Since the news of the Duke of Edinburgh’s death, royal well wishers have been preparing for Prince Philip’s funeral. Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II, died the age of 99 on April 9, 2021.
“It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen announces the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh,” Buckingham Palace confirmed in a statement at the time. “His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle. Further announcements will be made in due course. The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss.”
The Queen and Prince Philip, who wed on November 20, 1947, were married for almost 74 years. The couple share four children: Prince Charles, 72, Princess Anne, 70, Prince Andrew, 61, and Prince Edward, 57. In a post on the Royal Family’s Instagram account on April 10, the Queen paid tribute to her late husband with a quote from their golden wedding anniversary in 1997. “He has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years, and I, and his whole family, and this and many other countries, owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim, or we shall ever know,” the quote read.
The post continued, “At The Queen’s Coronation in 1953, The Duke of Edinburgh swore to be Her Majesty’s ‘liege man of life and limb.’ The Duke was a devoted consort (companion to the Sovereign) for almost 70 years, from Her Majesty’s Accession in 1952 until his death.”
It’s clear that the royal family and well wishers across the world are in mourning over the Duke of Edinburgh’s death. Ahead is what we know about Prince Philip’s funeral and if fans can watch it to pay tribute to the late royal.
What happens before Prince Philip’s funeral?
After Prince Philip’s death, the Queen is expected to start an eight-day mourning period, at which all royal duties and state affairs will be paused. After the eight days, the United Kingdom is also expected to enter a 10-day mourning period, with the royal household doing the same for 30 days, according to Entertainment Tonight. “If there are any appearances of [the royal family] in the days or weeks ahead, we will see them dressed appropriately in black,” Omid Scobie, co-author of Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family, told Entertainment Tonight. “But across the board, you can really imagine that all royal engagements over the next eight days at least have been put to one side.”
When is Prince Philip’s funeral?
Prince Philip’s funeral will be on Saturday, April 17, at 3 p.m, according to Buckingham Palace.The service will be televised. According to Scobie, the funeral was delayed due to attendees, such as Prince Harry, who will have to quarantine for 10 days after arriving in the united Kingdom.
“Those final details, including when it will take place, are all being considered at the moment,” Scobie said. “So you can imagine that a lot of that stands from the fact that many people who will be attending this funeral perhaps on diplomatic terms will still have to quarantine for 10 days when they enter the country. That, of course, could include Prince Harry as well. So there are many things that they are going to need to take into account before they announce the official dates.”
Where will Prince Philip’s funeral be?
The funeral will take place at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. According to Scobie, Prince Philip’s body will lie at Windsor castle before his funeral at St. George’s Chapel, which is both in line with custom and the Duke of Edinburgh’s wishes. “With Prince Philip, he has asked for a much more quieter event. He has asked, in his words, a simple affair and that is exactly what is happening at the ceremonial service that will take place at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle,” Scobie said.
According to Buckingham Palace, Philip’s coffin, “covered with His Royal Highness’s Personal Standard and dressed with a wreath of flowers, is resting in the Private Chapel at Windsor Castle, where it will remain until the day of the funeral.” Pn April 17, it will be moved to a Bearer Party founded by The Queen’s Company, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards. “Positioned in the Quadrangle at Windsor Castle there will be representative detachments drawn from His Royal Highness’s military special relationships,” Buckingham Palace said.
The coffin will then be carried in “a purpose-built Land Rover”—which Philip was involved in the design of—which will be flanked by military Pall Bearers. In a small Ceremonial Procession, the coffin will be transported from the State Entrance to St. George’s Chapel for the service. Philip’s family, including Prince William and Prince Harry, will walk behind the coffin. The coffin will be carried by a Bearer Party founded by the Royal Marines to the top of the West Steps of St. George’s Chapel, where it will be taken by the Dean of Windsor and the Archbishop of Canterbury. The Duke of Edinburgh’s naval cap and sword will be placed on top of the coffin, with his insignia laid on the altar of the chapel. After the service, Philip will be interred in the royal vault in St. George’s Chapel.
Who will be guests at Prince Philip’s funeral?
It’s expected that many royal family members will attend Prince Philip’s funeral, including his children with Queen Elizabeth —Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward—and their grandchildren: Prince Harry, Prince William, Princess Beatrice, Princess Eugenie, Zara Tindall, Lady Louise Windsor, Peter Philips, and James, Viscount Severn. Due to the current health crisis, only 30 people will be able to attend, which “will very much reflect the personal wishes of the Duke.” The public also won’t be able to attend the funeral, though journalists and photographers will be present.
“So, it’s a small guest list which will comprised mostly of immediate family, some extended family and a few of Prince Philip’s closest aids, but had we not been in a pandemic,” royal reporter Kate Nicholl told Entertainment Tonight. “It would have been a bigger funeral than what we were expecting on Saturday with probably around 800 guests. So, aids will be working on reducing that guest list, crunching it down to 30, and of course it will be the queen who has overall sign off on who’s going to be at St. George’s Chapel on Saturday.”
One royal family member who will not attend is Meghan Markle, Harry’s wife and the Duchess of Sussex. Harry and Meghan moved from Kensington Palace to North America in January 2020. The couple currently live in Santa Barbara, California, with their son Archie Harrison Mountbatten Windsor. In February 2021, Meghan and Harry announced that they’re pregnant with a second child, a baby daughter. According to a source for Us Weekly, Meghan is recommended to stay in California and not fly back to the United Kingdom like Harry as she prepares for the final months of her pregnancy. “Meghan will be staying in California. She can’t go on doctor’s orders,” the insider said. “She is too far along to fly and it’s recommended she rest in the final months.”
What will Prince Philip’s funeral be like?
Unlike other late royal family members, Prince Philip will not have a state funeral due to the current health crisis. “There will be no state funeral held at this time for Philip,” a source told Us Weekly. “They do not want his death to have a negative impact on the U.K.’s pandemic protocols.” The magazine reports that the Queen Mother, who died in 2002, is the most recent British royal family member to lie in state at West Minster Hall in London. Both she and Princess Diana, who died five years prior, were given ceremonial funerals instead of state events.
Omid Scobie, co-author of Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family, told Entertainment Tonight that Prince Philip is entitled to a state funeral as the queen’s consort but requested to have a “quieter event before his death.
“A state funeral is what Prince Philip is entitled to as the queen’s consort, and it would be a day of mourning for the country but would involve heads of state from around the world being invited to congregate at Westminster Abbey to remember his life,” Scobie said. “It is something that we last saw with Princess Diana’s funeral, the whole world stood still for that moment.”
The royal author also notes that the funeral will be “carried out in military style” and will follow tradition for the most part. “There will be some changes, but it will ultimately be a day that reflected more than any state funeral could,” he said. “And that is exactly how he would have wanted it.”
He continued, “This will really give a chance for the royals to remember his life in a very peaceful and quiet way. It also avoids the worries that the government have over people congregating during the time of the pandemic. For Prince Philip, this is exactly what he wanted. It’s a send-off that he had asked for.”
Though the funeral will be “military style,” Prince Harry won’t be able to salute at his grandfather’s funeral, unlike his brother, Prince William, and his father, Prince Charles. Here’s why: After he and Meghan retired as working royals, Harry lost his honorary military titles, including that of Captain General of the Royal Marines.
According to Hello!, protocol states that retired service personnel are only allowed to wear their medals—not their uniform—at official engagements, which means that Harry will likely wear a suit instead of his military uniform at Philip’s funeral. Further, protocol states that only those in official military uniform can salute, which also means that Harry won’t be able to salute at Philip’s funeral unlike William and Charles.
Scobie claims that Philip “did not like fuss” and “made that known when it came to planning his funeral.” He reports that the Duke worked with the Lord Chamberlain’s office at Buckingham Palace “to ensure that it wasn’t a blown-up affair, and that means that it won’t be a state funeral. Instead, it will be a royal ceremonial funeral, which will be a much more private affair.”
According to Scobie, the funeral will look different due to the current health crisis, but well wishers can expect the royals to come together despite their recent drama.
“You’re going to see that funeral. That final send-off of the duke, but also in the best way they can due to the restrictions,” he said. “[The royals will come] together as a family and really supporting each other. It’s not often that moments like this happen in the royal family. This is really one of those times that everything becomes second, other than looking after the queen, and also remembering the life that was lost.”
For more about Prince Philip’s life, check out Ingrid Seward’s biography about the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip Revealed, Seward, a Majesty magazine editor who has been covering the British royal family for decades for, unravels the “enigma” that we know as Prince Philip. From his early childhood in Paris to his mother’s battle with schizophrenia to his military service in World War II, Seward covers topics that many royal followers may not know about or haven’t seen on The Crown. The book also discusses how Prince Philip was “initially distrusted” by the royal court before he found his place in Buckingham Palace.
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