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Manchester Evening News
Manchester Evening News
Paul Britton

Queen's youngest son Prince Edward says royals 'overwhelmed by tide of emotion' as he honours 'beloved mama'

The Queen's youngest son, the Earl of Wessex Prince Edward, said the royal family has been 'overwhelmed by the tide of emotion that has engulfed us' as he paid tribute to his 'beloved mama'. The prince released a touching statement on Friday, fresh from his visit to Manchester alongside his wife Sophie, the Countess of Wessex.

Prince Edward spoke of 'learning to share our parents' with the nation and the realms as young children - and said the Queen's death 'has left an unimaginable void in all our lives'.

Later tonight he's expected to join King Charles, Princess Anne and the Duke of York to stand in a poignant vigil at the lying-in-state in Westminster Hall.

Prince Edward and the Countess of Wessex visited Manchester on Thursday, lighting a candle in memory of the late monarch at the city's cathedral before viewing floral tributes at St Ann's Square and the book of condolence at Manchester's Central Library.

Floods of people gathered to pay their respects, with the countess warmly embracing a young well-wisher clutching a teddy bear in the gathered crowd before they left.

The Earl of Wessex inspects tributes in Manchester (Vincent Cole - Manchester Evening News)

The earl described Her Majesty the Queen as 'such a very special and unique person who was always there for us'.

And he thanked all those who have offered the family support since her death - including the public of Manchester - saying they 'have no idea how much it means'.

In the statement, Prince Edward 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.

The Countess of Wessex speaks to well-wishers (Vincent Cole - Manchester Evening News)

"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."

The Earl and Countess of Wessex received a warm welcome as they arrived to view a sea of flowers and tributes left for the Queen during a walkabout in Windsor.

Edward and Sophie smiled and laughed as they shook hands and accepted bouquets from mourners lined up outside Cambridge Gate on Friday.

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