The plans for Prince Philip’s funeral
Duke of Edinburgh was ‘guiding force’ behind the carefully stage-managed event
Prince Philip planned his funeral with “military precision” over the past 18 years, royal insiders have said.
The prince was “the guiding force” behind “all elements of the arrangements”, The Telegraph reports, including designing a custom-built Land Rover, which has been modified to carry his coffin.
Will it be a state funeral?
The funeral of Prince Philip, husband to the Queen and the UK’s longest-serving consort, will be held tomorrow following his death at the age of 99 last Friday.
The ceremony will take place at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle at 3pm and will begin with a one-minute national silence.
Prince Philip is to be honoured with a “ceremonial royal funeral”, as was the Queen Mother following her death in 2002, rather than a state funeral, which is “generally reserved for Monarchs”, says the Royal Family’s official website.
The plans are “in line with The Duke of Edinburgh’s own personal wishes”, according to the site, “and the occasion will recognise and celebrate The Duke’s life and his more than 70 years of service to The Queen, the UK and the Commonwealth”.
What will happen on the day?
The Duke will “lie at rest” in the private chapel at Windsor until the day of the funeral, says the BBC.
His coffin will then be moved from the private chapel to the State Entrance of the castle and placed in a modified Land Rover “that the Duke himself helped design”, the broadcaster continues.
The vehicle was made at Land Rover’s factory in Solihull and “the duke oversaw the modifications for several years, making the final adjustments in 2019, the year he turned 98”, it adds.
Philip had been “quietly modifying” the Land Rover Defender TD5 130 since 2003, The Telegraph says. Changes were made to the rear section, where his coffin will rest, and it was repainted in military green to “reflect his associations with the Armed Forces”.
A small procession will take place as the coffin is driven the short distance to St George’s Chapel, with military pallbearers flanking the Land Rover.
Prince Philip’s four children – the Prince of Wales, the Princess Royal, the Duke of York and the Earl of Wessex – will walk behind the vehicle during the eight-minute journey, as will his grandsons Prince William and Harry.
The Queen will pay a “special, silent tribute” to her husband immediately before his funeral service. As she travels behind the funeral procession in the state Bentley, her car will briefly pause next to Prince Philip’s Land Rover, and she will be able to look upon his coffin before it is taken into the chapel.
The Dean of Windsor and the Archbishop of Canterbury will receive the coffin, and the ceremony will begin after the minute’s national silence.
Who is going?
Because of ongoing coronavirus restrictions, only 30 mourners will be allowed to attend Saturday’s funeral, so “the guest list is tighter than previous funerals of royal family members”, The Telegraph reports.
Senior members of the Royal Family in attendance will, of course, include the Queen and the Prince of Wales, who will deliver the eulogy and whose wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, will also be present.
Other attendees will include Prince Philip’s other children and their spouses: the Princess Royal and her husband, Sir Timothy Laurence; the Earl of Wessex and his wife, the Countess of Wessex; and the Duke of York.
Prince Philip’s grandchildren will also attend alongside their spouses: Peter Phillips; Zara Tindall, and her husband Mike Tindall; Princess Beatrice, and her husband Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi; Princess Eugenie, and her husband Jack Brooksbank; as well as Lady Louise Windsor and James, Viscount Severn.
Prince William and his wife, the Duchess of Cambridge, will be at the funeral, and Prince Harry has flown back to the UK from his home in California to attend the service. His wife, Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, is heavily pregnant and not able to fly.
Other guests include the Earl of Snowdon, the eldest child of the Queen’s late sister Princess Margaret, and Lady Sarah Chatto, Princess Margaret’s daughter, and her husband, Mark Chatto.
The Queen’s first cousin the Duke of Gloucester will also attend, as well as the Duke of Kent, another first cousin, and Princess Alexandra.
Three of the duke’s German relatives will also be in attendance at the funeral: Bernhard, the Hereditary Prince of Baden; Donatus, Prince and Landgrave of Hesse; and Prince Philipp of Hohenlohe-Langenburg – all of whom are said to be isolating at the home of a mutual friend in Ascot, Berkshire.
Where will the Duke be buried?
Prince Philip will be interred in the Royal Vault inside St George’s Chapel, although this will not be his final resting place. When the Queen dies, “Philip will be transferred to the gothic church’s King George VI memorial chapel to lie alongside his devoted wife of 73 years”, says the Evening Standard.
The naval call Action Stations will be sounded as the coffin is lowered into the royal vault, another specific request from the prince. Although not usually associated with funerals, it can be requested by anyone connected to the Royal Navy.
“It’s a fitting testimony, to remind many people who won’t have realised that the Duke saw active service in the Second World War aboard a ship in the Royal Navy,” a Buckingham Palace spokesperson said.
Will the public be able to pay their respects?
Members of the public have been asked not to attend any of the funeral events, owing to Covid restrictions limiting mass gatherings. The Royal Family has also asked the public not to leave flowers outside royal residences such as Buckingham Palace, but to instead donate to charity.
The Church of England has opened an online book of condolence where well-wishers can leave personal tributes to the Duke of Edinburgh.