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April 11, 2021

The Prince of Wales last night paid a touching tribute to his father, the Duke of Edinburgh, saying: “My dear Papa was a very special person.”

In an unscripted, televised address, an emotional Prince Charles, 72, said: “As you can imagine, my family and I miss my father enormously. He was a much loved and appreciated figure.”

He said the Duke had “given the most remarkable, devoted service” to the Queen, the Royal Family, his country and the Commonwealth.

The Prince’s tribute, made on behalf of the whole Royal family, came as Buckingham Palace announced the details of the Duke’s funeral, which will take place next Saturday, April 17 at 3pm.

The royal ceremonial funeral, although significantly reduced due to Covid-19 restrictions, was meticulously planned by the Duke himself, and his coffin will be carried in a purpose-built Land Rover he designed for the occasion himself.

It will be a royal funeral like no other, with only 30 mourners, including all of the Duke’s children and grandchildren, who will be expected to wear masks and adhere to social distancing. He left strict instructions that it should be low-key, without a formal lying-in-state.

The entire ceremony will take place within the grounds of Windsor Castle, with no public access, and his coffin will travel on a short journey from the state entrance to the West Steps of St George’s Chapel.

The Prince of Wales is expected to deliver the eulogy at his father's funeral. The event will also mark the Duke of York's first public event since he was forced to step back from royal duties in November 2019, following his disastrous Newsnight interview over his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein, the convicted paedophile.

Buckingham Palace confirmed yesterday that the heavily pregnant Duchess of Sussex, 39, would not attend, on the advice of her physician. Her husband, Prince Harry, is expected to arrive in the UK as early as today.

On Saturday night, Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, offered to stand aside to let an additional member of the Royal family attend the funeral under the current guidelines.

A Number 10 source said: “The PM offered to stand aside to allow more family members to attend.” Other political parties had been told on Friday that the Prime Minister would be the only politician attending the funeral.

Armed police will patrol the streets of Windsor next Saturday as part of a massive security operation to safeguard the funeral and deter crowds.

Thames Valley Police issued a statement on Saturday night to local people and businesses urging them to be “vigilant” and warning that they would see an “increased police presence”.