PRINCE Andrew has arrived at Windsor Castle as he prepares to say a final farewell to Prince Philip.
The Duke of York wore a morning suit and tie as he made his way to the castle – after the Queen reportedly stopped him wearing an Admiral's uniform.
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The Duke of Edinburgh – Britain's longest-serving consort – is being laid to rest in a scaled-back, Covid-secure ceremony at 3pm honouring his service.
And there was said to be “serious Navy displeasure” earlier this week at the prospect of Prince Andrew possibly wearing an Admiral’s uniform for the occasion.
It was reported that the Duke of York told the Queen he wished to wear the prestigious uniform – despite deferring the title after the Jeffrey Epstein sex scandal.
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
Andrew, who stepped back from public duties over his friendship with convicted Epstein 18 months ago, was made an honorary Vice-Admiral in the Royal Navy on his 55th birthday in 2015.
He was due to be promoted to Admiral on his 60th birthday last year, but offered to defer the role until he cleared his name and returned to public life.
It was then reported this week that he had told the Queen and senior officials he wished to attend his father's farewell as an Admiral, The Daily Mail reports.
A source close to The Duke said of the reports: “The Duke of York is very keenly aware of Saturday’s funeral being a moment for the Duke of Edinburgh, HM and the nation. He has neither wish nor intention to distract from that.
"Speculation on what he may or may not wear is just that, speculation, and no matters of this nature have yet been decided upon.
"The Duke of York will do what is appropriate to the circumstances – he remains stepped back from royal duties.”
And a Buckingham Palace spokesperson later confirmed: "Family will be wearing Morning Coat with medals or Day Dress.
"Members of the Royal Family will not be in military uniform."
Prince Andrew joined the Royal Navy in 1979 as a Seaman Officer and finished his active naval career in 2001.
And the Navy established a policy in 2009 that means the prince is promoted in line with his still-serving peers to mark his continued contribution to the service.
The rank of Admiral is the highest rank to which a serving officer in the Royal Navy can be promoted, although members of the Royal Family can be made Admiral of the Fleet.
And while Andrew has lost many of his charitable patronages, he has not been stripped of his military positions and titles yet.
An Admiral's ceremonial day coat has three rows of lace on the sleeve, but a Vice-Admiral's two rows.
Prince William, Kate Middleton and Prince Charles arrived at Windsor Castle earlier this afternoon.
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.
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