The Queen cut a lonely figure as she sat by herself in St. George’s Chapel on Saturday and offered a final farewell to her husband the Duke of Edinburgh.
Britain’s COVID-19 restrictions meant that the Queen, 94, had to sit away from other members of the Royal Family during the Duke’s funeral at Windsor Castle. Her Majesty sat alone in the front of the quire on the south side of the chapel, directly across from the Duke’s coffin. Dressed entirely in black, the Queen also wore a black face mask along with all other attendees.
Only 30 family members could attend the funeral because of COVID-19 restrictions. They also had to sit at least two-meters apart from those who weren’t in their household.
The Duke didn’t want a state funeral but the service had to be scaled back significantly because of the pandemic. The original plan called for his coffin to move through the streets of London on a gun carriage before heading to Windsor Castle for a service in the chapel with up to 800 invitees. Instead, the entire funeral was held within the grounds of the castle, where Prince Philip died last week at the age of 99.
During the service all eyes were on the Queen as well as Prince Harry and his brother Prince William. The funeral was the first face-to-face meeting between the brothers since Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, raised allegations of racism within the Royal household during an interview with Oprah Winfrey.
Prince Harry arrived in Britain earlier this week from the couple’s home in California and he had to abide by a mandatory quarantine period. The Duchess of Sussex, who is pregnant, did not travel to the U.K. on medical advice.
The brothers kept apart throughout the funeral and sat across from each other in the chapel. Prince Harry sat alone on the same side of the quire as the Queen while Prince William was accompanied by his wife, the Duchess of Cambridge. However, after the service the two walked together along the road to the main castle and appeared to be chatting easily.
The funeral service had a distinct military flavour, reflecting the Duke’s long association with the Royal Navy, Royal Marines and other branches of the military. His coffin was covered with a wreath of white roses along with his sword, naval cap and personal standard.
The coffin made its way from the main castle to St. George’s Chapel in a military-style Land Rover that was designed by Prince Philip. More than 730 soldiers lined the route and The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery fired guns every minute as the coffin slowly moved to the chapel.
Nine members of the Royal Family walked in a procession behind the Land Rover including Princes Charles, Andrew and Edward as well as Princess Anne, Prince William and Prince Harry. The Queen rode behind the procession in the state Bentley.
The funeral service, led by the Dean of Windsor, began with a national moment of silence. In keeping with the Duke’s wishes there was no eulogy or sermon, but a four-person choir sang some of his favourite hymns. The pieces included Eternal Father, Strong to Save, which is associated with the Royal Navy, and a composition by Benjamin Britten which was commissioned by the Duke in 1961. Buglers from the Royal Marines also played The Last Post and Action Stations, a call on warships to signal all hands on deck, as the Duke’s coffin was interred in the royal vault.
The chapel, built in 1528, has been the scene of many royal occasions including the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in 2018. Ten monarchs have also been interred in the royal vault including Henry VIII and Charles I. The Queen Mother was also buried in the chapel along with the ashes of Princess Margaret.
The public had been told not to gather outside Windsor Castle and a large police presence kept the crowds to a minimum. However, several informal tributes have been held throughout the day.
The Royal Pigeon Racing Association, which counts the Queen as its patron, plans released ten pigeons at noon on Saturday from cities and towns across the U.K. “one pigeon for each decade of the Duke’s life”.
British Carriagedriving encouraged its members to honour the Duke. Prince Philip took up carriage driving in his 50s and became an avid competitor. A custom-made carriage will be in the Quadrangle of Windsor Castle during the Duke’s funeral in recognition of his love of the sport.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also announced on Saturday that Canada will donate $200,000 to the Canadian branch of the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award in honour of Prince Philip’s “remarkable life and his selfless service.” The Duke created the awards program in 1956 to encourage young people in Britain and the Commonwealth to become involved with voluntary, self-development activities.
Prince Philip was “devoted public servant whose contributions changed countless lives around the world, especially those of young people,” Mr. Trudeau said in a statement. “I encourage young Canadians to find out more about the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award.”
List of funeral attendees
- Queen Elizabeth II
- Prince Charles, eldest child of the queen and Prince Philip
- Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Charles’ wife
- Princess Anne, second child of the queen and Prince Philip
- Vice Admiral Timothy Laurence, Anne’s husband
- Prince Andrew, third child of the queen and Prince Philip
- Prince Edward, youngest child of the queen and Prince Philip
- Sophie, Countess of Wessex, Edward’s wife
- Lady Louise Windsor, Edward and Sophie’s daughter
- James, Viscount Severn, Edward and Sophie’s son
- Prince William, eldest son of Charles and the late Princess Diana
- Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, William’s wife
- Prince Harry, younger son of Charles and Diana
- Peter Phillips, son of Princess Anne and her first husband Mark Phillips
- Zara Phillips, daughter of Princess Anne and Mark Phillips
- Mike Tindall, Zara’s husband
- Princess Beatrice, elder daughter of Prince Andrew and ex-wife Sarah, Duchess of York
- Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, Beatrice’s husband
- Princess Eugenie, younger daughter of Prince Andrew and Sarah
- Jack Brooksbank, Eugenie’s husband
- Lady Sarah Chatto, daughter of the queen’s late sister Princess Margaret
- Daniel Chatto, husband of Lady Sarah Chatto
- David Armstrong-Jones, Earl of Snowdon, son of Princess Margaret
- Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester, a cousin of the queen
- Edward, Duke of Kent, a cousin of the queen
- Princess Alexandra, a cousin of the queen
- Bernhard, Hereditary Prince of Baden, a German great-nephew of Prince Philip
- Prince Donatus, Landgrave of Hesse, a German cousin of Prince Philip
- Prince Philipp of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, a German great-nephew of Prince Philip
- Penelope Knatchbull, Countess Mountbatten of Burma, a friend of Prince Philip, married to the grandson of Philip’s uncle Lord Mountbatten
The Associated Press
Watch: Royals remember Prince Philip in pared-down funeral service
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