'It's a very sad day' - Mourners lay flowers at Sandringham after Prince Philip's death
Chris Bishop and Donna-Louise Bishop
- 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.
Phil French, 45, and his five-year-old daughter Caitlin, from Long Sutton in Lincolnshire, were among the first to arrive to pay tribute.
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.”
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."
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."
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."
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."