The Duke of Edinburgh’s carriage-driving companion – one of his closest confidants – Countess Mountbatten from Burma will join mourners at Philip’s funeral.
Buckingham Palace said the queen was facing “some very difficult” decisions as she selected the 30 Covid-19 rules admitted guests from the original 800-strong congregation and tried to ensure that all branches of the duke’s family were there were.
The 67-year-old Countess – Penelope “Penny” Knatchbull, formerly known as Lady Romsey and later Lady Brabourne – will join the monarch, four children of the Queen and Philip and eight grandchildren and their respective spouses at the service in St. George’s Chapel on connect Saturday.
Three German relatives, whose ancestors were refused a place at the wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Philip because of anti-German sentiments after the Second War, were accepted.
You are Bernhard, Hereditary Prince of Baden; Prince Donatus, Landgrave of Hesse; and Prince Philipp von Hohenlohe-Langenburg.
Countess Mountbatten is the wife of Earl Mountbatten, Norton Knatchbull – the grandson of Philip’s beloved uncle, 1st Earl Mountbatten, who was murdered by the IRA in 1979.
Philip began teaching Penny the daring horse-drawn carriage riding sport in 1994 and they remained steadfast friends for the rest of his life.
They were often pictured together at the Royal Windsor Horse Show and sometimes rode mini-motorcycles around the carriage driving course.
After his retirement, she was a regular guest at the Duke’s Wood Farm Cottage in Sandringham.
Others on the guest list include the Queen’s first cousins, Princess Alexandra, the Duke of Gloucester and the Duke of Kent, who loyally supported the monarch and Philip by performing royal duties over the decades.
However, Prince Michael of Kent (78), who is not a working king, is missing from the monarch’s list of cousins.
There was also no room for the spouses of the Queen’s cousins - the Duchess of Gloucester and the Duchess of Kent – and also for Prince Michael’s often controversial wife, Princess Michael of Kent.
Also invited were the children of the Queen’s late sister, Princess Margaret – the Earl of Snowdon and Lady Sarah Chatto, and her husband David Chatto.
The Queen is particularly close to Lady Sarah.
Guests also include the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, the Princess Royal and her husband Vice Admiral Timothy Laurence, the Duke of York, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the Duke of Sussex who have favourited Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie and their spouses Peter Phillips and Zara and Mike Tindall.
A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: “At its core, it is still a family event.
“We follow the Covid guidelines. There was a limit to who could be invited as a guest and Her Majesty wanted to make sure all branches of the Duke’s family were there and had to make some very difficult decisions about who would be there.
“For those who unfortunately cannot be there, I am sure that they will make their own private arrangements to remember the Duke and actually celebrate the Duke.”
Also missing from the list are the Duchess of Sussex, who is pregnant with her second child, who was told not to fly by doctors, and the Duke’s 10 great-grandchildren, all of whom are considered too young to attend.