Members of the public wishing to pay their respects to the Duke of Edinburgh have been urged to stay away from Windsor Castle and other palaces during his funeral.
Both the royal family and the government urged people to keep their distance during the farewell to Philip on television in the grounds of the castle on Saturday April 17th.
John Story, Mayor of Windsor and Maidenhead, described Saturday’s funeral as a “great honor” for the district but noted that it will take place behind the walls of Windsor Castle due to Covid-19 concerns.
He said: “It is a very difficult time for people and people have very strong emotions, but we must ask everyone to put their health and safety at the top of their priority list and not come to Windsor.
“The entire funeral, including the solemn procession, takes place within the castle walls. Ordinarily one would expect this to happen along the Long Walk and through Windsor, but it cannot happen this year.
“I hope that at the end of the day people will see it as a very respectful and very safe day.
“It’s going to be a very sad day for all of us. I think it’s going to be a very emotional day and a great national moment because it has been such a big part of our lives for a long time indeed. “
Mr Story said when anyone comes to Windsor “there is nothing to see” and should instead take official advice not to gather in large groups in public places.
He added that it was “just a sign of our times” and an “odd” part of his job that he is now telling people to stay away and watch the event at home when he would normally encourage them to visit.
The royal borough is closely linked to Philip, who, according to Mr. Story, once referred to Windsor as his “home” and Buckingham Palace as “the office”.
He would not go into detail about what contingency plans are in place when people arrive, but said “the officials on the day will make all the necessary operational decisions”.
He added, “It’s really serious news that everyone is staying away.”
Philip’s grandson, the Duke of Sussex and Meghan Markle, were married in May 2018 at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle.
Months later, the wedding of another of Philip’s grandchildren, Princess Eugenie, to Jack Brooksbank took place at the same location.
Philip’s funeral will also take place here.
A Thames Valley Police spokesman said it was clear that people wanted to show their respect during this time of national mourning, but added, “We would like to ask the public to respect the wishes of the royal household and the advice of the government, by not attending royal residences or gathering in public to protect one another and reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission.
“Additional officers will be patrolling Windsor city center and the surrounding area to keep residents, businesses and people safe.”
Mourners are asked to show their respect in an online condolence book set up by the royal household or by making a donation to a charity of their choice rather than paying tribute to flowers.
A palace spokesman said: “Although it is sad that the public will not be able to physically attend events commemorating the Duke’s life, the royal family urges anyone who wishes to express their condolences to do so in the most assured manner Way and not to do by visiting Windsor or other royal palaces to pay their respects.
“The family really wants people to continue to follow guidelines to protect themselves and others.
“The funeral of His Royal Highness will be broadcast so that as many people as possible can attend the occasion, mourn with us and celebrate a truly extraordinary life.”