Watch: Royal recalls ‘rainy day’ memory with ‘uncle Philip’
Prince Philip was the "glue" that held the German side of his family together, his great-niece has said.
Born Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, the Duke of Edinburgh's older sisters married into German aristocracy, and he remained close to the descendants throughout his life.
Three of his relatives are attending the ceremony at Windsor Castle on Saturday, representing the wider family which he made sure to spend time with both in Germany and the UK.
Speaking from Munich, Princess Xenia of Hohenlohe-Langenburg told the BBC: "To all of us, he was an idol, he was somebody to look up to, we had enormous respect for him and it was always very exciting when he came to visit, and he came often.
"And this has become clear to me in the week since he’s died – the way he lived his life, his motto, which was an unwritten motto for us, this discipline, this selflessness, this lack of ego, but also his sense of humour always underlying all of that.
"His hard work and the philosophy that the Duke of Edinburgh Awards have given so many young people is something that is constantly underlying our lives, and it’s certainly something that I’ve always aspired to live up to.”
Princess Xenia is the sister of Prince Phillipp, who flew to the UK earlier this week and is reported to have been isolating in a home in Ascot with Prince Donatus and Prince Bernhard.
Speaking about her brother’s attendance at the funeral, Xenia added: "It’s a huge honour, obviously, and having spoken to my brother yesterday, he’s just saying it’s a very special time for the cousins to be together and to be representing what is a huge part of the Duke of Edinburgh’s family.
"You just have to think that there were 16 direct cousins of the Prince of Wales… that’s a huge number of people, and there’s three descendants that are able to be there to represent us is a huge honour and is deeply felt."
Paying tribute to her great uncle she said: "He’s been like a glue for the family, because sadly a lot of our grandmothers passed away much too early.
"But he was always there, he was the link, so he brought all of us cousins, even though we were in Germany – a lot of us but not all of us – he brought us all together on a lot of family occasions, the last one having been his 90th birthday celebrations 10 years ago at Windsor.
"We were all there, there was a huge bunch of us, and it was lovely."
Watch: Prince Philip funeral: Duke 'involved in every detail' of planning, says Archbishop of Canterbury
She was not the only royal to honour the duke on Saturday, as Prince Hassan bin Talal, of the Jordanian Royal Family, also remembered him.
He told Radio 4: "We were frequently guests at Sandringham and Balmoral, and in that context established a personal relationship
"I remember saying to him, 'How do I refer to you?'. He said, 'Philip is a perfectly good name'.
"I think I was very close to knowing the man, the human being, and in that sense I feel the privilege in having known not only an encyclopaedia of knowledge, but also an icon of human dignity."
The tributes came just hours before the scaled back ceremony, which will have just 30 mourners because of coronavirus restrictions.
But Prince Hassan said he did not think the duke would mind the smaller service.
He said: "On the contrary, I think he had every right to make it as personal and as poignant.
"The word reconfiguration is a long word but when I see the hearse being reconfigured into that Land Rover where we bounced around every year – it was quite an uncomfortable ride sometimes – but this was his right.
"He lived in a world in which he had spent so much time proving: 'this I can do'."
The duke's children and grandchildren have also spent the week paying tribute to him.
On Friday evening, Mike Tindall, who is married to Zara, one of the duke's granddaughters, shared a picture of Philip eating a meal with his great-granddaughter Mia, outside a log cabin.
Former rugby player Tindall said: "It’s been a very sad week but it has given us time to reflect on great memories and stories both personal and shared. A devoted family man who we will forever miss but always love."
The Queen also shared a photo, from her private collection, taken in Scotland near to her Balmoral estate.
The Duke of Edinburgh's funeral will be held at 3pm on Saturday, preceded by a procession at 2.40pm through the grounds of Windsor Castle.
Members of the public have been urged to stay away from Windsor, with no part of the ceremony viewable from outside the castle.
A nationwide minute of silence will be held at 3pm.