Public appearance by Duke boosts wedding hopes

Queen Elizabeth II talking to the Duke of Edinburgh during the Royal Windsor Horse Show at Windsor Castle, Berkshire. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday May 11, 2018. See PA story SPORT Windsor. Photo credit should read: Steve Parsons/PA Wire
Queen Elizabeth II talking to the Duke of Edinburgh during the Royal Windsor Horse Show at Windsor Castle, Berkshire. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday May 11, 2018. See PA story SPORT Windsor. Photo credit should read: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

The Duke of Edinburgh has given royal fans hoping to see him at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding a boost after he appeared at a major horse show.

Philip, 96, who has been convalescing after hip replacement surgery five weeks ago, joined hundreds of spectators at the Royal Windsor Horse Show in the shadow of his Windsor Castle home on Friday.

It was his first public appearance since leaving hospital and he was spotted at the wheel of a Land Rover Freelander, chatting for a few minutes with the Queen who was standing next to the open window.

With the countdown to the wedding now in earnest, final preparations are being put in place for Harry and Meghan’s big day next Saturday.

About 100,000 spectators are expected to flock to Windsor for the wedding celebrations and watch the newlyweds’ carriage procession after they exchange vows at the castle’s St George’s Chapel.

More than 250 members of the armed forces will be in Windsor including some who served with Harry in the UK and Afghanistan, where he flew Apache helicopters with 662 Squadron, 3 Regiment Army Air Corps.

Captain William Calder, 32, who will lead his soldiers in a royal salute as they emerge from the chapel, said: “It makes me a little bit nervous that we will be front and centre – the Queen and the senior members of the royal family will be stepping out the door right beside us and I’ll probably be positioned about five metres from them.”