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Queen’s funeral: Prince Philip’s confidante Penny Brabourne bids farewell to the Queen

One of Prince Philip’s closest confidants has mourned the loss of his lifelong friend the Queen.

Penny Brabourne, 69, attended the Queen’s funeral today at Westminster Abbey, looking dignified in an all black outfit and an elegant hat.

Penelope, Countess Mountbatten of Burma was close to both the late Duke of Edinburgh and the Queen and was a regular visitor to Wood Farm, the cottage on the edge of the Sandringham Estate in Norfolk where Prince Philip spent much of his time after retired from public life in August 2017.

Penny Brabourne, 69, attended the Queen's funeral today at Westminster Abbey looking demure in an all black outfit and a smart hat
Penny Brabourne, 69, attended the Queen's funeral today at Westminster Abbey looking demure in an all black outfit and a smart hat

Penny Brabourne, 69, attended the Queen’s funeral today at Westminster Abbey looking demure in an all black outfit and a smart hat

Also known as Lady Romsey and Lady Brabourne, was close with Philip despite their 32-year age difference, the pair were firm friends for decades and shared a love of the equestrian sport of chariot driving.

Formerly Penelope Meredith Eastwood, ‘Penny’ Knatchbull, formerly known as Lady Romsey and later Lady Brabourne, is the daughter of a retired army major.

Penny’s father left school at 15 and became a butcher, like his father and grandfather before him. He founded the Angus Steakhouse chain of restaurants, which he sold for several millions, giving Penny a privileged childhood. She grew up and was educated in Switzerland before attending the London School of Economics.

She first met the Duke at a polo match when she was 20 and in a relationship with Lord Romsey, Earl Mountbatten’s grandson Norton Knatchbull.

The Duke of Edinburgh undertook to teach Penny carriage driving in 1994 and the pair (pictured together) traveled the country together
The Duke of Edinburgh undertook to teach Penny carriage driving in 1994 and the pair (pictured together) traveled the country together

The Duke of Edinburgh undertook to teach Penny carriage driving in 1994 and the pair (pictured together) traveled the country together

Norton, 73, is the grandson of Lord Mountbatten – who was famously close to his nephew Prince Philip. Philip was Norton’s godson, while Norton is Prince William’s godfather.

Penny’s father, Reg Eastwood, had sold his steakhouse chain to the Golden Egg company and was living with his wife in Majorca when his daughter married Norton.

The wedding had been delayed for eight weeks because five months earlier, on August 25, IRA bombers blew up a small boat in the sea off Mullaghmore, Co. Sligo, where Lord Mountbatten had a summer house.

It killed Mountbatten, Norton’s 14-year-old younger brother Nicholas (after whom he was to name his own son), his grandmother, the widow Lady Brabourne, and Paul Maxwell, a 15-year-old local.

Mountbatten’s murder meant that Broadlands became the newlyweds’ first and only home. Raised in his parents’ comfortable 18th-century country house in Kent, Norton dreaded it. He never wanted the burden of Broadland and knew he could hardly live up to his famous grandfather as the local ‘lord of the manor’.

US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden arrive on the day of the state funeral and burial of Great Britain's Queen Elizabeth
US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden arrive on the day of the state funeral and burial of Great Britain's Queen Elizabeth

US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden arrive on the day of the state funeral and burial of Great Britain’s Queen Elizabeth

A long line of mourners enter Britain's most important church
A long line of mourners enter Britain's most important church

A long line of mourners enter Britain’s most important church

Irish President Michael D Higgins spoke to clergy as he arrived for the funeral
Irish President Michael D Higgins spoke to clergy as he arrived for the funeral

Irish President Michael D Higgins spoke to clergy as he arrived for the funeral

US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden arrive for the state funeral
US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden arrive for the state funeral

US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden arrive for the state funeral

A family friend previously revealed: ‘On the other hand, Penny was always comfortable there because she knew it was their duty.’

But Norton fell out with the locals when, in the eighties, he tried to get planning permission for Tesco to build a supermarket on the property.

2,000 royals, world leaders and hundreds of members of the public have begun filing into the abbey as billions around the world will watch Her Majesty’s state funeral.

Most of the VIPs arrived by bus and met at the Royal Hospital Chelsea before being put on a bus into central London. UK ministers – past and present – were among the first to arrive, including Nadham Zahawi, Ben Wallace and Jacob Rees-Mogg.

The King and the Royal Family march to Westminster Abbey from Westminster Hall
The King and the Royal Family march to Westminster Abbey from Westminster Hall

The King and the Royal Family march to Westminster Abbey from Westminster Hall

Pallbearers carefully carried the late monarch's oak coffin with her crown, orb and sceptre
Pallbearers carefully carried the late monarch's oak coffin with her crown, orb and sceptre

Pallbearers carefully carried the late monarch’s oak coffin with her crown, orb and sceptre

The Queen begins her final journey from Westminster Hall to Westminster Abbey
The Queen begins her final journey from Westminster Hall to Westminster Abbey

The Queen begins her final journey from Westminster Hall to Westminster Abbey

And outside, die-hard royal fans defied no-camping rules as people of all ages set up tents, deckchairs and even a makeshift minibar to grab premium seats for the spectacle that will see 2 million flock to the capital. At 8.30am the public were told the procession route was full and began directing people to Hyde Park to watch the big screens.

The doors to Westminster Abbey opened at 8am, ahead of the arrival of the first mourners for the Queen’s funeral. The King’s Guards trooped through the gates of the Abbey, with two soldiers stationed at the metal gates, awaiting the start of the proceedings.

Amid concerns that London will be ‘full’ today – and a shortage of hotel rooms – scores of people began camping out in The Mall in central London at the weekend, despite rules – apparently loosely enforced – preventing people in setting up camp.

This morning, before dawn, stewards told campers to take down their tents. Huge crowds have also formed in Windsor, where the Queen will be buried tonight.

Several who slept in central London overnight said friends and family told them they were ‘crazy’ to complete the night’s vigil but insisted they did not want to miss the occasion.

The Queen’s state funeral today will end with a two-minute national silence in a ‘fitting tribute to an extraordinary reign’ before she is laid to rest next to her late husband.

Police have also been given a banning zone order across London today, which will follow 10 days of mourning.

As well as thousands of uniformed Metropolitan Police bobbies being called into action, plainclothes officers will also mingle among the crowds to monitor any threats.

It is expected that other forces will be asked to provide officers under ‘mutual aid’.

The Queen’s coffin was today carried from Westminster Hall to the State Gun Carriage and then placed outside the north door of the building.

The procession then made its way from New Palace Yard through Parliament Square, the Broad Sanctuary and the Sanctuary before arriving at Westminster Abbey just before 7pm.

After the State Funeral Service ends at noon, the coffin will be placed on the State Armory outside the Abbey.

At 12.15 the procession leaves for Wellington Arch at Hyde Park Corner.

The route will run from the Abbey via Broad Sanctuary, Parliament Square (south and east sides), Parliament Street, Whitehall, Horse Guards including Horse Guards Arch, Horse Guards Road, The Mall, Queen’s Gardens (south and west sides), Constitution Hill and Apsley Way

At Wellington Arch, the Queen’s coffin will be transferred from the State Gun Carriage to the State Hearse just after 1pm. 13.00 prior to the journey to Windsor.

It will then travel from central London to Windsor on a route that has not been announced by the palace. When the hearse arrives at Windsor, the procession will begin just after 1 p.m. 15 at Shaw Farm Gate on Albert Road.

The State hearse will join the procession, which will have been formed and in place, at Shaw Farm Gate before traveling to St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.

The procession will follow the route of Albert Road, Long Walk, Cambridge Gate, Cambridge Drive, George IV Gate, Quadrangle (south and west sides), Engine Court, Norman Arch, Chapel Hill, Parade Ground and Horseshoe Cloister Arch.

Just before 4pm, the procession stops at the bottom of the West Steps of St George’s Chapel in the Horseshoe Cloister. Here the pallbearers will carry the coffin in procession up the stairs into the chapel.

The Queen will be buried in a private funeral at the King George VI Memorial Chapel in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle at 7.30pm.

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