Penelope, who had been a close companion of both Her Majesty the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, was pictured at Westminster Abbey in an all-black ensemble including a black tailored jacket dress and elegant hat.
The close friend of the royals was one of 2,000 guests who were invited to the state funeral which began at 11 am on Monday 19 September. Known informally as Penny, the Countess is the only daughter of butcher-turned-businessman Reginald Eastwood and she became close to the royal family through her relationship with Norton Knatchbull, 3rd Earl of Mountbatten.
Penelope was an immediate hit with the royals, but particularly impressed the Queen and Philip when she was first introduced by Norton in 1975.
Despite an age difference of more than 30 years, a shared love of the outdoors allowed their friendship to flourish, which only strengthened after Philip taught the Countess to drive carriages in 1994.
While Penelope was seen in public riding alongside Philip, her friendship with the Queen grew behind closed doors. Penelope also joined the Queen and the royal family at the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral in April 2021.
Penelope and Prince Philip bonded over their love of outdoor sports
The service for the Queen’s state funeral, which featured a reading from the prime minister and the Archbishop of Canterbury, began with a procession of the Queen’s coffin which was followed by her immediate family. King Charles and Camilla, the Queen Consort, walked directly behind the coffin.
Joining them were Princess Anne and Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, the Duke of York, and Prince Edward and Sophie Wessex. Behind the Queen’s children was the Prince and Princess of Wales and their two eldest children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, followed by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.