Poignant photo of Queen and Philip relaxing in Scotland released ahead of funeral

A touching photograph of the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh that gives a glimpse of their lives away from protocol and ceremony has been released ahead of Philip’s funeral.

The royal couple are pictured as they are rarely seen – relaxing together during a summer break and enjoying the stunning scenery of the Highlands on the Balmoral estate.

Looking completely at ease and smiling warmly at the photographer, Philip and the Queen relax on the grass at the Coyles of Muick, a beauty spot near Ballater in Aberdeenshire.

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The duke lies back on a rug, propping himself up on his left elbow and has jauntily placed his hat on his right knee.

A personal photograph of the Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh at the top of the Coyles of Muick, taken by The Countess of Wessex in 2003.

Beaming at the Countess of Wessex – who took the picture in 2003 – the Queen, dressed in a tartan skirt, blouse and cardigan and a string of pearls, also sits on a rug.

After 73 years of marriage, the Queen will say farewell to Philip during a televised funeral service at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle on Saturday, attended by a small group of close family and friends.

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Covid regulations have reduced the scope of the service with public elements cancelled, mourners reduced from around 800 to just 30, and all guests wearing face masks and sitting apart.

The order of service for the Duke of Edinburgh's funeral service at St George's Chapel, Windsor, on Saturday.

But Philip’s children and grandchildren have been paying tribute to his life and legacy and welcoming the support and warm words from the public who have left flowers and cards.

Philip’s “unwavering loyalty” to the Queen and “courage, fortitude and faith” will be hailed at his funeral.

No sermon will be delivered during the ceremonial royal service, in keeping with Philip’s wishes.

His love of the sea and long association with the Royal Navy permeates the Order of Service, with the music chosen by the duke including the hymn Eternal Father, Strong To Save – traditionally associated with seafarers and the maritime armed services.

(left to right) The Countess of Wessex, Lady Louise Windsor and the Earl of Wessex view flowers outside St George's Chapel

The Dean of Windsor, in the Bidding, will pay tribute to Philip’s “kindness, humour and humanity”.

“With grateful hearts, we remember the many ways in which his long life has been a blessing to us,” he will say of Philip, who died aged 99 last Friday.

“We have been inspired by his unwavering loyalty to our Queen, by his service to the nation and the Commonwealth, by his courage, fortitude and faith.

“Our lives have been enriched through the challenges that he has set us, the encouragement that he has given us, his kindness, humour and humanity.”

The Queen was photographed driving in the grounds of Windsor Castle on Friday and during the day was back at work receiving calls from General David Hurley, Governor-General of Australia, and Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

It is understood the calls were made by the national figures to convey their condolences to the Queen.

In the grounds of Windsor Castle, the Earl and Countess of Wessex viewed cards and flowers left by the public and appeared touched by the tributes to the duke.

While looking over handwritten letters from children, Sophie could be heard saying “how sweet” before speaking to her husband Edward about the number of bouquets that have been gathered.

She was also heard to suggest there would have been many more tributes if coronavirus restrictions had not been in place.

The couple, who were joined by their daughter Lady Louise Windsor, spent around 15 minutes looking at hundreds of flowers and wreaths outside St George’s Chapel.

Among them were floral tributes from Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and the Royal Navy – which the duke was associated with for much of his life.

The Prince of Wales and Princess Royal will lead the Duke of York, Earl of Wessex and other family members walking behind the duke’s coffin, carried on a Land Rover hearse he helped design, during the funeral procession which the Queen will join, travelling by car.

Royal brothers the Duke of Cambridge and Duke of Sussex, who have a troubled relationship, will not walk shoulder to shoulder but with their cousin Peter Phillips between them.

Philip’s love of carriage-driving will be a poignant feature of his funeral, with his carriage, which he designed, and ponies making an appearance.

The polished dark green four-wheeled carriage, accompanied by two of Philip’s grooms, will stand in the Quadrangle of Windsor Castle as the duke’s coffin is carried past in the procession.

Among the mourners will be the Duchess of Cornwall, Duchess of Cambridge, Countess of Wessex and her children Viscount Severn and Lady Louise.

Zara and Mike Tindall, Princess Beatrice and her husband Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, Princess Eugenie and her husband Jack Brooksbank have been invited.

Also attending will be the children of the Queen’s sister Princess Margaret, three of Philip’s German relatives and his close friend Countess Mountbatten of Burma.

Mr Tindall has paid tribute to the duke as a “devoted family man who we will forever miss but always love”.

The former England rugby player, who is married to the Queen and Philip’s granddaughter Zara Tindall, posted a picture from the royal family’s personal photo albums of the duke with the Tindalls’ eldest daughter Mia.

The image, taken by the Duchess of Cambridge, showed Mia and her great-grandfather eating as they sat together on a bench in front of a wooden cabin.

A half drunk pint of beer could be seen perched on the side.

Tindall wrote on Instagram: “It’s been a very sad week but it has given us time to reflect on great memories and stories both personal and shared.

“A devoted family man who we will forever miss but always love.”