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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Russell Myers & Adam May

Prince Edward says Queen's death has left an 'unimaginable void' in our lives

Prince Edward has paid tribute to his "beloved mama" the Queen in a deeply personal and moving statement.

The Earl of Wessex said the death of Queen Elizabeth II has left “an unimaginable void in all our lives”, adding: “We have been overwhelmed by the tide of emotion that has engulfed us.”

Prince Edward said the royal family had been “overwhelmed by the tide of emotion” following the late monarch's death at the age of 96 and thanked the public for their support.

Both he and his wife Sophie, Countess of Wessex, made a surprise visit to Windsor Castle earlier today to greet the crowds who had gathered to pay their respects to the Queen.

The couple also spoke with stewards and Crown Estate staff before laying flowers given to them by mourners who were lined up outside Cambridge Gate.

Sophie, dressed in black, promised one well-wisher “I will lay them for you” as she was handed a bouquet, while Edward smiled as he read some of the messages left for his late mother.

They both visited Manchester Cathedral last night to light a candle in memory of the Queen.

Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, has paid a deeply moving and personal tribute to his late mother (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

“As a family, we have grown up learning to share our parents, especially our beloved mama, with the nation, her realms and the Commonwealth," Prince Edward said in his tribute.

"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.

Queen Elizabeth II stands next to Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, as she smiles from the royal balcony (AFP via Getty Images)

"And now, we are there for her, united in grief. Thank you for your support, you have no idea how much it means."

He added: “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.

Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward waving to the crowds from the balcony at Buckingham Palace (Getty Images)

“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.”

He told mourners this afternoon “I think we’ve all lost someone this week” when they offered their condolences to him outside Windsor Castle.

The Earl of Wessex meeting wellwishers outside Windsor Castle this afternoon (PA)

Prince Edward is due to join his siblings - King Charles, Princess Anne and Prince Andrew - at a vigil inside Westminster Hall later tonight where the Queen lies in rest.

Her eight grandchildren will hold a separate vigil tomorrow evening.

Meanwhile, Westminster Abbey is expected to be filled with over 2,000 guests for the Queen's funeral on Monday.

King Charles III, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward walk behind the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The cortege will then leave London for Windsor Castle and a committal service will take place at St George’s Chapel at 4pm on Monday.

Some 800 people, including members of the Queen’s Household and Windsor estate staff, will attend the committal service.

The Queen will later be buried with the Duke of Edinburgh in King George VI’s chapel in Windsor Castle in a private service at 7.30pm the same day.

The burial service conducted by the Dean of Windsor and attended by the King and royals will remain entirely private, as a “deeply personal family occasion”.

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