Sophie's touching photo tribute to Queen and Prince Philip

A touching photo of the Queen and Prince Philip in their beloved Scotland was published last night to mark the Duke of Edinburgh's funeral.

Photo credit: The Countess of Wessex
Photo credit: The Countess of Wessex

The enchanting picture of the Royal couple enjoying an afternoon walk and picnic was taken by the Countess of Wessex, their daughter-in-law.

The royal couple are pictured as they are rarely seen - relaxing together away from public duties and enjoying the stunning scenery of the Scottish Highlands.

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Looking completely at ease and smiling warmly at the photographer, Philip and the Queen relax on the grass at the Coyles of Muick, a beauty spot near the town of Ballater in Aberdeenshire.

The duke lies back on a rug, propping himself up on his left elbow and has jauntily placed his hat on his right knee.

Beaming at the the Countess of Wessex - who took the picture in 2003 - the Queen, dressed in a tartan skirt, blouse and cardigan and a string of pearls, also sits on a rug.

With the sun blazing down the picture is likely taken when the couple were enjoying their traditional summer break at the Queen's nearby private estate of Balmoral.

The image reflects the private face of the Queen and her husband and gives an insight into how the Queen will remember her husband of 73 years.

Coyles of Muick stands above the entrance to Glen Muick and rewards walkers with an uninterrupted view to the mountain of Lochnagar.

The area is clearly a favourite spot for the Queen as she has named a corgi puppy, recently gifted to the monarch, Muick and it has a dorgi puppy playmate called Fergus - another Scottish name.

The area has been painted by the Prince of Wales whose Scottish summer retreat of Birkhall is close to the area where the Queen and Philip were photographed.

Just one of many intimate family shots to be released by Buckingham Palace in the past week, it came hours after Sophie was heard to remark “how sweet” as she surveyed the floral tributes let outside Windsor Castle.

She spent 15 minutes with the Earl of Wessex and their daughter, Lady Louise Windsor, looking at the flowers, wreaths and handwritten cards – many from children.

Among them were floral tributes from Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and the Royal Navy - which the duke was associated with for much of his life.

A written message upon a wreath from Mr Johnson said: "In grateful memory of a man to whom the nation owes more than words can say.

"Sent on behalf of the nation. From the Prime Minister".

A wreath from Ms Sturgeon read: "With deepest sympathy from the First Minister of Scotland and the Scottish Government."

The Royal Navy left a tribute reading: "In gratitude for an exceptional life of service from all ranks of the Royal Navy.

"Fair winds and following seas."

The Wessexes, along with other members of the royal family, have been supporting the Queen after the death of her "beloved" husband Philip last Friday.

More members of the public visited Windsor on Friday to leave behind flowers and artwork paying tribute to Philip.

A Royal Mail postbox near Windsor Castle was decorated with a knitted design depicting Philip's life, such as him standing with the Queen, riding a horse and cart and his contribution to the Duke of Edinburgh's Award scheme.

Attached to the artwork reads the message "RIP" and "Made by the Ickenham postbox toppers".

Rob Sells, 67, from Maidenhead, said: "I think it's a magnificent design and a wonderful tribute to a great man, who had been at the Queen's side for many years.

"It's a nice touch and replicates just how the nation will remember him."

Another passer-by said: "It's such a clever piece of art and the perfect way to capture the different stages in Philip's life."

Hundreds of flowers were laid outside the gates of Windsor Castle.

Sarah Hawkins, 35, from Marlow, in Buckinghamshire, said: "I think when someone who has been a great public figure passes away, you need to be here to pay your respects.

"I hope the Queen and the entire royal family know just how much the duke meant to the nation".