Brits urged to raise a glass to Prince Philip as the nation's pubs – including Windsor's Duke of Edinburgh – reopen

THE landlords of the Duke of Edinburgh pub have raised a toast to Prince Philip and urged the rest of England to do the same today as the country unlocks.

Nick Tilt and Annie Andrews held up their glasses outside their boozer in Windsor — just a few miles from the Castle.

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Staff and locals joined them as they paid tribute to the Queen’s husband, who died on Friday at the age of 99.

They gathered as the pub, like many others, prepared to reopen today — to provide outdoor service.

Windsor-born Annie, 65, said it was “fantastic” to raise a glass to the Duke – who was fond of beer — and to “let out a big cheers!”

She added: “It’s very special to remember him. He had a remarkable life. We’re very proud to celebrate it.

“We know he was a real ale fan so we’re looking into maybe getting a special beer created with the brewery with his name.

"We have put his photo on the front door as a way of remembering him.

“We’re royalists and our customers are, they’re largely all from Windsor, so it’s very important.”

Nick, 60 — who has run the pub for 22 years with Annie — admitted Prince Philip was his favourite royal.

He said: “Raising a toast to him has been brilliant. We can’t wait to welcome customers so we can do it with them as well. He was a brilliant man. He was my favourite royal and had been through so much.”

A specially-made banner, with the words “RIP HRH, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh” — with a photo of a Union Jack and balloons — will now be placed inside the pub.

There was a similar scene outside another Duke of Edinburgh pub in Swindon, Wilts — where landlords Mark and Allyson Thomson, some family members and staff also raised drinks in Prince Philip’s memory.

Some held up photos of the Prince and copies of Saturday’s edition of The Sun which reported the grief felt with the Royal Family, across the UK and around the world.

Mark, 57, agreed it was important to mark the sad loss.

He said: “The Duke’s death feels a bit like losing a family member because he’s been around for so many years.”

Back at the Windsor pub, Annie was already making plans to throw a party for punters on June 10 — what would have been the Duke’s 100th birthday.

She said that although her boozer was actually named after one of Queen Victoria’s sons, its bosses and staff had always regarded it as a monument to Prince Philip.

She added: “It’s such a shame and upsetting he didn’t make it to 100.

“I know locals will be celebrating with us when it would have been the milestone. We’ll be able to raise another glass to him then as well.”

Locals stopping by to join Annie and Nick’s salute yesterday included David and Sally Snowden, who live just around the corner from the pub.

Retired developer David, 67, said: “We’ve been looking at the pub outside our bedroom window with excitement at it opening.

“We’re traditionalists and royalists around here and the Duke dying is very sad but to pay tribute like this is special.

“It really means a lot to be here. Philip was a brilliant character. I really found him inspirational.”

Sally, a singer, 57, added: “Raising a toast is great. I was so upset when it was announced he’d died.

“But I love how there’s now a photo of him and we have the banner. I cannot wait for the pub to open.”

Property manager David Hurn, 54, met Prince Philip and the Queen when as a youngster he was part of the Cranbourne Cubs pack.

David said: “Philip made us all laugh. He was such a character. I’m really pleased we can raise a glass for him.

“I’ve raised a beer. It’s great. I’m going to be one of the first into the garden when it opens properly and we can remember him with a few beers.

"He’s been a great servant to the country.”

The Sun says

WE suspect that today will see more glasses raised to toast Prince Philip than any member of the Royal Family has received in history.

And if that’s less to do with a sudden surge in ardent royalists, and more because his passing has coincided with the whole of England being allowed to go to the pub for the first time in three long months, it’s a rather fitting tribute nonetheless.

After all, the Duke of Edinburgh was himself partial to a good ale, preferring his favourite Double Diamond to even the finest wines the world had to offer.

And with Covid precautions restricting Philip’s funeral this weekend to a scaled-down affair, with no crowds, a tipple (or soft drink) in his honour at your local for those who can seems to us like the next best way to pay respect.

Today, of course, is about more than just pubs.

There’s a whole range of other activities we’ll be able to experience almost as if for the first time, whether that’s going to the hairdresser, the library, the gym or non-essential shops.

The positive effects for our economy are crucial but those for our physical and mental health are incalculable.

Even zoo animals, many of which displayed signs of boredom in lockdown, will today feel the benefit of getting to gawp at people once again.

It is easy to sympathise, given that the experiences of the animals and their human visitors since lockdown began have not been too far removed.

Meanwhile spare a thought for those landlords and landladies who can’t open just yet, such as those with pubs without outdoor areas or those in Wales who must wait another fortnight.

Think, too, of those facing a tough return to work, and we don’t just mean the barber tasked with chopping Boris Johnson’s unruly mane this morning.

Two thirds of shopworkers polled said they fear abuse from customers when they reopen, just for implementing Covid regulations. We must each do our bit to prove those fears groundless.

The rules might be inconvenient but they are key to preventing the virus gaining a foothold again.

It’s also important to bear in mind many of those out today may still be a bit nervous. A little extra patience and consideration, even amid the excitement, is hardly too much to ask.

No one wants yet another lockdown so we must all heed the PM’s call to “behave responsibly”.

The latest Covid figures are extraordinary — yesterday marked the lowest deaths and cases tally since early September, while Saturday saw the most second jabs given in a day so far.

Let’s keep our eye on the road, so we can leave our foot on the accelerator.

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