Prince Philip's funeral next Saturday as Meghan advised not to travel
A national minute’s silence will be held ahead of Prince Philip’s funeral at 3pm next Saturday after his coffin is taken to St George’s Chapel in modified Land Rover he helped design – and Harry WILL be there but Meghan is told not to travel
- The Queen, 94, will only be able to invite 30 people to the ceremony – plus the clergy – at St George’s Chapel
- There were going to be 800 mourners from across the Duke’s military units, charities and the Commonwealth
- The final list, which is expected in the next few days, will likely be made up of senior members of Royal Family
- Prince Philip said that he wanted funeral with minimal fuss, but his passing was always going to be a big affair
- Meanwhile lorries were Saturday lunchtime seen hauling scaffolding into Windsor Castle for the preparations
Who could be invited to Prince Philip’s funeral?
The nation will fall silent ahead of the Duke of Edinburgh’s final farewell next week as the coffin bearing the country’s longest-serving consort is taken to the chapel in a Land Rover he helped design.
The event will be a royal funeral like no other, with the Queen and her family following guidelines and wearing face masks and socially distancing as they gather to pay tribute.
Only 30 people – expected to be the Duke’s children, grandchildren and other close family – will attend as guests, but the Duchess of Sussex has been advised by her physician not to travel to the UK for the funeral, a Palace spokesman said.
Buckingham Palace today announced that Philip’s ceremonial royal funeral will take place on April 17 in St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, and a national minute’s silence will be observed as it begins at 3pm.
The duke’s coffin will be transported from the castle to the chapel in a specially modified Land Rover he helped to design, and followed by the Prince of Wales and senior royals on foot, a senior Palace official said.
The Queen has approved the Prime Minister’s recommendation of national mourning, which began on April 9 and runs until and including the day of the funeral.
It is understood Meghan made every effort to be able to travel with Harry, who will be among the mourners, but has not received the medical clearance to board a plane.
Originally 800 people would have been due to gather to pay their respects to the nation’s longest serving consort, but Philip is known to have wanted a low key affair.
All public elements of the funeral have been cancelled, it will be televised but take place entirely in the grounds of the castle, the Palace said.
The Queen has decided the royal family will enter two weeks of royal mourning, and engagements will continue appropriate to the circumstances, a senior royal official said.
Public elements of Operation Forth Bridge – the codename for the duke’s funeral plans – were abandoned for fear of drawing crowds including the long held arrangements for military processions through London and Windsor.
Instead, the proceedings will take place entirely in the grounds of Windsor Castle, televised, but away from public view and with no access for royal fans.
The duke died peacefully in his sleep at Windsor Castle on Friday, two months before his 100th birthday, leaving the Queen and the royal family ‘mourning his loss’.
The Earl and the Countess of Wessex spent around an hour with the Queen at the castle on Saturday, with a tearful Sophie telling reporters as she left: ‘The Queen has been amazing.’
The Duke of York also arrived at Windsor on Saturday, while the Prince of Wales visited his mother there on Friday.
Gun salutes have been fired across the UK, in Gibraltar and at sea in tribute to the duke.
On the day of the funeral, the duke’s coffin, accompanied by the Dean of Windsor and the Lord Chamberlain, will be moved to the State Entrance of Windsor Castle by a Bearer Party of The Queen’s Company, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards.
On the grass in the Castle’s Quadrangle will be representative detachments drawn from Philip’s military special relationships.
The Quadrangle will also be lined by the Household Cavalry and The Foot Guards. The Band of the Grenadier Guards, of which Philip was Colonel for 42 years, will lead the procession to St George’s Chapel.
They will be followed by the Major General’s Party, and then the Service Chiefs, reflecting His Royal Highness’s close relationship with the military.
The Queen is pictured with the Duke of Edinburgh in 2007 walking at Broadlands, Hampshire
A lorry carrying scaffolding and stage building equipment arrives at the Henry VIII gate at Windsor Castle, Berkshire, on Saturday afternoon as preparations are made for Philip’s funeral
A lorry carrying scaffolding for the funeral preparations arrives at Windsor Castle on Saturday
Rosa Wlodarczyk adjusts a photograph of the Duke of Edinburgh displayed alongside the nave at Westminster Abbey in London, which has been dressed in black to mark his death
The Queen will only be able to invite 30 people to the ceremony at St George’s Chapel in the grounds of Windsor Castle. Pictured: Philip with William and Harry at the rugby world cup final in 2015
Prince Charles was seen leaving Windsor Castle yesterday evening, hours after the news of his father’s death broke. The Prince of Wales drove from his Highgrove Estate in Gloucestershire to the monarch’s Berkshire residence Friday morning
Funeral could help Royals heal ‘tension’, says Cardinal
Coming together for the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral could help heal any tensions between the royal family and the Duke of Sussex, a religious leader has said.
Harry laid bare his rift with members of his family during an interview in the United States with Oprah Winfrey last month. He is likely to fly in from his California home to attend his grandfather’s funeral, but it is not known if he will be joined by the Duchess of Sussex as she is pregnant.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, said gathering for Philip’s funeral could allow the family to have ‘a comparative bit of privacy’ together.
He told Times Radio: ‘I think there might be a bit of consolation in it for the royal family actually because it just gives them a chance to be close and to have a comparative bit of privacy. Obviously the whole ceremony will be watched by everybody but you think of the complexities of the dynamics in that family and we have to think of Harry, so far away. I’m sure he’ll come but not being, the whole time, in the public eye might just help.
‘Many a family gather and get over tension and broken relationships at the time of a funeral. Something very profound unites them all again. And that would be true for this family, I’m sure.’
The coffin, borne on the Land Rover, will be flanked by pallbearers drawn from the duke’s special relationships – the Royal Marines, regiments, corps and air stations.
The procession from the state entrance to the west steps of St George’s Chapel will take eight minutes.
The Prince of Wales and members of the royal family will take part in the procession on foot, immediately behind the duke’s coffin, together with staff from Philip’s household.
The route of the procession will be lined by representatives drawn from the Royal Navy, the Royal Marines, the Highlanders, 4th Battalion Royal Regiment of Scotland and the Royal Air Force.
Minute guns will be fired by the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery from the east lawn of Windsor Castle for the duration of the procession, and the Curfew Tower Bell will toll.
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 recognise the duke’s life and his more than 70 years of service to the Queen, the UK and the Commonwealth.’
The Royal Family still faces a dilemma over who to invite to Prince Philip’s funeral due to the coronavirus restrictions in place across England.
The Queen will only be able to invite 30 people to the ceremony – plus the clergy – at St George’s Chapel in the grounds of Windsor Castle.
Originally there were going to be 800 mourners from across the Duke of Edinburgh’s military units, charities and associates from across the Commonwealth.
PREGNANT MEGHAN WILL NOT ATTEND FUNERAL
The pregnant Duchess of Sussex will not be attending the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral after medical advice.
The Duke of Sussex will make the journey from the couple’s home in California and will be following Covid-19 protocols for the trip, as well as during his visit.
It is understood that Meghan, who is pregnant with her second child, had made every effort to join her husband but was not given clearance to travel by her doctor.
The duke and duchess posted a tribute to Philip on the website of their foundation Archewell on Friday.
It reads: ‘In loving memory of His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh 1921-2021. Thank you for your service… You will be greatly missed.’
It was posted against a sombre brown background.
Harry has not returned to the UK since stepping down as a senior royal just over a year ago.
It also be the first time he has seen his family in person since his and Meghan’s bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey – in which they accused the royal family of racism and the institution failing to support a suicidal Meghan.
The two-hour interview was aired while Philip was in hospital after surgery on his heart.
The Queen issued a statement saying ‘while some recollections may vary’, the issues would be taken ‘very seriously’, but dealt with privately as a family.
The Duke of Cambridge, in a rare move on a royal engagement, spoke out publicly saying ‘We’re very much not a racist family’, as the royals’ ability to carry out official duties linked to diversity, inclusion and mental health was called into question.
Harry told Oprah Winfrey that he felt let down by his father the Prince of Wales and that ‘there’s a lot of hurt that’s happened’ between them, and that his relationship with his brother William was ‘space’ but he loved him to bits.
Currently, funerals can be attended by a maximum of 30 people due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Mourners coming from outside England are required to self-isolate from arrival and for the first full 10 days after they arrive.
But Harry will be entitled to leave his place of self-isolation on compassionate grounds to attend the funeral.
He could also be released from quarantine if he gets a negative private test on day five under the Test to Release scheme.
The final list, which is expected in the next few days, will likely be made up of senior members of the Royal Family as well as the Prime Minister.
Prince Philip said he wanted a funeral with minimal fuss, but the passing of Britain’s longest serving consort was always going to be a big affair – and lorries were today seen hauling scaffolding into Windsor Castle for the preparations.
His hope for a ‘royal ceremonial funeral’ – similar to the Queen Mother’s – rather than a full state funeral, had already been granted.
But the pandemic and restrictions means this has been hastily redrawn, with Her Majesty said to have been in talks with officials last night.
They tweaked Operation Forth Bridge and are having to drastically scale back the number of people invited to the ceremony, next Saturday.
The names of those invited have not been released, but it is expected to be mostly made up of senior members of the Royal Family.
The first names on the list will likely be Her Majesty, Prince Charles and Prince William – those directly in line to the throne.
Prince Philip’s other children are also expected to be there: Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward.
Next could be the partners of the senior royals, who are present at most official events.
These are Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, the Princess Royal’s husband Vice Admiral Timothy Laurence and Sophie, Countess of Wessex.
The rest of those to be invited is less certain but the remaining could heavily feature more distant members of the Royal Family.
Princess Anne’s children Peter Phillips and Zara Tindall could be there, with Zara’s husband and former England rugby star Mike also present.
Princess Beatrice could be joined by Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, who she married last year.
Her younger sister Princess Eugenie may well also be invited, along with her husband of three years Jack Brooksbank.
Sophie, Countess of Wessex’s children may also make the cut – Lady Louise Windsor and James, Viscount Severn.
It is also likely the Queen will invite her cousins and their spouses: Princess Alexandra, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Duke and Duchess of Kent and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, who have offered loyal support and service over the years.
And the Queen is close to the children of her late sister Princess Margaret – her nephew the Earl of Snowdon and niece Lady Sarah Chatto – and is likely to want them to be present as a source of comfort.
The Queen and Philip’s 10 great-grandchildren – Savannah and Isla Phillips; Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis of Cambridge; Mia, Lena and Lucas Tindall; Archie Mountbatten-Windsor; and August Brooksbank – are likely to be considered too young to attend the televised proceedings as all are aged 10 and under.
Under the previous plans for his funeral – known in the royal household as ‘Forth Bridge’ – his body would have been embalmed immediately and taken to the Albert Memorial Chapel by St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.
The Mail understands Philip’s coffin was last night at the castle, where the Queen is in residence, most probably resting in her private chapel of worship.
Under pre-Covid plans, it would have been brought to London today by road and taken to St James’s Palace to reside temporarily in the intimate Chapel Royal.
ST GEORGE’S CHAPEL: 15TH CENTURY FUNERAL VENUE STEEPED IN ROYAL HISTORY
St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle is the resting place of 10 monarchs. Steeped in history, the 15th century gothic church, set in the Lower Ward of the Queen’s favourite residence, has seen many royal funerals and weddings
St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle is the resting place of 10 monarchs.
Steeped in history, the 15th century gothic church, set in the Lower Ward of the Queen’s favourite residence, has seen many royal funerals and weddings.
It was the setting for the marriage of the Duke of Sussex and Meghan Markle, now the Duchess of Sussex, in May 2018.
The Duke of Edinburgh, who had just recovered from a hip operation, was among the 600 guests who gathered to watch Harry, the Queen and Philip’s grandson, wed the American former actress in a star-studded ceremony.
It was also the venue for the wedding of Princess Eugenie to Jack Brooksbank in October 2018.
As well as the scene of royal celebrations, it has also been a place of sadness for the Windsors.
The funeral of Princess Margaret, the Queen’s sister, took place at St George’s in 2002, as did the private committal service for the Queen Mother the same year.
Both are now buried in the tiny George VI Memorial Chapel within the main chapel with the Queen’s father King George VI, whose funeral took place at St George’s in 1952.
The chapel in Berkshire was also the setting for the funerals of Princess Alexandra’s husband Sir Angus Ogilvy in 2005 and Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester in 2004.
Within the chapel are the tombs of 10 sovereigns – as well as George VI, the remains of Edward IV, Henry VI, Henry VIII and his third wife Jane Seymour, the beheaded Charles I, George III, George IV, William IV, Edward VII and George V also rest there.
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall’s marriage was blessed in the gothic surrounds in 2005 while the Earl and Countess of Wessex wed there in 1999.
Construction of the chapel was started in 1475 by Edward IV and completed under Henry VIII in 1528.
The chapel is a place of worship for the sovereign and the royal family, and is often at the heart of royal events.
The Windsors gather there each year for Easter services and in the past for occasions such as the service to mark the Duke of Edinburgh’s 90th birthday.
Like Westminster Abbey, it is known as a Royal Peculiar, with the Dean of Windsor responsible only to the sovereign.
It is the Chapel of the Order of the Garter, the premier order of chivalry in England.
Each year in June, royals who are Knights and Ladies of the Garter usually process in carriages from Windsor Castle’s state apartments down the hill to the chapel for the traditional Order of the Garter ceremony.
They dress in their Garter robes – heavy blue velvet capes and black velvet hats with elaborate white ostrich plumes.
On each side of the Quire are the beautifully carved stalls of the Knights and Ladies of the Garter, constructed between 1478 and 1495.
Last year’s Order of the Garter ceremony was cancelled because of the Covid-19 crisis.
Kate, Duchess of Cambridge (pictured with William in 2019), the Princess Royal’s husband Vice Admiral Timothy Laurence and Sophie, Countess of Wessex could be at the funeral
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, will likely be at the funeral. Yesterday was the anniversary of her wedding to Prince Charles (pictured, June 2020)
The Queen’s son Prince Edward and his wife Sophie, Countess of Wessex (pictured in November on Armistice Day) will likely be at the ceremony
The Queen’s second son, sported a blue jacket, slacks, a helmet and gloves as he enjoyed a ride near his home last week. He will likely be at his father’s funeral
Prince Harry (pictured at the Commonwealth Day Service in London last March) is jetting off from California to attend the funeral, but Meghan Markle is not coming
There will be no lying in state and no state funeral for Philip, in accordance with his wishes.
His ceremonial royal funeral and burial are expected to take place in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.
Buckingham Palace will confirm the arrangements for the duke’s funeral in the next day or so. Philip helped draw up the details himself and was determined there should be a minimum of fuss.
Members of the public usually leave flowers at the gates of Buckingham Palace, but stay at home advice means people are forbidden from going out unless necessary.
At some point, there will be gun salutes in the duke’s honour – if the military are able to facilitate this. Union flags on royal buildings where the monarch is not in residence will fly at half-mast.
The Queen has to decide whether the royal family enters Court Mourning – dressing in black and using black-edged writing paper – or the alternative, shorter Family Mourning – dressing in black – and how long this will last.
Some official engagements may continue, but social engagements – all on hold anyway because of the pandemic – are usually cancelled after the death of a senior member of the royal family unless in aid of charity.
The Government decides on the length of any National Mourning. A nationwide two-minute silence could take place, as it did for the Queen Mother on the day of her funeral.
Parliament is likely to honour the duke, with politicians gathering for special sessions in both the Commons and the Lords.
But arrangements will depend on what the Government is advising in terms of MPs socially distancing in Parliament.
The Queen may record a televised speech in tribute to her husband, just as she did for the Queen Mother in 2002, but it will depend on how she is feeling.
The rest of Philip’s family are likely to release their own statements about the royal patriarch.
Traditionally, the duke’s coffin would have been moved to the Chapel Royal at St James’s Palace to remain at rest for several days, but this is unlikely to be necessary if there is no longer a London element to the plans. The monarch and the royal family will pay their respects in private, as will household staff.
Philip’s children are likely to hold a private vigil at some stage around the coffin if restrictions permit. A military involvement is expected to take place within the grounds of Windsor Castle.
The duke’s coffin will not lie in state and the funeral will not be a state one; instead it is set to be a ceremonial royal funeral. The duke’s funeral is expected to take place at Windsor Castle’s St George’s Chapel eight days after his death.
The College of Arms said yesterday there will be no lying-in-state and Philip’s coffin would lie at rest at Windsor Castle ahead of his funeral in St George’ Chapel, most likely next Saturday.
It is likely to have been draped with his personal standard – which bears references to his Danish and Greek royal heritage, his Mountbatten roots and Edinburgh title – and a floral wreath from his family.
A vigil by his children – Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward – is likely to take place at Windsor.
On the day of his funeral, Philip’s coffin is expected to be carried by bearers from the Queen’s Company, First Battalion Grenadier Guards.
The duke will be placed on a gun carriage belonging to the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery, drawn by a Royal Navy gun crew. The carriage – a personal request by Philip – is the one that carried Queen Victoria at her funeral in 1901.
A planned cortege through Windsor is now unlikely to take place. But inside Windsor Castle, events are likely to be largely the same, but with fewer mourners.
The coffin will be met by a guard of honour from The Rifles and a band in Horseshoe Cloister, surrounded by houses built in the 15th century for the chapel’s ‘singing men’.
Twelve singers known as lay clerks still live there, and they will perform during the service, with a bell tolling throughout.
On the grass south of the West Gate will be Royal Navy pipers.
A bearer party of Royal Marines will carry the coffin into St George’s Chapel via the West Steps, lined by the Household Cavalry, where the Dean of Windsor and the Archbishop of Canterbury will wait.
The coffin will be taken into the Quire – the resting place of most of the monarchs buried at the chapel. Inside or under the Quire are Edward VII, Henry VI, Edward IV, George III, George IV and William IV, Henry VIII and Charles I.
Philip’s catafalque will be placed on a black marble slab, which is the entrance to the Royal Vault.
The hymns requested by the prince are believed to include his favourite seafarer’s anthem, For Those In Peril On The Sea. At the end of the service a Psalm and the ‘ashes to ashes’ text will be read as a piper plays a lament.
The coffin will be lowered into the Royal Vault and will remain there until the Queen dies and they are buried together in the memorial chapel.
The day after the funeral, flags will be brought back to full mast, although the Court will remain in mourning for three more weeks.
Buckingham Palace said in a statement: ‘During the coronavirus pandemic, and in light of current government advice and social distancing guidelines, modified funeral and ceremonial arrangements for His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh are being considered by Her Majesty The Queen. Details will be confirmed in due course.’
The Queen has entered an eight-day period of mourning following the death of her husband today aged 99 – as arrangements for his funeral, codenamed Operation Forth Bridge, have begun.
Zara Tindall and her husband and former England rugby player Mike could be at the funeral. They are pictured at Cheltenham last year
Princess Beatrice (spotted enjoying a wintery afternoon stroll with her husband Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi in London in January) could be there with her husband
Her younger sister Princess Eugenie may well also be invited, along with her husband of three years Jack Brooksbank (pictured with their baby)
Lady Louise Windsor (pictured), 17, paid a touching tribute to her grandfather Prince Philip today as she was spotted out carriage driving in the grounds of Windsor Castle on the morning of his death. She may attend his funeral
Her brother James, Viscount Severn is pictured in Hunter wellies in 2019. He could be invited to the funeral of the late Prince
Gun salute for Prince Philip: Artillery in London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Gibraltar join Royal Navy warships in firing 41 rounds in 41 minutes to pay tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh
A gun salute rang out around the world today in honour of Prince Philip who died yesterday aged 99, with Royal Navy warships firing 41 shots over 40 minutes from midday in unison with batteries across the UK, Gibraltar and in his beloved Commonwealth.
Crowds gathered on Tower Bridge to watch members of the Honourable Artillery Company fire their cannons from the Tower of London as shots also echoed around the capital from the historic barracks seven miles away at Woolwich, finishing at 12.40pm precisely.
HMS Diamond, a 8,000-tonne destroyer dubbed ‘the jewel in the naval crown, set sail from Portsmouth on Friday with her flag at half mast and in the Channel held its gun salute in memory of the Duke of Edinburgh, a celebrated sailor and war hero.
She is the modern successor to the destroyers Philip served on during the Second World War as part of his 14-year naval career. HMS Montrose, a Type 23 Frigate, fired her 4.5 inch main gun in the Gulf, where she is based.
On land ‘Solemn’ 41-shot salutes took place from the wharf at the Tower of London, in Belfast, Cardiff and Edinburgh as well as from Naval bases in Portsmouth, Plymouth and the Rock of Gibraltar.
The Kings Troop Royal Horse Artillery fired on the Parade Ground at the historic Woolwich Barracks using the same guns also fired for Philip’s wedding to the Queen in 1947 and at her Coronation six years later in 1953.
An artillery salute has already taken place at Parliament House in Adelaide this morning, with similar commemorations repeated across the Commonwealth.
Royal fans have been told not to attend any part of the events that make up the funeral due to Covid restrictions.
They have also been asked not to lay flowers that could encourage crowds which may spread the coronavirus.
The number of people wanting to pay tribute to the Duke could present difficulties for police forces due to England’s ban on gatherings of more than six people or two households.
Buckingham Palace instead invited well-wishers to sign a book of condolences – but only online, to avoid crowds and queues.
The royal family has appealed to people who wish to pay their respects in person to stay at home instead.
The Palace spokesman said: ‘While there is sadness that the public will not be able to physically be part of events to commemorate the life of the duke, the royal family asks that anyone wishing to express their condolences do so in the safest way possible and not by visiting Windsor or any other royal palaces to pay their respects.
‘The family’s wish is very much that people continue to follow the guidelines to keep themselves and others safe.
‘His Royal Highness’s funeral will be broadcast to enable as many people as possible to be part of the occasion, to mourn with us and celebrate a truly extraordinary life.’
Police officers on horses stopped crowds forming in front of a sign announcing his death on the railings of the palace today.
During the eight days of mourning The Queen will not carry out any duties even in private under Covid restrictions, laws will not be given the Royal Assent and affairs of state will also be paused.
Scores of people will be involved in the days ahead, from military guards and the clergy, to staff at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, who will be making sure the household continues to run smoothly during this traumatic time for the Queen.
Official engagements, most of which are presently online, can continue during this time, although most are postponed or cancelled, but it depends on the wishes of the monarch.
In non-pandemic times, social engagements would usually be cancelled, except those for charitable causes.
There are various types of mourning, but Royal – also known as Court – Mourning, includes the royal family, royal households and the Queen’s representatives in the UK and abroad wearing black and also using black-edged writing paper.
Prince Edward, Duke of Kent (centre, is welcomed in front of the New City Hall by Michael Kretschmer, left, Prime Minister of Saxony, and Dirk Hilbert, right, Lord Mayor of the State Capital Dresden, Germany, last year). He may be at the wedding
The Earl of Hopetoun, Prince Michael of Kent, The Countess of Hopetoun and Princess Michael of Kent attend Royal Ascot Day Four on June 18, 2010 in Ascot. Prince Michael may make the list of those invited
Admiral Tony Radakin, head of the Royal Navy, may also go. He is pictured on the right last month
Boris Johnson spoke outside Downing Street to remember Philip, the love and support he had shown for the Queen and the impact he had on people all over the world. He will be at the funeral
Officials remove tributes as soon as they are laid at Buckingham Palace and Windsor as nation faces seven days of eerie socially distanced mourning before a quiet, almost private family funeral
The British public defied public health advice to stay at home and continued to lay flowers for Prince Philip during socially distanced vigils at royal palaces today as the country marks his death at the age of 99 during seven days of national mourning ahead of his scaled-back funeral.
The bouquets, flowers, cards, Union Flags and balloons are being moved away by staff almost as soon as they are left – but royal aides insist they will all be saved and looked at by the Royal Family inside the grounds of Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace.
Palace security have even put up signs urging people not to congregate, but waves of mourners are still arriving to pay their respects to Her Majesty’s devoted husband, who dedicated his life to public service and supporting her through their 73-year marriage.
Well-wishers, all respecting social distancing and wearing masks, laid their tributes and briefly stood to pay their respects, with some wiping away tears or quietly singing hymns before returning home.
The Duke of Edinburgh’s coffin is at Windsor, where the Queen is in residence, in Her Majesty’s private chapel of worship, before being moved to the nearby Albert Memorial Chapel today, where he will rest over the weekend. Their youngest child Prince Edward is there supporting his mother again today, having made the short trip from his Surrey home.
Philip is expected to be in the Royal Vault during his private family funeral at St George’s Chapel next Saturday, and will remain there until the Queen dies and they are buried together in the memorial chapel in a hugely scaled back event due to Britain’s ongoing lockdown, with only 30 relatives able to attend. Britons are being warned to stay at home and watch on TV to avoid spreading coronavirus.
Most of Britain’s monarchs are buried in Westminster Abbey and St George’s Chapel, but both Queen Victoria and Prince Albert are in a mausoleum in Frogmore Gardens.
After her husband’s death, Victoria lived largely in isolation at Balmoral until she died on January 22, 1901. Her 40 years of mourning severely damaged the monarchy.
Following the Duke’s death, Union flags will fly at half-mast around Britain, but Philip will not lie in state and there will be no state funeral.
The Lord Chamberlain, the most senior officer of the royal household, will be in charge of arrangements.
The Queen is also expected to broadcast a televised message to the nation at some stage over the next few days, although this is dependent on how she feels.
In normal times, there would be early morning rehearsals over the next week for a gun carriage and procession through the streets of London, and another in Windsor.
The day before his funeral, the coffin would be moved across the road from Chapel Royal to the Queen’s Chapel to allow an easier transfer to the gun carriage.
The funeral itself would be held in Windsor, while a military procession would take place from St James’s Palace, down Marlborough Road and up The Mall.
The gun carriage holding the coffin would then pass around the Queen Victoria Memorial, Buckingham Palace and up Constitution Hill to Wellington Arch.
Members of the military would lead the procession, with the royal family and household walking behind – but the Queen would be expected to go straight to Windsor.
At Wellington Arch, there would be a royal salute before a ceremonial transfer sees with the coffin moved to a Land Rover hearse or car and taken to Windsor.
On arrival in Windsor, there would be a slow procession driven up the Long Walk with drummers, military and members of the royal family following behind.
It would move up the Long Walk, through Cambridge Gate and then onto Park Street, High Street, past the Guildhall and Castle Hill and in through the Henry VIII gate.
The arrangements are codenamed Forth Bridge, after the Scottish landmark and Unesco World Heritage Site.
The railway bridge, crossing the Forth Estuary in Scotland, which opened in 1890, remains one of the greatest cantilever trussed bridges
Plans for the aftermath of the duke’s death have been in place for many years, and were updated and reviewed regularly by Buckingham Palace staff in consultation with the Queen and Philip.
Complicated by the coronavirus pandemic, Forth Bridge has been adjusted to take account of the crisis.
Buckingham Palace announced the death of Prince Philip at just after midday yesterday – and described the Queen’s ‘deep sorrow’
Philip has served Britain since his youth and the world is mourning his death at Windsor Castle yesterday, with the Royal Family releasing this photo and tribute shortly after his death
In a post on their Archwell website yesterday, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex said: ‘Thank you for your services… you will be greatly missed’
The sun breaks through the spring clouds above Buckingham Palace yesterday afternoon as people stood to remember the Duke of Edinburgh, who passed away this morning
People stood in masks, two metres apart to hug and remember the Queen’s husband, who dedicated his life to the country
A woman in a mask wipes away tears outside Windsor Castle yesterday afternoon while a mourner cried outside Buckingham Palace as the news of Philip’s death sunk in
How Philip was visited by emotional Charles in hospital before being returned to the comfort of Windsor where Prince enjoyed an Easter walk with the Queen
Prince Philip’s final weeks saw him visited by an emotional Prince Charles in hospital before being returned to the comfort of Windsor where his son enjoyed an Easter walk with the Queen – as the stoic monarch carried on with her public duties throughout.
The Queen, 94, today announced with ‘deep sorrow’ the death of her husband at the age of 99, calling him her ‘strength and guide’ throughout their 73-year marriage and her 69-year reign. The Duke of Edinburgh spent his final days at Windsor Castle with his wife after a 28-night stay in hospital having been admitted in mid-February for an infection and a pre-existing heart condition.
Philip’s eldest son Prince Charles, 72, paid him a half-hour visit during the first week of his treatment, making a 100-mile journey from Highgrove in Gloucestershire to the capital. Charles appeared emotional when he left.
The Queen spent the Easter Weekend at Windsor, and was seen on a socially-distanced walk with Charles on March 23, in an image released on Good Friday. It is unclear if the Prince of Wales saw his father on the day and whether he has seen him since.
Despite all the personal turmoil, which included Meghan and Harry’s bombshell Oprah interview while Philip was still in hospital, the Queen has continued carrying out her duties, mainly over video call due to Covid restrictions. She last appeared in public March 31 to mark the centenary of the Royal Australian Air Force, and she has also held several meetings over video call.
The duke’s funeral was due to have a strong military presence in recognition of his naval career and his links with the armed forces.
But the prospect of creating a spectacle that could potentially attract hundreds of thousands of people means there is no longer expected to be a military procession in London or any processions through Windsor.
A military involvement is expected to take place within the grounds of Windsor Castle.
Those servicemen and women taking part will rapidly begin their preparations, from practising routines to polishing helmets and swords.
Royal dressers will be fastidiously choosing and preparing black mourning ensembles.
Thames Valley Police will be tasked with dealing with the security needed in the days ahead, and preventing mass gatherings.
The Royal Households have a long history of making detailed plans for royal funerals.
Arrangements for the Queen Mother’s – codenamed Tay Bridge – were 22 years old by the time she died at the age of 101.
London Bridge is the codename for the Queen’s funeral plans.
In 2004, thieves broke into a car which belonged to a palace press officer at a motorway service station and made off with a briefcase which contained the secret plans regarding the Queen .
But the case and its confidential contents were found and returned by a member of the public.
It was once said that Philip, who was known for his acerbic wit, was amused by the fact that many of those involved in the planning of his funeral had themselves died before him.
Not all royal death arrangements have been so meticulously ordered.
Queen Victoria died at the age of 81 in 1901 after a period of ill health, but the Earl Marshal, who was responsible for the funeral, had no plans in place.
The complex arrangements, including transporting Victoria’s body across the Solent from the Isle of Wight and facilitating a two-hour military procession through London involving thousands of people, had to be organised from scratch in 10 days.
In contrast, her son, Edward VII, insisted his own funeral was planned well in advance.
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