Queen’s funeral: Prince Philip’s confidante Penny Brabourne bids farewell to the Queen

Prince Philip’s confidante Penny Brabourne bids farewell to her lifelong friend the Queen

  • Penny Brabourne, 69, attended the funeral of the Queen today at Westminster Abbey looking demure in black 
  • Penelope, Countess Mountbatten of Burma was close with both the late Duke of Edinburgh and the Queen 
  • She was a regular visitor at Wood Farm, the Duke of Edinbugh’s cottage on the Sandringham Estate in Norfolk
  • The Queen’s funeral: All the latest Royal Family news and coverage

One of Prince Philip’s closest confidantes has mourned the loss of her lifelong friend The Queen 

Penny Brabourne, 69,  attended the funeral of the Queen today at Westminster Abbey looking demure in an all- black outfit and an elegant hat. 

Penelope, Countess Mountbatten of Burma was close with both the late Duke of Edinburgh and Queen and was a regular visitor at Wood Farm, the cottage on the edge of the Sandringham Estate in Norfolk where Prince Philip spent much of his time after retiring from public life in August 2017.

Penny Brabourne, 69, attended the funeral of the Queen today at Westminster Abbey looking demure in an all black outfit and an elegant hat

Penny Brabourne, 69, attended the funeral of the Queen today at Westminster Abbey looking demure in an all black outfit and an elegant hat

Also known as Lady Romsey and Lady Brabourne, was close with Philip despite their 32 years age difference, the pair were firm friends for decades and shared a love for the equestrian sport of carriage-driving. 

Formerly Penelope Meredith Eastwood, ‘Penny’ Knatchbull, previously known as Lady Romsey and later Lady Brabourne, is the daughter of a retired army major. 

Penny’s father left school at 15 and became a butcher, like his father and grand­father before him. He founded the Angus ­Steakhouse chain of restaurants which he sold for several millions, giving Penny a privileged childhood. She grew up and was educated in Switzerland before attending the London School of Economics.

She first met the Duke at a polo match when she was 20 and in a relationship with Lord Romsey, Earl Mountbatten’s grandson Norton Knatchbull. 

Norton, 73, is the grandson of Lord Mountbatten – who was famously close to his nephew Prince Philip. Philip was Norton’s godson, while Norton is the godfather of Prince William. 

Penny’s father, Reg Eastwood, had sold his steakhouse chain to the Golden Egg company and was living with his wife in Majorca when his daughter married Norton.

The ­wedding had been delayed for eight weeks because five months earlier, on August 25, IRA bombers blew up a small boat in the sea off ­Mullaghmore, Co. Sligo, where Lord ­Mountbatten had a holiday home.

U.S. President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden arrive, on the day of the state funeral and burial of Britain's Queen Elizabeth

U.S. President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden arrive, on the day of the state funeral and burial of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth

A long line of mourners walk into the UK's most important church

A long line of mourners walk into the UK’s most important church 

President of Ireland Michael D Higgins spoke to clergy as he arrived at the funeral

President of Ireland Michael D Higgins spoke to clergy as he arrived at the funeral

U.S. President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden arrive for the State Funeral

U.S. President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden arrive for the State Funeral

It killed Mountbatten, Norton’s 14-year-old younger brother Nicholas (after whom he was to name his own son), his paternal grandmother the Dowager Lady Brabourne and Paul Maxwell, a 15-year-old local.   

Mountbatten’s murder meant that Broadlands became the newlyweds’ first and only home. Brought up in his ­parents’ comfortable 18th century country house in Kent, Norton dreaded it. He never wanted the burden of Broadlands and knew he could hardly live up to his ­illustrious grandfather as the local ‘lord of the manor’.

A family friend previously revealed: ‘On the other hand, Penny was always comfortable there because she knew it was their duty.’

But Norton fell out with the locals when, in the Eighties, he tried to get planning permission for Tesco to build a superstore on the estate. 

2,000 royals, world leaders and hundreds of members of the public have began filing into the Abbey as billions around the world will watch Her Majesty’s state funeral.

Most of the VIPs arrived by coach, meeting at the Royal Hospital Chelsea before being put on a bus into Central London. Britain’s ministers – past and present – were among the first arrivals including Nadham Zahawi, Ben Wallace and Jacob Rees-Mogg.

And outside hardy royal fans defied no-camping rules, as people of all ages set up tents, deck chairs and even a makeshift minibar to grab premium seats for the spectacle that will see 2million flood into the capital. By 8.30am member of the public were told that the procession route was full and began diverting people to Hyde Park to watch on the big screens.

The doors of Westminster Abbey opened at 8am, ahead of the arrival of the first mourners for the funeral of the Queen. The King’s Guards trooped through the gates of Abbey, with two soldiers stationed at the metal gates awaiting the start of proceedings.

Amid concerns that London will be ‘full’ today – and a lack of hotel rooms – scores of people began bedding in to line The Mall in central London over the weekend, despite rules – seemingly loosely enforced – preventing people from setting up camp.

This morning, before dawn, stewards told campers to take down their tents. Huge crowds have also formed in Windsor, where the Queen will be buried this evening.

Several who slept in central London overnight said friends and family told them they were ‘mad’ to carry out the overnight vigil, but insisted they would not miss the occasion.

The Queen’s state funeral today will end with a two-minute national silence in a ‘fitting tribute to an extraordinary reign’ before she is laid to rest beside her late husband.

Police have also been granted a no-fly zone order over London on today, which will follow 10 days of mourning.

As well as thousands of uniformed Metropolitan Police bobbies drafted into action, plain-clothes officers will also mingle among crowds to monitor any threats.

It is expected that other forces will be asked to provide officers under ‘mutual aid’.

The Queen’s Coffin was today carried from Westminster Hall to the State Gun Carriage, and then positioned outside the building’s North Door.

The procession then went from New Palace Yard through Parliament Square, Broad Sanctuary and the Sanctuary before arriving at Westminster Abbey just before 11am.

After the State Funeral Service finishes at around midday, the coffin will be placed on the State Gun Carriage outside the Abbey.

At 12.15pm, the procession will set off for Wellington Arch at Hyde Park Corner.

The route will go from the Abbey via Broad Sanctuary, Parliament Square (south and east sides), Parliament Street, Whitehall, Horse Guards including Horse Guards Arch, Horse Guards Road, The Mall, Queen’s Gardens (south and west sides), Constitution Hill and Apsley Way

At Wellington Arch, the Queen’s coffin will be transferred from the State Gun Carriage to the State Hearse just after 1pm, ahead of the journey to Windsor.

It then will travel from central London to Windsor, on a route that has not been disclosed by the Palace. When the hearse arrives in Windsor, the procession will begin just after 3pm at Shaw Farm Gate on Albert Road.

The state hearse will join the procession, which will have been formed up and in position, at Shaw Farm Gate before travelling to St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.

The procession will follow the route of Albert Road, Long Walk, Cambridge Gate, Cambridge Drive, George IV Gate, Quadrangle (south and west sides), Engine Court, Norman Arch, Chapel Hill, Parade Ground and Horseshoe Cloister Arch.

Just before 4pm, the procession will halt at the bottom of the West Steps of St George’s Chapel in Horseshoe Cloister. Here, the bearer party will carry the coffin in procession up the steps into the chapel.

The Queen will be interred during a private burial at King George VI Memorial Chapel in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle at 7.30pm.

 

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