A LEADING figure at a Romsey estate has paid tribute to Prince Philip - a man who "truly enhanced life".

Only 30 mourners were allowed into St George's Chapel on Saturday, April 17, down from the original 800-strong congregation, due the current coronavirus rules.

One of the Duke of Edinburgh's closest confidantes who joined the moving service was the Countess Mountbatten of Burma, Penelope “Penny” Knatchbull.

The 67-year-old countess, previously known as Lady Romsey and later Lady Brabourne, joined the monarch, the Queen and Philip’s four children and eight grandchildren and their respective spouses to say goodbye to the Duke of Edinburgh.

Countess Mountbatten is the wife of Earl Mountbatten, Norton Knatchbull – the grandson of Philip’s beloved uncle the 1st Earl Mountbatten, who was murdered by the IRA in 1979.

Philip first began teaching Penny the daredevil equestrian sport of carriage driving in 1994 and they remained firm friends for the rest of his life.

Director, Richard Jordan-Baker, issued a touching statement in memory of the Duke of Edinburgh and said: "The Earl and Countess Mountbatten of Burma and their children feel deep sorrow at the death of HRH Prince Philip The Duke of Edinburgh, and mourn the loss of a lifelong supportive cousin, inspiring godfather, and constant wise mentor.

"They keep him, and HM The Queen and their children, in their thoughts and prayers.

"The Royal Family, the Mountbatten Family and the nation have lost a man who truly enhanced life."

One Advertiser reader also recalled her father's encounter with the Duke of Edinburgh when he worked at Broadlands.

Gill Brock, who is 81-years-old, explained: "My father Alfred Noyce was invited to be a beater on the Broadlands estate during the shooting season.

"This involved beating the bushes on either side of the rides - the passages between the trees - to make the pheasants fly out of the woods.

"In his opinion, Prince Philip was by far the best shot he ever saw - being particularly good at shooting on the turn with his second barrel. He invariably shot the most birds. We often had roast pheasant for lunch on Sundays."

After the Royal Family announced the 99-year-old had passed away on April 9, Romsey residents laid beautiful bouquets by Broadlands to pay tribute to the longest-serving consort in British history.

Prince Philip spent part of his honeymoon with the then Princess Elizabeth at the country estate after the couple tied the knot at Westminster Abbey on November 20 1947.

The Duke of Edinburgh's links with Romsey continued beyond his honeymoon, with the pair revisiting Broadlands to mark 60 years of marriage in 2007.