The Duke of Edinburgh’s carriage-driving companion – one of his closest confidantes – Countess Mountbatten of Burma will join mourners at Philip’s funeral.
Buckingham Palace said the Queen faced “some very difficult” decisions as she selected the 30 guests permitted under Covid-19 rules, from the original 800-strong congregation, and had tried to ensure all branches of the duke’s family were there.
The 67-year-old countess – Penelope “Penny” Knatchbull, previously known as Lady Romsey and later Lady Brabourne – will join the monarch, the Queen and Philip’s four children and eight grandchildren and their respective spouses at the service in St George’s Chapel on Saturday.
Three German relatives – whose ancestors were denied a place at Princess Elizabeth and Philip’s wedding because of anti-German feeling after the second war – have been included.
They are Bernhard, Hereditary Prince of Baden; Prince Donatus, Landgrave of Hesse; and Prince Philipp of Hohenlohe-Langenburg.
Countess Mountbatten is the wife of Earl Mountbatten, Norton Knatchbull – the grandson of Philip’s beloved uncle the 1st Earl Mountbatten, who was murdered by the IRA in 1979.
Philip first began teaching Penny the daredevil equestrian sport of carriage driving in 1994 and they remained firm friends for the rest of his life.
They were often pictured together at the Royal Windsor Horse Show, sometimes riding mini motorcycles around the carriage driving course.
She was a regular visitor at the duke’s Wood Farm cottage at Sandringham after his retirement.
Others on the guest list include the Queen’s first cousins Princess Alexandra, the Duke of Gloucester and the Duke of Kent, who loyally supported the monarch and Philip by carrying out royal duties over the decades.
But missing from the list of the monarch’s cousins is Prince Michael of Kent, 78, who is not a working royal.
There was also not room for the spouses of the Queen’s cousins – the Duchess of Gloucester and the Duchess of Kent, nor Prince Michael’s often controversial wife, Princess Michael of Kent.
Also invited were the children of the Queen’s late sister Princess Margaret – the Earl of Snowdon and Lady Sarah Chatto and her husband David Chatto.
The Queen is particularly close to Lady Sarah.
Guests also include the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, the Princess Royal and husband Vice Admiral Timothy Laurence, the Duke of York, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the Duke of Sussex, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie and their spouses, Peter Phillips and Zara and Mike Tindall.
A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: “At its heart it is still a family event.
“We are following the Covid guidelines. There was a limit on who could be invited as a guest and Her Majesty wanted to ensure that all branches of the duke’s family were there, and had to make some very difficult decisions about who would be there.
“For those that unfortunately can’t be there, I’m sure they will be making their own private arrangements about how they commemorate the duke, and indeed celebrate the duke. ”
Also missing from the list is the Duchess of Sussex, who is pregnant with her second child was told by doctors not to fly, and the duke’s 10-great-grandchildren, who are all considered too young to attend.
The Duke of York’s ex-wife Sarah, Duchess of York, will not be there, but Fergie, as she is nicknamed, was never expected to be invited.
She was cast out of the royal family over her toe-sucking scandal, with Philip once describing her behaviour as “a bit odd”.
Countess Mountbatten – who was 32 years younger than the duke – is understood to have formed a close friendship with the Queen and Philip after her daughter Leonora died aged five from cancer in 1991.
Such was her bond with the royal couple that palace staff were said to have nicknamed her “and also”, because she was automatically added to guest lists.
All four of Philip’s sisters married German princes.
The husbands of three – princesses Margarita, Theodora and Sophie – served as German officers during the Second World War, while Philip and his uncle “Dickie” Mountbatten were on the Allies’ side, fighting for the Royal Navy.
Sophie’s first husband, Christoph, Prince of Hesse, was involved with the Nazi Party and flew with the Luftwaffe.
Prince Bernhard, 50, is the grandson of the duke’s second sister Theodora.
Prince Donatus, 54, known as Don, is head of the house of Hesse into which the duke’s younger sister Cecile and Sophie married.
Philipp, 52, is the grandson of the duke’s elder sister Princess Margarita.