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Bouquet-bearing public honors Philip, ignoring COVID warning

British authorities have implored people to stay away from royal palaces as they mourn the death of Prince Philip in this time of COVID-19, but they keep coming. Not just to honor him, but to support Queen Elizabeth II, who lost her husband of 73 years.

The mix included children, seniors, Sikhs and the children of African immigrants. A cross-section of British society and admirers from abroad descended on Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle on Saturday. They laid bouquets at the gates, offered prayers or just paused for a moment of reflection as they remembered a man who dedicated much of his life to public service.

Mourners talked about Philip’s work with some 780 charities and organizations, particularly his Duke of Edinburgh Award, which seeks to build confidence and resilience in young people. But they also recalled his role as the consummate royal consort, supporting the queen at thousands of public engagements and state visits.

Flowers line the sidewalk in front of the gate outside Buckingham Palace in London, a day after the death of Britain's Prince Philip, Saturday, April 10, 2021. Britain's Prince Philip, the irascible and tough-minded husband of Queen Elizabeth II who spent more than seven decades supporting his wife in a role that mostly defined his life, died on Friday. (AP PhotoAlberto Pezzali)

“We had a really hard year all of us and there’s people uniting in a very special moment,'' said Carolina Przeniewska, originally from Poland, who came to Buckingham Place with her 5-year-old daughter Grace. “So I wanted her to see it and I wanted to pay respect.”

At Buckingham Palace, the queen’s London residence, well-wishers braved a chilly, gray day to line up and snake their way past the black iron gates, where tourists normally wait to watch the changing of the guard. People were allowed to approach the gates one at a time to lay their tributes as police tried to control the crowd amid Britain's coronavirus restrictions.

The crowd was smaller at Windsor Castle, west of the capital, where a steady stream of mourners quietly approached the gates to leave bright spring bouquets on a strip of lawn.

A newlywed couple kiss outside the gates of Windsor Castle, a day after the death of Britain's Prince Philip, in Windsor, England, Saturday, April 10, 2021. Britain's Prince Philip, the irascible and tough-minded husband of Queen Elizabeth II who spent more than seven decades supporting his wife in a role that mostly defined his life, died on Friday. (AP PhotoFrank Augstein)

People want to show their respect for both Philip and the queen, who turns 95 this month and will celebrate 70 years on the throne next year, said Nick Bullen, the co-founder and editor-in-chief of True Royalty TV.

“If the queen wasn’t already loved enough, this is just going to move it to another level now,’’ Bullen said. “This is a woman who’s going to bury her husband and then in a matter of days later be celebrating her birthday and stepping into her platinum jubilee year. … So I think people will just be rallying around the queen as much as they will the Duke of Edinburgh.”

Philip, the son of a Greek prince, and the future queen first met as teenagers. They were married in 1947 when she was 21 and he was a 26-year-old naval officer.

Two people stand behind a barrier as they view flower tributes left in front of the gate at Buckingham Palace in London, a day after the death of Britain's Prince Philip, Saturday, April 10, 2021. Britain's Prince Philip, the irascible and tough-minded husband of Queen Elizabeth II who spent more than seven decades supporting his wife in a role that mostly defined his life, died on Friday. (AP PhotoAlberto Pezzali)

Elizabeth became queen when her father died in 1952. At her coronation, Philip swore to be his wife’s “liege man of life and limb” and settled into a life of supporting the monarch.

Philip retired from public life in 2017. At the time, he had conducted more than 22,000 public engagements on his own, given 5,496 speeches and made 637 solo trips abroad, in addition to countless more appearances by the queen’s side.

“He was a hero to me because he was the man I could look up to,” Nurtr Omar, a 20-year-old who was born in Somalia and now lives in Britain, said outside Buckingham Palace. “He showed me what I can achieve with my life, whether you are royal or not. You need to make hard work to achieve what you want to.”

A balloon left by a member of the public hangs outside the gates of Windsor Castle, a day after the death of Britain's Prince Philip, in Windsor, England, Saturday, April 10, 2021. Britain's Prince Philip, the irascible and tough-minded husband of Queen Elizabeth II who spent more than seven decades supporting his wife in a role that mostly defined his life, died on Friday. (AP PhotoFrank Augstein)

The floral tributes grew throughout the day, even after the Royal Family on Friday asked people not to visit royal residences to pay their respects due to public health concerns. Instead of flowers, the family asked people to consider making donations to charity.

But for Windsor resident Billy Dohil, the day was about history. He took his children to the castle so they could be part of it.

“As they grow up, we’ll remember this,” Dohil, 39, said. “We’ll remember the royal family and (it) will be part of their life. So we wanted to come here to pay our respects. My oldest son — five years old — wanted to bring some flowers and just put it down himself.’’

A couple stand under an umbrella will the Union flag on it outside Buckingham Palace in London, a day after the death of Britain's Prince Philip, Saturday, April 10, 2021. Britain's Prince Philip, the irascible and tough-minded husband of Queen Elizabeth II who spent more than seven decades supporting his wife in a role that mostly defined his life, died on Friday. (AP PhotoAlberto Pezzali)

Associated Press Writers James Brooks and Tom Rayner contributed.

For AP’s full coverage of the death of Prince Philip go to https://apnews.com/hub/prince-philip

A half-mast Union flag marking the death of Prince Philip, in Gibraltar, Saturday April 10, 2021. Britain's Prince Philip, the irascible and tough-minded husband of Queen Elizabeth II who spent more than seven decades supporting his wife in a role that mostly defined his life, died on Friday. (AP PhotoJavier Fergo)

A man carries a Union flag marking the death of Prince Philip, in Gibraltar, Saturday April 10, 2021. Britain's Prince Philip, the irascible and tough-minded husband of Queen Elizabeth II who spent more than seven decades supporting his wife in a role that mostly defined his life, died on Friday. (AP PhotoJavier Fergo)

A flower wreath is left outside the gates of Windsor Castle, a day after the death of Britain's Prince Philip, in Windsor, England, Saturday, April 10, 2021. Britain's Prince Philip, the irascible and tough-minded husband of Queen Elizabeth II who spent more than seven decades supporting his wife in a role that mostly defined his life, died on Friday. (AP PhotoFrank Augstein)

A man prepares to lay a flower wreath outside the gates of Windsor Castle, a day after the death of Britain's Prince Philip, in Windsor, England, Saturday, April 10, 2021. Britain's Prince Philip, the irascible and tough-minded husband of Queen Elizabeth II who spent more than seven decades supporting his wife in a role that mostly defined his life, died on Friday. (AP PhotoFrank Augstein)

A police officer patrols around the Queen Victoria Memorial outside Buckingham Palace in London, a day after the death of Britain's Prince Philip, Saturday, April 10, 2021. Britain's Prince Philip, the irascible and tough-minded husband of Queen Elizabeth II who spent more than seven decades supporting his wife in a role that mostly defined his life, died on Friday. (AP PhotoAlberto Pezzali)

A couple under an umbrella gather with others outside the gates at Buckingham Palace in London, a day after the death of Britain's Prince Philip, Saturday, April 10, 2021. Britain's Prince Philip, the irascible and tough-minded husband of Queen Elizabeth II who spent more than seven decades supporting his wife in a role that mostly defined his life, died on Friday. (AP PhotoAlberto Pezzali)

A man stands with an artwork depicting Britain's Prince Philip outside Buckingham Palace in London, a day after the death of Britain's Prince Philip, Saturday, April 10, 2021. Britain's Prince Philip, the irascible and tough-minded husband of Queen Elizabeth II who spent more than seven decades supporting his wife in a role that mostly defined his life, died on Friday. (AP PhotoAlberto Pezzali)

People stroll on The Long Walk towards Windsor Castle in Windsor, England, Saturday, April 10, 2021. Britain's Prince Philip, the irascible and tough-minded husband of Queen Elizabeth II who spent more than seven decades supporting his wife in a role that mostly defined his life, died on Friday. (AP PhotoFrank Augstein)

A photo of Britain's Prince Philip is among flowers left by the public outside the gates of Windsor Castle, a day after the death of Britain's Prince Philip, in Windsor, England, Saturday, April 10, 2021. Britain's Prince Philip, the irascible and tough-minded husband of Queen Elizabeth II who spent more than seven decades supporting his wife in a role that mostly defined his life, died on Friday. (AP PhotoFrank Augstein)

A man walks past a photo of Britain's Prince Philip among flowers left by the public outside the gates of Windsor Castle, a day after the death of Britain's Prince Philip, in Windsor, England, Saturday, April 10, 2021. Britain's Prince Philip, the irascible and tough-minded husband of Queen Elizabeth II who spent more than seven decades supporting his wife in a role that mostly defined his life, died on Friday. (AP PhotoFrank Augstein)

People leave flowers and take photos outside the gates of Buckingham Palace in London, a day after the death of Britain's Prince Philip, Saturday, April 10, 2021. Britain's Prince Philip, the irascible and tough-minded husband of Queen Elizabeth II who spent more than seven decades supporting his wife in a role that mostly defined his life, died on Friday. (AP PhotoAlberto Pezzali)

People leave flowers outside the gates of Buckingham Palace in London, a day after the death of Britain's Prince Philip, Saturday, April 10, 2021. Britain's Prince Philip, the irascible and tough-minded husband of Queen Elizabeth II who spent more than seven decades supporting his wife in a role that mostly defined his life, died on Friday. (AP PhotoAlberto Pezzali)

A child peers through the gates of Buckingham Palace in London, a day after the death of Britain's Prince Philip, Saturday, April 10, 2021. Britain's Prince Philip, the irascible and tough-minded husband of Queen Elizabeth II who spent more than seven decades supporting his wife in a role that mostly defined his life, died on Friday. (AP PhotoAlberto Pezzali)

A child looks at flowers left outside the gates of Buckingham Palace in London, a day after the death of Britain's Prince Philip, Saturday, April 10, 2021. Britain's Prince Philip, the irascible and tough-minded husband of Queen Elizabeth II who spent more than seven decades supporting his wife in a role that mostly defined his life, died on Friday. (AP PhotoAlberto Pezzali)

Sunderland and Charlton Athletic players stand for a two minute silence following the death of Britain's Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh yesterday, ahead of the League One soccer match at at the Stadium of Light, Sunderland, England, Saturday April 10, 2021. (Richard SellersPA via AP)

People look at flowers and other items left outside the gates of Windsor Castle, a day after the death of Britain's Prince Philip, in Windsor, England, Saturday, April 10, 2021. Britain's Prince Philip, the irascible and tough-minded husband of Queen Elizabeth II who spent more than seven decades supporting his wife in a role that mostly defined his life, died on Friday. (AP PhotoFrank Augstein)

Flowers and other items are left by members of the public outside the gates of Windsor Castle, a day after the death of Britain's Prince Philip, in Windsor, England, Saturday, April 10, 2021. Britain's Prince Philip, the irascible and tough-minded husband of Queen Elizabeth II who spent more than seven decades supporting his wife in a role that mostly defined his life, died on Friday. (AP PhotoFrank Augstein)