Prince William and Kate Middleton arrived hand-in-hand with Prince George and Princess Charlotte for Prince Philip’s memorial service today. 

The Duchess of Cambridge looked poised as she wore an understated polkadot Alessandra Rich gown which she paired with elegant silver droplet earrings, as she was joined by her husband for the event this morning. 

The couple were joined by their eldest son Prince George, eight, who wore a smart navy suit for the occasion, and Princess Charlotte, six, who wore a navy coat dress with a matching ribbon in her hair.

Kate and Prince Philip enjoyed a good relationship, with Prince William saying he was thankful that Kate, who married into the royal family in 2011 after meeting William nearly a decade earlier, had ‘so many years’ to get to know his grandfather. 

The memorial is the couple’s first public appearance since they landed back in Britain from their troubled tour of the Caribbean, which was blighted by protests against Britain’s colonial past. 

Prince William and Kate Middleton arrived hand-in-hand with Prince George and Princess Charlotte for Prince Philip’s memorial service today

The Duchess of Cambridge looked poised as she wore an understated polkadot Alessandra Rich gown which she paired with elegant silver droplet earrings, as she was joined by her husband for the event this morning

The Duchess of Cambridge looked poised as she wore an understated polkadot Alessandra Rich gown which she paired with elegant silver droplet earrings, as she was joined by her husband for the event this morning

The Duchess of Cambridge looked poised as she wore an understated polkadot Alessandra Rich gown which she paired with elegant silver droplet earrings, as she was joined by her husband for the event this morning

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who days ago returned from their controversial Caribbean tour, arrived hand-in-hand with George and Charlotte, their two eldest children

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who days ago returned from their controversial Caribbean tour, arrived hand-in-hand with George and Charlotte, their two eldest children 

They faced calls to issue a public apology for slavery during the eight-day tour, with the barrage of criticism ranging from accusations Belize locals were not consulted about a royal engagement to calls for slavery reparations from the monarchy in Jamaica.

The Duke of Cambridge denounced slavery as ‘abhorrent’ and said ‘it should never have happened’. He is attending the service for the life of Prince Philip as he looks to now move the monarchy into the future amid the criticism.     

William is said to want to do things ‘the Cambridge way’ following his Caribbean tour with Kate that saw the couple heavily criticised for images that smacked of ‘colonialism’ but also welcomed with warmth by Caribbeans.

The visit is likely to be judged as a landmark moment for years to come – when the growing awareness of racial equality, in light of the Black Lives Matter movement, meant future Commonwealth tours would have to be sensitive to these issues.

Prince William rested his hand onto his son Prince George's back as he spoke with an attendee of the event earlier today

Princess Charlotte and Kate appeared to share a laugh with a member of the clergy

Prince William rested his hand onto his son Prince  George’s back as he spoke with an attendee of the event earlier today (left). Meanwhile Princess Charlotte and Kate appeared to share a laugh with a member of the clergy (right) 

Prince George joined his father Prince William to meet attendees  of the event this morning (pictured)

Prince George joined his father Prince William to meet attendees  of the event this morning (pictured) 

The Cambridge family arrived hand-in-hand at the event earlier this morning, with the foursome wearing matching navy outfits for the occasion

The Cambridge family arrived hand-in-hand at the event earlier this morning, with the foursome wearing matching navy outfits for the occasion 

The adorable six-year-old royal could be seen shaking hands with clergy as she arrived at the service earlier today

The adorable six-year-old royal could be seen shaking hands with clergy as she arrived at the service earlier today

The adorable six-year-old royal could be seen shaking hands with clergy as she arrived at the service earlier toda

The Duke addressed the issue of slavery during a speech in Jamaica, denouncing it as ‘abhorrent’ and saying ‘it should never have happened’.

Ending their trip to Belize, Jamaica and the Bahamas at the weekend, the future king acknowledged the monarchy’s days in those nations may be numbered as he stated the future ‘is for the people to decide upon’, and that he may not become head of the Commonwealth.

In a statement reflecting on the tour, William said who the Commonwealth chooses to be its leader ‘isn’t what is on my mind’, but what concerned him was its potential to ‘create a better future for the people who form it’.

He stressed that he and his wife Kate were ‘committed to service’ and saw their role as supporting people, ‘not telling them what to do’.  

Six-year-old Princess Charlotte could be seen beaming as she arrived at the service alongside her parents this morning

Six-year-old Princess Charlotte could be seen beaming as she arrived at the service alongside her parents this morning

Six-year-old Princess Charlotte could be seen beaming as she arrived at the service alongside her parents this morning

The Duchess of Cambridge was elegant in a stunning polkadot gown for the occasion, which she paired with navy accessories and a striking black hat

The Duchess of Cambridge was elegant in a stunning polkadot gown for the occasion, which she paired with navy accessories and a striking black hat 

Prince William's mini me! Prince George was matching his father with his outfit, wearing a navy suit with a baby blue shirt and a polkadot tie

Prince William’s mini me! Prince George was matching his father with his outfit, wearing a navy suit with a baby blue shirt and a polkadot tie 

Princess Charlotte's hair was neatly plaited into a blue ribbon for the event earlier this morning

the Duchess wore her locks pulled back into an understated low bun

Princess Charlotte’s hair was neatly plaited into a blue ribbon for the event earlier this morning (left), while the Duchess wore her locks pulled back into an understated low bun (right) 

The family beamed as they arrived at Westminster Abbey hand-in-hand this morning, in what is one of Prince George and Charlotte's first major events

The family beamed as they arrived at Westminster Abbey hand-in-hand this morning, in what is one of Prince George and Charlotte’s first major events 

Now, Will and Kate return to take part in the Duke of Edinburgh’s memorial ceremony, which will celebrate the life and contributions of Prince Philip, who died in April 2021 aged 99.

The Queen, who was married to The Duke of Edinburgh for 73 years prior to his death, is said to have personally overseen many elements of the service.

The funeral includes several elements the Duke had planned for his funeral at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle in April last year but which were forbidden by Covid restrictions at the time. 

Among them is the involvement of Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) gold award winners and Sea Cadets, his expressed wish for the congregation to sing the rousing hymn Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer, and for clergy from the royal estates of Windsor, Sandringham and Balmoral to play a special part.

Little Princess Charlotte wore a navy coat with gold buttons for the outing today, which was matched perfectly with her blue tights

Little Princess Charlotte wore a navy coat with gold buttons for the outing today, which was matched perfectly with her blue tights

Little Princess Charlotte wore a navy coat with gold buttons for the outing today, which was matched perfectly with her blue tights (left and right) 

The Duchess of Cambridge looked poised as she wore an understated polkadot Alessandra Rich gown which she paired with elegant silver droplet earrings, as she was joined by her husband for the event this morning

The Duchess of Cambridge looked poised as she wore an understated polkadot Alessandra Rich gown which she paired with elegant silver droplet earrings, as she was joined by her husband for the event this morning

William is said to want to do things 'the Cambridge way' following his Caribbean tour with Kate that saw the couple heavily criticised for images that smacked of 'colonialism' but also welcomed with warmth by Caribbeans

William is said to want to do things 'the Cambridge way' following his Caribbean tour with Kate that saw the couple heavily criticised for images that smacked of 'colonialism' but also welcomed with warmth by Caribbeans

William is said to want to do things ‘the Cambridge way’ following his Caribbean tour with Kate that saw the couple heavily criticised for images that smacked of ‘colonialism’ but also welcomed with warmth by Caribbeans

Prince Harry faces ‘lifetime of regret’ for missing memorial to his beloved grandfather

Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle could ‘regret’ not attending the memorial service for his grandfather Prince Philip at Westminster Abbey tomorrow – and the Queen is likely to be ‘very upset’ but cannot change his mind, royal experts say.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are expected to remain at home in Montecito, California, while the rest of the Royal Family gather in London for the poignant event. 

Harry last returned to the UK eight months ago to unveil the statue of his late mother Diana, Princess of Wales in London on July 1 with his brother Prince William.

The Duke – one of the Queen and Philip’s eight grandchildren – is the only top-level royal not attending tomorrow’s service which was organised by the monarch.

Royal author Phil Dampier told MailOnline: ‘It’s very sad that Harry and Meghan won’t be at Prince Philip’s memorial service and I think one day Harry might regret it. He has said that he doesn’t feel safe without Scotland Yard security but to me that sounds like an excuse not to come back to the UK and indicates the rift with his blood family is still bad.

‘Harry was always very fond of his grandfather and was deeply honoured when he took over from him as Captain General of the Royal Marines, but sadly that didn’t last long. The pair attended some Remembrance Day events together and there was always a rapport between them, both being serving military men who had seen active service.’

Mr Dampier said that Harry ‘loved’ Philip’s sense of humour and praised him in interviews, adding that this makes his non-attendance ‘all the more mystifying and strange’. 

His funeral at St George’s Chapel in Windsor was limited to just 30 mourners in the midst of the pandemic and mass singing was banned, with the Queen sitting alone in a mask.

Around 1,800 guests are due at today’s service, including British and European royalty, representatives of the many charities of which the duke was patron or president, Boris and Carrie Johnson, and Sir David Attenborough.

But the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are not returning from the US for the service

The Queen has recently been forced to pull out of a string of engagements because of ill health and old age. 

She was unable to attend the Commonwealth Day service this month because of concerns about her mobility and comfort.

Palace and Abbey aides are thought to have taken steps to ensure that the service, to be televised live on BBC One, is less taxing for the Queen.  

The service will gave thanks for the duke’s dedication to family, nation and Commonwealth and recognise the importance of his legacy in creating opportunities for young people, promoting conservation, and supporting the Armed Forces.

One of the elements planned for the funeral which has now been included in the service will see nine Gold Award holders from The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, plus representatives from UK Cadet Force Associations, line entry routes into Westminster Abbey.

Philip, who died in April last year aged 99, launched the DofE Award in 1956 and was Colonel-in-Chief of the Army Cadet Force, a role he first took up in 1953.

A tenth DofE gold award holder, Doyin Sonibare, 28, from London, will give a tribute to His Royal Highness’s legacy, recognising the impact of the Award on young people across the globe.

The Very Reverend Dr David Hoyle, Dean of Westminster, will conduct the service and describe the duke in the Bidding as ‘a man of rare ability and distinction’ who ‘ever directed our attention away from himself.’

He will say: ‘He put privilege to work and understood his rank as a spur to service. Working at pace, with so many claims on his attention, he encouraged us to focus, as he was focussed, on the things that matter.

‘His was a discipline and character that seized opportunity and overcame obstruction and difficulty. We recall, with affection and respect, the sustained offering of a long life lived fully.’ 

It was the duke’s expressed wish that clergy from Windsor, Sandringham and Balmoral – known as The Queen’s domestic chaplains – played a part in his funeral service, but this was not possible due to the Covid restrictions.

Today the Reverend Kenneth MacKenzie Minister of Crathie Church, the regular place of worship of the British royal family when they are in residence at nearby Balmoral Castle, the Reverend Canon Jonathan Riviere, the Rector of Sandringham, and the Reverend Canon Martin Poll, Chaplain to the Royal Chapel of All Saints, Windsor Great Park, will offer prayers recognising Philip’s energy, spirit of adventure and ‘good stewardship of the environment’.

The service will also be attended by around 30 foreign royals, including Prince Albert of Monaco, Denmark’s Queen Margrethe, King Harald and Queen Sonja of Norway, and Spain’s King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia.    

Prince William and Kate Middleton arrive hand-in-hand with Prince George and Princess Charlotte

 

Prince William and Kate Middleton arrive hand-in-hand with Prince George and Princess Charlotte

A graphic shows the plan for the service to remember Prince Philip at Westminster Abbey taking place this morning

A graphic shows the plan for the service to remember Prince Philip at Westminster Abbey taking place this morning

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