Prince Philip: Small funeral to bid farewell to Duke of Edinburgh

The queen will lead just 30 mourners at the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral that is restricted by COVID rules.

The hearse on the grounds of Windsor Castle on the day of the funeral of Britain's Prince Philip [Adrian Dennis/Pool via Reuters]

Queen Elizabeth II and close members of the royal family will bid a final farewell to Prince Philip on Saturday at a funeral restricted by coronavirus rules.

The ceremony, from behind the stately walls of Windsor Castle, west of London, will be watched by millions on television, with the public urged to stay away because of the pandemic.

The Duke of Edinburgh – described by royals as “the grandfather of the nation” – died aged 99 on April 9, just weeks after spending more than a month in hospital for treatment of a heart condition and an infection.

Britain’s longest-serving royal consort was an almost constant presence at the queen’s side during her record-breaking reign that began in 1952, as Britain rebuilt from World War II and as its global empire began to unravel.

His death, after 73 years of marriage, has left a “huge void” in her life, the couple’s second son, Prince Andrew, said last weekend.

At the service that is due to last 50 minutes, the dean of Windsor, David Conner, will pay tribute to Philip’s “unwavering loyalty” to the queen, who turns 95 next week, the country and the Commonwealth, as well as his “courage, fortitude and faith”.

Many elements of the funeral follow military and royal protocol, from the armed forces personnel lining the funeral route to the artillery salutes and Philip’s naval cap and sword atop the coffin.

More than 700 military personnel are set to take part, including army bands, Royal Marine buglers and an honour guard drawn from across the armed forces.

The eight-minute procession will begin amid a backdrop of ceremonial gunfire and the tolling of the bell inside the castle’s Curfew Tower.

His coffin will be borne to Windsor’s historic St George’s Chapel on a bespoke Land Rover hearse which he designed himself, repainted in military green.

A gunshot will mark a minute’s silence which will be observed across the country on the stroke of 3pm (14:00 GMT) before the funeral service begins.

End of an era

The queen will lead just 30 mourners, as they pay their respects to the man she once called her “strength and stay”, and whose death closes a remarkable chapter for Britain’s most famous family and the country’s recent history.

The congregation will mostly be close family, including the couple’s four children: heir to the throne Prince Charles, 72, Princess Anne, 70, Prince Andrew, 61, and Prince Edward, 57.

Also present will be Charles’s eldest son William, 38, who will be joined by younger brother, Harry, 36, after he jetted back last weekend from the United States, where he now lives.

All eyes will be on the brothers – whose mother was Charles’s first wife, Princess Diana – after a reported falling out over Harry’s move to California with his American wife, Meghan, and their stinging criticisms of the royals.

Meghan, heavily pregnant with her second child, was advised not to travel on medical grounds.

The brothers, who as young boys walked behind their mother’s coffin at her funeral in 1997, will follow the procession on foot, but not side-by-side.

Between them will be their cousin, Princess Anne’s son Peter Phillips, 43, which will likely fuel further rumours of the rift, even if it reflects royal protocol.

All guests – in mourning black – are required to wear black face masks before, during and after the ceremony. Harry has had to quarantine since arriving from Los Angeles.

Royal officials and the government have urged the public not to congregate at palaces to pay their respects, although a steady stream of well-wishers have ignored the calls.

Mourners gather outside Buckingham Palace after it was announced that Britain’s Prince Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth, has died at the age of 99, in London, UK [Hannah McKay/Reuters]

Who is attending?

  • Queen Elizabeth II
  • Prince Charles, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh’s eldest son and first in line to the throne
  • Camilla, Prince Charles’s wife
  • Princess Anne, the duke’s only daughter
  • Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence, Princess Anne’s husband
  • Prince Andrew, the duke’s son
  • Prince Edward, the duke’s son
  • Sophie Rhys-Jones, Prince Edward’s wife
  • Prince William, the duke’s grandson and second in line to the throne
  • Catherine – previously Kate Middleton – Prince William’s wife
  • Prince Harry, the duke’s grandson
  • Peter Phillips, the queen and the duke’s eldest grandchild, Princess Anne’s daughter
  • Zara Tindall, Princess Anne’s daughter
  • Mike Tindall, Zara Tindall’s husband who is a former England rugby player
  • Princess Beatrice, Prince Andrew’s elder daughter
  • Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, Princess Beatrice’s husband
  • Princess Eugenie, Prince Andrew’s younger daughter
  • Jack Brooksbank, Princess Eugenie’s husband
  • Lady Louise Windsor, the elder child of Prince Edward
  • Viscount Severn, the younger child of Prince Edward
  • Edward, Duke of Kent, a first cousin of the queen, through his father, while his mother was a cousin to Philip
  • Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester, the queen’s cousin and the youngest grandchild of King George V and Queen Mary
  • Princess Alexandra, a cousin of the queen
  • Prince Bernhard, whose grandmother was the duke’s second eldest sister
  • Prince Donatus, representing the families of Prince Philip’s two younger sisters, Sophie and Cecilie
  • Prince Philipp, one of the duke’s great-nephews from Germany and the grandson of the duke’s eldest sister, Princess Margarita
  • David Armstrong-Jones, the queen’s nephew
  • Penelope Knatchbull, Countess Mountbatten of Burma, who married Norton Knatchbull, Lord Romsey. His mother was a third cousin of the queen
  • Lady Sarah Chatto, the queen’s only niece
  • Daniel Chatto, Lady Sarah’s husband
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies