The Earl of Wessex has paid tribute to his “beloved mama”, adding that the Royal Family has been “overwhelmed by the tide of emotion” following the Queen’s death.
On Friday, Prince Edward and his wife Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, spoke with stewards and Crown Estate staff outside Windsor Castle as they viewed tributes to the late monarch.
The Countess placed bouquets given to her by the crowd with other floral tributes as Edward read some of the messages left for his mother.
It comes ahead of the Vigil of the Princes and Princess, which is due to take place on Friday evening, in which the Queen’s four children will mount a vigil at her coffin which is lying in state at Westminster Hall.
The following day, her eight grandchildren, including the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Sussex, will mount their own vigil to pay their respects to their grandmother.
Edward and Sophie’s children Lady Louise and James, Viscount Severn, will also take part in the vigil on Saturday.
In a tribute released on Friday afternoon, the Earl of Wessex said the Queen’s death had left an “unimaginable void in all our lives”.
He said: “As a family, we have grown up learning to share our parents, especially our beloved mama, with the nation, her realms and the Commonwealth. While it has been lovely to have spent time saying our own farewell privately at Balmoral, it is now time to allow others to be able to say their farewell.
“We have been overwhelmed by the tide of emotion that has engulfed us and the sheer number of people who have gone out of their way to express their own love, admiration and respect to such a very special and unique person who was always there for us. And now, we are there for her, united in grief. Thank you for your support, you have no idea how much it means.
“The Queen’s passing has left an unimaginable void in all our lives. Sophie and I have taken huge pleasure in seeing our James and Louise enjoying the places and activities that their grandparents loved so much. Given that my mama let us spend so much time with her, I think she also rather enjoyed watching those passions blossom. Those times together, those happy memories, have now become massively precious to each and every one of us.
“May God bless Her Majesty and may her memory be long cherished even as the baton she has carried for these past 70 years now passes to the next generation and to my brother, Charles.
“Long live the King.”