Sir Bobby Charlton funeral: Coffin driven past thousands of fans at Old Trafford as Wills and Fergie lead mourners | The Sun

PRINCE William, Sir Alex Ferguson and Gareth Southgate have joined mourners to bid farewell to England legend Sir Bobby Charlton today.

The World Cup hero died aged 86 last month following a fall at a care home he was staying at amid a battle with dementia.

Legends from across the football world gathered to pay their respects at Manchester Cathedral today.

United legends Roy Keane, Nicky Butt, Steve Bruce, Paul Scholes, Mark Hughes, Peter Schmeichel and Andy Cole are among those attending the service at Manchester Cathedral today.

Current players were led by Harry Maguire, with Luke Shaw also joining mourners at the service

Uefa president Aleksander Čeferin, ex-England striker and BBC presenter Gary Lineker, former United midfielder Michael Carrick and Everton defender Ashley Young also attended.

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The funeral cortege began making its way to Old Trafford at 1.30pm, as thousands of fans lining the streets outside the stadium broke into applause.

Sir Bobby was commemorated alongside former teammates Denis Law and George Best in the "United Trinity" statue.

The cortege then began passing through a guard of honour comprising members of the club's youth team squads and the statue before setting off for the cathedral via the A56, Trinity Way, Chapel Street and Victoria Bridge.

Members of the public were invited forward by security to attend the funeral if they wish, with 500 spots made available.

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Speaking outside the service, former United goalkeeper Alex Stepney told Sky Sports News: "I can't thank him enough for helping me out. He was a perfect gentleman and a winner.

"He was an ordinary man, a great family man. He liked a bit o fun, he had craic, but deep down an honest man, couldn't have been a better player in international football and for United. He was the best."

United manager Erik Ten Hag was not in attendance at the ceremony due to an "unbreakable and long-standing personal commitment in Holland".

The commemoration was scheduled to start at 2pm and was led by Canon Nigel Ashworth.

The ceremony, which was not filmed or broadcast, included eulogies and tributes from former United chief executive David Gill and a personal tribute from Sir Bobby's family.

Hymns include Abide With Me, which is traditionally sung before the FA Cup final, Jerusalem and a rendition of How Great Thou Art by opera singer Russell Watson.

A United club statement reads: "It is expected that up to 1,000 guests will attend the cathedral to pay their respects to Sir Bobby and celebrate his incredible life as a husband, father, grandfather and, of course, as one of the finest footballers this country has ever produced.

"The Charlton family and Manchester United would like to thank everyone for the outpouring of love and respect towards Sir Bobby."

Sir Bobby's family has requested donations in lieu of flowers to a series of charities close to Charlton's heart – the Sir Bobby Charlton Foundation, the Children's Adventure Farm Trust, the Alzheimer's Society and Alzheimer's UK.

The midfielder made 758 appearances and scored 249 goals for the Red Devils in a glittering 17-year playing career.

He survived the 1958 Munich Air Disaster, which claimed the lives of eight of his fellow Busby Babes, and went on to win the World Cup with England in 1966 alongside older brother Jack.

His glittering career also included winning the European Cup with United two years later.

Charlton returned to the club as a director in 1984 and continued to serve both it and football in general as a much-admired ambassador until his latter years.

His stature in the game was reflected in the tributes which poured in after the news of his death was announced.

Sir Alex described him as a "tower of strength" during his 26-year spell at the helm.

In a eulogy published in the matchday programme ahead of the derby against Manchester City, he wrote: "It's no surprise to me that we've seen tributes to Sir Bobby from everywhere in the world, on every TV channel and in every newspaper, because he was without question the greatest English player of all time.

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"People loved him because of all those thunderbolt goals, but it was more than that. My dad used to say that humility in success is a sign of greatness, and that was Bobby.

"He never used to boast about his own achievements; it was always about the team and the club."

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