'It's a very sad day' - Mourners lay flowers at Sandringham after Prince Philip's death

Duke of Edinburgh obit

Caitlin French, aged five, from Long Sutton, lays flowers at the Norwich Gates at Sandringham in tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh - Credit: Chris Bishop

Duke of Edinburgh obit

Phil French, from Long Sutton and his daughter Caitlin, aged five, lay flowers at the Norwich Gates at Sandringham in tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh - Credit: Chris Bishop

People were laying flowers at the Norwich Gates of Sandringham within hours of the announcement of the Duke’s death.

Bouquets of lilies were laid against the wrought iron gates, with around six bouquets laid by lunchtime on Friday.

Duke of Edinburgh

A family arrives at the Norwich Gates at Sandringham to lay flowers in memory of the Duke of Edinburgh - Credit: Chris Bishop

Phil French, 45, and his five-year-old daughter Caitlin, from Long Sutton in Lincolnshire, were among the first to arrive to pay tribute.

Prince Philip. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Prince Philip. Picture: Matthew Usher. - Credit: Matthew Usher

Mr French, said: “We were in King’s Lynn when we heard the news on the radio so we thought we’d come and pay our respects.

“I’ve always respected the guy, in my opinion he stood out from the royals because he was a bit too honest.”

Duke of Edinburgh

A floral tribute on the Norwich Gates at Ssndringham - Credit: Chris Bishop

Police arrived at the gates to keep people safe at the busy junction and had erected barriers at the scene, between the visitors' centre and the ornamental Norwich gates, while mourners arrived to pay tribute.

A spokesperson for Norfolk Constabulary said: "Following the sad news of the death of His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh, we understand members of the public will wish to pay their respects.

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"Norfolk, through the Royal Estate at Sandringham, has a close bond with royal tradition and history.

"However, in light of the continued Covid-19 public health rules and guidance, we are supporting the Royal Household in asking members of the public not to gather at royal residences.

"We would urge people to pay their respects through official online books of condolence, accessible at the royal family website, and continue to follow the public health advice, particularly on avoiding meeting in large groups and minimising travel."    

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Police arrive to seal off the roads round the Norwich Gates at Sandringham, so people can leave floral tributes for the Duke of Edinburgh safely - Credit: Chris Bishop

People visited in groups of two and three to lay flowers and pay their respects, and everyone adhered to current social-distancing rules.

One well-wisher, Julie Brooks-Clark, said: "It's so sad. I feel absolutely awful. It's just he's always been there for [the queen]. What this must mean for the queen, it must be devastating. He has always been by her side. I can't imagine what she must be going through."

Duke of Edinburgh

Lillies left at the Norwich Gates at Sandringham in tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh - Credit: Chris Bishop

Maria McDonnell, 52, of Heacham, visited Sandringham with her aunt, Janet Hickey, 69.

She said: "I live locally and I just wanted to pay my respects. I like the monarchy. I like the queen. It's really important we support her and show her we are here for her."

Linda Thompson, 72, came from her home in Dersingham. Her late-father had known Prince Philip.

She added: "It's a very sad day." 

Duke of Edinburgh

Floral tributes left at the Norwich Gates at Sandringham in memory of the Duke of Edinburgh - Credit: Chris Bishop

And finally, Adam and Tracey Westall, of King's Lynn, also came to pay their respects at Sandringham.

They said: "We just wanted to take five minutes out of our day to pay our respects. He was such a funny guy."

Duke of Edinburgh

A TV crew interviews two women leaving flowers at the Norwich Gates at Sandringham - Credit: Chris Bishop

Duke of Edinburgh

A man in naval uniform lays a tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh at the Norwich Gates at Ssndringham - Credit: Chris Bishop

Duke of Edinburgh

Adan and Tracey Westall from King's Lynn came to Sandringham to pay tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh - Credit: Chris Bishop

Duke of Edinburgh

A woman leaves a floral tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh at the Norwich Gates at Sandringham - Credit: Chris Bishop

Duke of Edinburgh

Bouquets at Sandringham included one from JE Howard Butchers, from nearby West Newton. The Duke would sometimes visit the shop whilst staying at Sandringham House. - Credit: Chris Bishop

Duke of Edinburgh

TV crews at the Norwich Gates at Sandringham, filming people leaving tributes to the Duke of Edinburgh - Credit: Chris Bishop

Duke of Edinburgh

A woman leaves a tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh at the Norwich Gates at Ssndringham - Credit: Chris Bishop

Duke of Edinburgh

A police officer pays his respects to the Duke of Edinburgh at Sandringham - Credit: Chris Bishop

Duke of Edinburgh

A couple lay flowers at Sandringham in memory of the Duke of Edinburgh - Credit: Chris Bishop

Duke of Edinburgh

A TV crew interviews Janet Hickey, from Braintree (left) and her niece Maria McDonnell, from Heacham, after they left flowers at the Norwich Gates in memory o the Duke of Edinburgh, - Credit: Chris Bishop

Duke of Edinburgh

Maria McDonnell from Heacham lays flowers at the Norwich Gates in memory of the Duke of Edinburgh - Credit: Chris Bishop

Duke of Edinburgh

Julia Brooks-Clark came to Sandringham to pay her respects t the Duke of Edinburgh - Credit: Chris Bishop

Duke of Edinburgh

A woman lays flowers at the Norwich Gates at Sandringham in memory of the Duke of Edinburgh - Credit: Chris Bishop

Duke of Edinburgh obit

Phil French, from Long Sutton and his daughter Caitlin, aged five, lay flowers at the Norwich Gates at Sandringham in tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh - Credit: Chris Bishop