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Prince Charles: Royal family 'deeply grateful' for world's support

The 99-year-old Prince Philip died at Windsor Castle, where a ceremonial royal funeral is planned for April 17.

LONDON, UK — Britain’s Prince Charles said the royal family is “deeply grateful’’ for outpouring of support they’ve received following the death of his father, Prince Philip.

In a deeply personal message, the heir to the throne said he was touched by the number of people around the world who have shared the family’s loss and sorrow.

“My dear Papa was a very special person who I think, above all else, would have been amazed by the reaction and the touching things that have been said about him,'' Charles said. “And from that point of view we are, my family, deeply grateful for all that. It will sustain us in this particular loss and at this particularly sad time.’’

Philip, 99, died Friday. The palace says a royal ceremonial funeral will take place April 17 at Windsor Castle — a slimmed-down service amid the COVID-19 pandemic that will be entirely closed to the public.

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Philip, also known as the Duke of Edinburgh, took part in planning his funeral and its focus on family was in accordance with his wishes. The 99-year-old duke, who died Friday, also took part in designing the modified Land Rover that will carry his coffin.

“Although the ceremonial arrangements are reduced, the occasion will still celebrate and recognize the duke’s life and his more than 70 years of service to the Queen, the UK and the Commonwealth,” a palace spokesman said Saturday while speaking on condition of anonymity in line with policy.

Prince Harry, Philip's grandson who stepped away from royal duties last year and now lives in California, will attend the service along with other members of the royal family. His wife, the duchess of Sussex, who is pregnant, has been advised by her doctor not to attend.

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Associated Press Writer James Brooks and Tom Rayner contributed.