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Philip’s royal wedding appearance more likely after horse show visit

The duke was making his first public appearance since planned surgery.

The Duke of Edinburgh has given royal fans hoping to see him at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding a boost after he appeared at a major horse show.

Philip, who has been convalescing after hip replacement surgery five weeks ago, joined hundreds of spectators at the Royal Windsor Horse Show in the shadow of his Windsor Castle home.

It was his first public appearance since leaving hospital and he was spotted at the wheel of a Land Rover Freelander, chatting for a few minutes with the Queen who was standing next to the open window.

With the countdown to the wedding now in earnest, final preparations are being put in place for Harry and Meghan’s big day next Saturday.

About 100,000 spectators are expected to flock to Windsor to join the wedding celebrations and watch the newlyweds’ carriage procession after they exchange vows at the castle’s St George’s Chapel.

There is speculation Ms Markle’s mother Doria Ragland, who will play an important role during the day with her father Thomas Markle, may have already flown to the UK.

Mr Markle will walk his daughter down the aisle, while Ms Ragland, who will stay with her daughter on the eve of the wedding, will join her for part of the bride’s car journey to the ceremony before changing places with pageboys and bridesmaids.

Harry and Meghan have invited 600 guests to their wedding and after the carriage ride through the streets of Windsor will join them for an afternoon reception hosted by the Queen.

In the evening the Prince of Wales will hold a wedding dinner at Frogmore House for the couple and  200 of their close friends and family.

Kensington Palace has said they hope the Queen’s 96-year-old consort will be well enough to attend the wedding following his hip operation on April 4.

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The Duke of Edinburgh leaves King Edward VII’s Hospital (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

But his appearance at the major horse event, and the fact that he was driving, may indicate the duke has recovered enough to watch his grandson marry Ms Markle.

Harry’s former Army comrades have been speaking about their nerves as they prepare for ceremonial duties at his wedding.

More than 250 members of the armed forces will be in Windsor including some who served with Harry in the UK and Afghanistan, where he flew Apache helicopters with 662 Squadron, 3 Regiment Army Air Corps.

Captain William Calder, 32, who will lead his soldiers in a royal salute as they emerge from the chapel, said: “It makes me a little bit nervous that we will be front and centre – the Queen and the senior members of the royal family will be stepping out the door right beside us and I’ll probably be positioned about five metres from them.”

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