Prince Philip's close friend Penelope ‘Penny’ Knatchbull arrives at Windsor Castle ahead of funeral

PRINCE Philip’s close friend Penelope ‘Penny’ Knatchbull has arrived at Windsor Castle ahead of his funeral. 

The Duke of Edinburgh – Britain’s longest serving consort – will be laid to rest in a scaled-back ceremony honouring his seven decades of service.

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The 67-year-old countess – Penelope "Penny" Knatchbull, previously known as Lady Romsey and later Lady Brabourne – is one of 30 mourners to attend today's service in St George's Chapel.

Countess Knatchbull, who arrived today dressed in black with a sleek beret, was the Duke's long-term carriage-driving companion.

Philip first began teaching Penny the daredevil equestrian in 1994 – and they remained friends for the rest of his life.

It comes as:

  • Harry and William will be reunited before the funeral for the first time in a year
  • Meghan Markle is going to watch the service on a live stream from the US
  • The funeral will be scaled-back due to Covid but the duke's personality is peppered throughout
  • The full route his coffin will take on his final journey has been revealed
  • A ring of steel has been placed around Windsor as cops search drains and comb the river 
  • Senior royals including Prince William have started arriving at Windsor Castle 

Earlier, Prince William, Kate Middleton and Prince Charles also arrived at Windsor Castle this afternoon to say a final farewell to Prince Philip.

Kate was dressed all in black with a netted veil covering her face mask. She is also wearing a stunning pearl necklace belonging to the Queen and drop earrings.

Meanwhile William looked sombre in a black suit and black tie, teamed with a face mask.

His dad Prince Charles was pictured in a Tesla arriving at Windsor Castle with wife Camilla.

The Queen was pictured wearing all black as the nation unites in grief to honour Prince Philip.

The Duke's coffin was moved from the private chapel at Windsor Castle at 11am this morning to the Inner Hall of Windsor Castle as mourners began arriving for the royal funeral.

It was earlier placed on the green Land Rover, designed by the Duke, with a wreath placed on top. 

Pallbearers, made up of the Queen's company the Grenadier Guards, paused for a moment, as soldiers saluted the coffin.

The duke's coffin could be seen draped with his personal standard, which pays tribute to his birth heritage as a Prince of Greece and Denmark, his family name and his Edinburgh title.

The first three quarters show his lineage – with blue lions and red hearts on a yellow background representing Denmark, a white cross on blue representing Greece, and his anglicised family name Mountbatten represented with two black "pales" or stripes on white.

The fourth quarter contains the arms of the City of Edinburgh.

Philip was made the Duke of Edinburgh shortly before his wedding in 1947, by his future father-in-law George VI.

A band played I Vow to Thee my Country as the Land Rover was driven through the Quadrangle to the State Entrance of the castle.

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