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Prince Charles has said he will miss his “dear papa” enormously, in his first public statement following the death of the Duke of Edinburgh.

The Prince of Wales told reporters outside his Gloucestershire home, Highgrove, that his family was “deeply grateful” for the public’s support following the passing of his father.

“As you can imagine, my family and I miss my father enormously,” Charles said.

“He was a much loved and appreciated figure and apart from anything else, I can imagine, he would be so deeply touched by the number of other people here and elsewhere around the world and the Commonwealth, who also I think, share our loss and our sorrow.”

He added: “My dear papa was a very special person who I think above all else would have been amazed by the reaction and the touching things that have been said about him and from that point of view we are, my family, deeply grateful for all that.

“It will sustain us in this particular loss and at this particularly sad time.”

Buckingham Palace announced on Saturday that Prince Philip’s ceremonial royal funeral will take place on 17 April in St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, with the event marked by a national minute’s silence at 3pm.

It will be a royal funeral like no other, as the Queen and her family will have to follow coronavirus guidelines, wearing face masks and maintaining distance, as they gather to pay tribute.

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

Although it was originally planned that 800 guests would attend the funeral, only 30 people, in addition to the clergy, will be allowed to be present, in line with current public health guidelines.

The Duke’s children, grandchildren and other close family members are expected to attend, but the Duchess of Sussex has been advised by her physician not to travel as she is pregnant with her second child, a Palace spokesperson said.

It is understood that the Duchess wanted to travel with the Duke of Sussex but has not received medical clearance to board a plane.

The Queen has also approved Boris Johnson’s recommendation of a period of national mourning, which began on 9 April and will run until, and include, the day of the funeral.

It was previously announced that union jacks and national flags would fly at half-mast on all government buildings until 8am on the day following the funeral.

A Palace spokesperson added on Saturday that the royal family were appealing to people who wish to pay their respects in person to stay at home instead.

“While there is sadness that the public will not be able to physically be part of events to commemorate the life of the duke, the royal family asks that anyone wishing to express their condolences do so in the safest way possible and not by visiting Windsor or any other royal palaces to pay their respects,” they said.

“The family’s wish is very much that people continue to follow the guidelines to keep themselves and others safe.

“His Royal Highness’s funeral will be broadcast to enable as many people as possible to be part of the occasion, to mourn with us and celebrate a truly extraordinary life.”

Additional reporting by PA

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