as having ‘lost the brightest jewel in her crown’.
Crowds gathered to carefully place flowers in front of the gates at Buckingham Palace and at Windsor Castle, where notices shared the news of the Duke’s passing.
It comes as the Queen today announced with ‘deep sorrow’ the death of Prince Philip at the age of 99.
She described her husband as her ‘strength and guide’ throughout their 73-year marriage and her 69-year reign.
The Duke of Edinburgh spent his final days at Windsor Castle with his wife, who he lovingly called Lilibet throughout their long life together, after a 28-night stay in hospital having been admitted in mid-February for an infection and a pre-existing heart condition.
Her Majesty announced her husband’s death at midday as the Union Flag was lowered to half-mast outside Buckingham Palace and on public buildings across the UK and Commonwealth, while members of the public hugged and wiped away tears as they laid flowers in his memory – and messages of support for the Queen.
The Royal Family said in a statement: ‘It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen announces the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle. Further announcements will made in due course. The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss’.
Her Majesty, who remains at Windsor Castle, is now expected to enter an eight-day period of mourning. She will not carry out any duties, even in private, while laws will not be given the Royal Assent and affairs of state will also be paused.
Buckingham Palace announced the death of Prince Philip at just after midday today – and described the Queen’s ‘deep sorrow’
Philip has served Britain since his youth and the world is mourning his death at Windsor Castle today, with the Royal Family releasing this photo and tribute shortly after his death
Prince Philip waves as he arrives back at Windsor Castle after leaving King Edward VII’s Hospital in London on March 16, 2021
Good-looking and blond-haired, the Prince of Greece impressed the young Princess by jumping over the college tennis nets at their first publicised meeting. Pictured: Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh in a wedding photograph in 1947. The couple were married for 73 years (pictured in a portrait taken to mark the 60th anniversary of The Queen’s Accession in 2012)
As with all royal births, marriages and deaths, a notice announcing Philip’s passing was displayed outside Buckingham Palace.
Mourners are already laying flowers at the palace, Sandringham, Balmoral and Windsor Castle, where he is expected to be buried in Frogmore Gardens following a small family service at St George’s Chapel.
A state funeral including a flotilla of boats on the Thames to mark his life looks impossible due to covid restrictions, but the Duke was said to have disliked the idea because he ‘didn’t want the fuss’. Details will emerge in the next few days, with the plan nicknamed ‘Operation Forth Bridge’.
A frail Philip was last seen leaving hospital on March 16 and his death plunges the nation and the Royal Family into mourning, and brings to an end Philip’s lifetime of service to Britain and to Elizabeth, the Queen who adored him since her teens. The couple shared their 73rd wedding anniversary last November and he was due to turn 100 on June 10 this year.
Boris Johnson led the tributes and addressed the nation outside No 10 Downing Street shortly after the announcement.
He said: ‘We give thanks, as a nation and a kingdom, for the extraordinary life and work of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh’.
He added: ‘Speaking on their golden wedding anniversary, Her Majesty said that our country owed her husband ‘a greater debt than he would ever claim or we shall ever know’ and I am sure that estimate is correct So we mourn today with Her Majesty The Queen.
‘We remember the duke for all of this and above all for his steadfast support for Her Majesty the Queen. Not just as her consort, by her side every day of her reign, but as her husband, her ‘strength and stay’, of more than 70 years.
Boris Johnson spoke outside Downing Street to remember Philip, the love and support he had shown for the Queen and the impact he had on people all over the world
‘And it is to Her Majesty, and her family, that our nation’s thoughts must turn today. Because they have lost not just a much-loved and highly respected public figure, but a devoted husband and a proud and loving father, grandfather and, in recent years, great-grandfather.’
Mr Johnson also praised his Duke of Edinburgh scheme, which has ‘shaped and inspired the lives of countless young people’.
Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, said: ‘As we recover and rebuild after the terrible trial of the coronavirus pandemic, we will need fortitude and a deep sense of commitment to serving others. Throughout his life Prince Philip displayed those qualities in abundance, and I pray that we can take inspiration from his example’.
Officials at Buckingham Palace are now preparing for a royal ceremonial funeral at Windsor Castle in Berkshire in keeping with Philip’s wishes, with a military procession also expected in London – Covid laws permitting.
Until his death, Philip was the longest-serving consort in British history and the oldest partner of a reigning monarch.
Despite his ill health, the Queen remained resolutely stoic in Prince Philip’s final days and took part in her first royal engagement of 2021 last week.