War widow Daphne Dunne, 99, who hugged Prince Harry is laid to rest

Prince Harry's biggest Australian fan, war widow Daphne Dunne, was farewelled on Tuesday in a service that celebrated her long and extraordinary life.

Mrs Dunne, 99, was remembered as a 'beloved Australian' whose personal encounters with the Duke of Sussex had touched the hearts of millions around the world.

Mrs Dunne's flag-draped casket was piped into St Philip's Anglican Church in the heart of Sydney to the tune of Waltzing Matilda, led by the Canberra Pipes and Drums.

Among those paying their respects was New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian.

Her daughter Michelle Haywood said Mrs Dunne had shared a warm and sincere relationship with Prince Harry, who she met three times on his Australian tours.

'My mum certainly was always just my mum but somehow she became like a mum and a nanna to so many people,' Ms Haywood said.

Prince Harry's greatest Australian fan, war widow Daphne Dunne, was farewelled on Tuesday. The pair is pictured together on Prince Harry's most recent visit to Sydney

Prince Harry's greatest Australian fan, war widow Daphne Dunne, was farewelled on Tuesday. The pair is pictured together on Prince Harry's most recent visit to Sydney

The coffin of Daphne Dunne is carried into St Phillip's Anglican Church in Sydney on Tuesday. Mrs Dunne died just days after her 99th birthday

The coffin of Daphne Dunne is carried into St Phillip's Anglican Church in Sydney on Tuesday. Mrs Dunne died just days after her 99th birthday

Mrs Dunne died aged 99 just days after receiving a birthday card from Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

She had been suffering from a long bout of pneumonia but a birthday note from the royal couple had lifted her spirits in her last days.

Mrs Dunne died at the Sydney Adventist Hospital with her daughter Michelle Haywood and one of her granddaughters by her side.

'She fought as hard as she could but it just got too much,' Ms Haywood told Daily Mail Australia two weeks ago. 'It's just so sad. You always want that little bit more.' 

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian greets Mrs Dunne's daughter Michelle outside the church ahead of the funeral service

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian greets Mrs Dunne's daughter Michelle outside the church ahead of the funeral service

Mrs Dunne died just days after her 99th birthday where she received a card from Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

Mrs Dunne died just days after her 99th birthday where she received a card from Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

Mrs Dunne died at the Sydney Adventist Hospital on April 1, three days after her birthday, with her daughter Michelle (pictured) and one of her granddaughters by her side

Mrs Dunne died at the Sydney Adventist Hospital on April 1, three days after her birthday, with her daughter Michelle (pictured) and one of her granddaughters by her side

Mrs Dunne died after a struggle with pneumonia. Pictured are mourners at her funeral service on Tuesday including Premier Ms Berejiklian (second from left)

 Mrs Dunne died after a struggle with pneumonia. Pictured are mourners at her funeral service on Tuesday including Premier Ms Berejiklian (second from left)

Ms Berejiklian pays her respects and comforts Mrs Dunne's daughter Michelle at the funeral service

Ms Berejiklian pays her respects and comforts Mrs Dunne's daughter Michelle at the funeral service

Prince Harry first spotted a replica Victoria Cross pinned to Mrs Dunne's chest at the Sydney Opera House after he completed a deployment with the Australian Defence Force in 2015.

They met again in 2017 during a rainy Invictus Games launch event, and the prince introduced Mrs Dunne to his new wife outside the Opera House during the royal couple's visit to Sydney last year. 

A spokesman for the royal family said the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were 'deeply saddened by the news' and would write to Mrs Dunne's relatives privately. 

The spokesman added: 'Their thoughts are with Daphne's family and friends at this difficult time.' 

Daphne Dunne's first meeting with Prince Harry at the Sydney Opera House on May 7, 2015

Daphne Dunne's first meeting with Prince Harry at the Sydney Opera House on May 7, 2015

Prince Harry meets war widow Daphne Dunne for the second time in Sydney on June 7, 2017

Prince Harry meets war widow Daphne Dunne for the second time in Sydney on June 7, 2017

The war widow was pictured in her hospital bed just days before her death, reading the card sent to her by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

The war widow was pictured in her hospital bed just days before her death, reading the card sent to her by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle 

DAPHNE AND HARRY 

MAY 7, 2015: Prince Harry and Daphne Dunne meet outside the Sydney Opera House after he spots her wearing a replica Victoria Cross. 

JUNE 7, 2017: The pair catch up and share a hug at an Invictus Games launch event. 

OCTOBER 16, 2018: Prince Harry introduces Mrs Dunne to his new wife Meghan Markle outside the Opera House. 

The birthday message from the royal couple arrived just days before her death. 

'Dear Daphne, my wife and I send our warmest wishes to you on the occasion of your 99th birthday on Friday,' the card read.

'We hope you have a wonderful celebration surrounded by family and friends and that you've managed to escape hospital.  

'Congratulations on reaching this important and impressive milestone before your centenary year next year. 

'Happy Birthday Daphne. 

'Best wishes, Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.' 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison was among those to pay tribute to Mrs Dunne on social media after her death, saying his thoughts were with her family and friends.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex meeting Daphne during a walkabout outside the Sydney Opera House on the first day of the Royal couple's visit to Australia in 2018

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex meeting Daphne during a walkabout outside the Sydney Opera House on the first day of the Royal couple's visit to Australia in 2018

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison paid tribute to Daphne on social media, saying his thoughts were with her family and friends

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison paid tribute to Daphne on social media, saying his thoughts were with her family and friends 

Mrs Dunne's first husband Albert Chowne was killed during a raid on the Japanese in Papua New Guinea on March 25, 1945. He received the Victoria Cross for his bravery

Mrs Dunne's first husband Albert Chowne was killed during a raid on the Japanese in Papua New Guinea on March 25, 1945. He received the Victoria Cross for his bravery

Mrs Dunne died at the Sydney Adventist Hospital on April 1, three days after her birthday, with her daughter Michelle Haywood (pictured) and one of her granddaughters by her side

Mrs Dunne died at the Sydney Adventist Hospital on April 1, three days after her birthday, with her daughter Michelle Haywood (pictured) and one of her granddaughters by her side

Social media was awash with emotional tributes to the 99-year-old, pictured here in her hospital bed with pet Meeko on her birthday

Social media was awash with emotional tributes to the 99-year-old, pictured here in her hospital bed with pet Meeko on her birthday 

Mrs Dunne spent her birthday with Ms Haywood, grandchildren Katie and Charlie, and nieces Denise, Robyn and Lynette, as well as her pomeranian Meeko.

'She had the most beautiful day, surrounded by so much love and colour and flowers,' Ms Haywood said.

'Everyone that walked past her hospital room was just blown away. No one could believe it was a hospital room.

'The staff were amazing. They made mum's last few days beautiful.' 

Ms Haywood, who is the daughter of Mrs Dunne's second husband, said on her birthday: 'Meghan and Harry have gotten mum through this terrible illness she's had.'

'She's still very unwell and I think the card they've sent means so much. I think it will be the thing that gets her through.' 

Mrs Dunne's first husband Albert Chowne

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