Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh will have the low-key royal funeral he always wanted with just his family in attendance— including his California-based grandson Prince Harry. The funeral will take place at 3 p..m. local time on Saturday, April 17 at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor where Philip spent the final days of his life alongside the Queen. In keeping with the Duke’s wishes, the coffin will be transported to St. George’s Chapel in a Land Rover Prince Philip helped to design.
The funeral service will be preceded by a ceremonial procession inside the grounds of Windsor Castle, including members of the royal family and the Duke’s household. Buckingham Palace confirmed that Prince Harry will attend, but Meghan Markle, who is pregnant, has been advised by doctors not to fly.
At 3 p..m. local time there will be a nationwide moment of silence before the funeral service begins. Buckingham Palace confirmed in a press release sent Saturday that the Duke of Edinburgh’s coffin, covered with His Royal Highness’s Personal Standard and dressed with a wreath of flowers, is currently resting in the Private Chapel at Windsor Castle, where it will remain until the day of the funeral.
The coffin, carried by a Bearer Party found by the Royal Marines, will be received at the top of the West Steps of St George’s Chapel by the Dean of Windsor and the Archbishop of Canterbury. The Duke of Edinburgh’s Naval Cap and Sword will be placed on the coffin ahead of the service and His Royal Highness’s Insignia will be laid on the Altar of the Chapel. At the conclusion of the service, His Royal Highness will be interred in the Royal Vault in St George’s Chapel.
Palace sources have confirmed there will be no military processions in the streets of Windsor to avoid attracting crowds, and just 30 mourners will be allowed in addition to the clergy at St George’s Chapel, in keeping with government Covid guidelines. Courtiers have spent the past 24 hours revising plans for the funeral, codenamed Operation Forth Bridge, because of Covid restrictions.
The Royal Family are now in a two week period of mourning that began on Friday, the day the palace announced that Philip had died. On Saturday the Queen was visited by her sons Prince Andrew and Prince Edward and Edward’s wife Sophie, who was close to tears as the royal couple pulled up at Windsor Castle. When asked how the Queen was, Sophie said that the Queen had been “amazing.”
And Prince Charles paid a touching and deeply personal tribute to his father in a televised address on behalf of the royal family. Referring to the Duke as “my dear papa” and a “deeply special person,” Charles said that he and his family “miss my father enormously” and were “deeply grateful” for the public support the Royal Family has received in the past days.
“As you can imagine, my family and I miss my father enormously,” Charles said. “He was a much loved and appreciated figure and apart from anything else, I can imagine, he would be so deeply touched by the number of other people here and elsewhere around the world and the Commonwealth, who also I think, share our loss and our sorrow.”
Philip made it clear when he was alive to his family and trusted staff that he wanted a low key ceremony and minimal fuss. Largely thanks to the pandemic, he has gotten his wish. There will be no public element to the funeral, and instead the proceedings will take place entirely in the grounds of Windsor Castle, away from public view. The palace has confirmed, however, that the service will be televised so that as many people as possible are able to share the experience and pay their respects.
The Palace has yet to confirm who will be in attendance but all of the Duke’s children, the senior royals and the Duke’s extended family including his grandchildren are expected to be present. It is expected that senior royals will keep a vigil at the private chapel at Windsor over the coming days.
A Palace spokesman said, “This event will be much reduced in scale with no public access. In line with Government guidelines and public health measures, there will be no public processions and the duke’s funeral will take place entirely within the grounds of Windsor Castle. The plans have been given final approval by the Queen and reflect appropriately Government advice. Despite these necessary changes, they still very much reflect the personal wishes of the duke. Although the ceremonial arrangements are reduced, the occasion will still celebrate and recognize the duke’s life and his more than 70 years of service to the Queen, the UK and the Commonwealth.”
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