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Gun salute and flowers honour Duke of Edinburgh at Hillsborough Castle as funeral details announced

Wellwishers had been asked to stay away under coronavirus restrictions, but many still made the journey to royal palace.

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Soldiers from 206 Battery, 105 Royal Artillery take part in a gun salute to the Duke of Edinburgh takes place at Hillsborough Castle. Photo by Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye

Soldiers from 206 Battery, 105 Royal Artillery take part in a gun salute to the Duke of Edinburgh takes place at Hillsborough Castle. Photo by Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Brandon Lewis looks on as soldiers from 206 Battery, 105 Royal Artillery take part in a gun salute to the Duke of Edinburgh takes place at Hillsborough Castle in Northern Ireland. Photo by Kelvin Boyes  / Press Eye.

Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Brandon Lewis looks on as soldiers from 206 Battery, 105 Royal Artillery take part in a gun salute to the Duke of Edinburgh takes place at Hillsborough Castle in Northern Ireland. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Gun salutes to mark the death of the Duke of Edinburgh took place across the UK, including Hillsborough Castle at midday on Saturday. Photo by Philip Magowan / Press Eye

Gun salutes to mark the death of the Duke of Edinburgh took place across the UK, including Hillsborough Castle at midday on Saturday. Photo by Philip Magowan / Press Eye

Philip Magowan / Press Eye

DUP MPs including Sammy Wilson (pictured), Paul Girvan, Ian Paisley, Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, Jim Shannon (pictured) and Carla Lockhart along with a local piper pay tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh at Hillsborough Castle. Photo by Kelvin Boyes  / Press Eye.

DUP MPs including Sammy Wilson (pictured), Paul Girvan, Ian Paisley, Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, Jim Shannon (pictured) and Carla Lockhart along with a local piper pay tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh at Hillsborough Castle. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

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Soldiers from 206 Battery, 105 Royal Artillery take part in a gun salute to the Duke of Edinburgh takes place at Hillsborough Castle. Photo by Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye

Gun salutes to mark the death of the Duke of Edinburgh took place across the UK, including at Hillsborough Castle in Co Down, on Saturday.

Soldiers from 206 Battery, 105 Royal Artillery took part in the UK wide tribute at Northern Ireland's official royal residence at midday.

Buckingham Palace said Prince Philip died peacefully in his sleep at Windsor Castle on Friday, two months before his 100th birthday, leaving the Queen and the royal family “mourning his loss”.

Saluting batteries began firing 41 rounds at one round every minute at noon on Saturday in cities including London, Edinburgh and Cardiff, as well from Royal Navy warships.

Spectators watched from outside the gates at Hillsborough Castle where wellwishers have also continued to leave floral tributes.

Following the 41 gun salute at Hillsborough, Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis signed the Royal Family’s online book of condolence, paying his respects to the Duke of Edinburgh.

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Earlier DUP MPs including Sammy Wilson, Paul Girvan, Ian Paisley, Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, Jim Shannon and Carla Lockhart along with a local piper, paid tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh at the castle gates.

The prince was a regular visitor to Hillsborough where he hosted a number of Duke of Edinburgh Award ceremonies and attended garden parties and receptions with the Queen down the years.

All Northern Ireland's 11 councils have opened books of condolence, which can be signed online due to the pandemic.

Figures from across Northern Ireland including political and church leaders have sent condolences to the Queen.

The Northern Ireland Assembly will sit on Monday to allow MLAs to pay tribute to Prince Philip, before adjourning for the rest of the day.

Meanwhile, members of the Royal Family have visited the Queen at Windsor Castle, where dozens of people have been laying flowers despite calls for them to stay away due to coronavirus concerns.

Buckingham Palace announced that Prince Philip’s ceremonial royal funeral will take place on April 17 in St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, and a national minute’s silence will be observed as it begins at 3pm.

The duke’s coffin will be transported from the castle to the chapel in a specially modified Land Rover he helped to design, and followed by the Prince of Wales and senior royals on foot, a senior Palace official said.

Only 30 people – expected to be the Duke’s children, grandchildren and other close family – will attend as guests, but the Duchess of Sussex has been advised by her physician not to travel to the UK for the funeral, a Palace spokesman said.

It is understood Meghan made every effort to be able to travel with Harry, who will be among the mourners, but has not received the medical clearance to board a plane.

Originally 800 people would have been due to gather to pay their respects to the nation’s longest serving consort, but Prince Philip is known to have wanted a low key affair.

All public elements of the funeral have been cancelled, it will be televised but take place entirely in the grounds of the castle, the Palace said.


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