Queen in special nod to Prince Philip’s closest ‘lady friend’ despite funeral restrictions


THE Queen showed much “maturity” with her decision to include a close friend of Prince Philip in his funeral despite the strict limits on the numbers of attendees, a royal expert said.

The Queen had to adhere to national restrictions on funeral attendees as she bid her last goodbye to their “beloved” Prince Philip in April. The late Duke of Edinburgh’s closest family were all in attendance, including all of his grandchildren and the descendants of Philip’s late sisters. Royal commentator Robert Jobson noted Her Majesty also ensured to have one of her late husband’s closest friends included in the service despite the limits.

“But probably the longest and most meaningful was with Countess Mountbatten…

“The Queen accepted the friendship between the Duke and Penny, and … it just shows you how mature the Queen was that she invited her to the funeral.

“There were very small numbers and there she was. I think that shows a degree of respect.”

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The Queen ensured to invite one of Prince Philip’s closest friends (Image: GETTY)

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Countess Mountbatten pictured arriving to Prince Philip’s funeral (Image: GETTY)

The Countess Mountbatten, previously Penny Knatchbull, is the wife to the Earl of Mountbatten, the grandson of Prince Philip’s uncle, Lord Louis Mountbatten.

The Duke of Edinburgh was especially close to his uncle’s family due to the pivotal role the man played in his upbringing.

Following the Greek Revolution of 1922, an infant Prince Philip had to flee Greece with his whole family and experienced a rather nomadic life throughout his early years.

When the then-Prince Philip of Denmark and Greece arrived in the UK to attend school, his uncle took him under his wing.

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Royal Family members were limited to 26 because of Covid rules (Image: GETTY)

The relationship resulted in a long-lasting bond between the Duke and Lord Mountbatten’s family, including with his granddaughter-in-law Penny.

The pair grew close during the 1990s, when the Duke of Edinburgh began teaching Penny how to carriage-ride.

The duo could often be spotted together on the grounds of Sandringham or attending the Royal Windsor Horse Show.

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The Queen and Penny pictured together earlier this summer (Image: GETTY)

A royal insider recounted Penny had been “one of the most natural young women I have ever met, outgoing but not brash or flirty”.

Her Majesty and the Duke were also very supportive of the Earl and Countess when the couple’s five-year-old daughter Leonora died after a liver cancer diagnosis.

In honour of their daughter, the couple created the Leonora’s Children Cancer Fund in 1994 which later became The Edwina Mountbatten and Leonora Children’s Foundation following a merger with The Edwina Mountbatten Trust.


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