As members of the royal family continue to rally around the queen ahead of Saturday’s funeral of Prince Philip, Buckingham Palace has shared final details of the April 17 service and events.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions in the U.K. limiting the number of mourners at a funeral to just 30 people, palace officials confirmed at a Thursday media briefing that efforts have been made to accommodate as many of the Duke of Edinburgh’s loved ones and loyal aides.
The funeral is set to take place at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle at 3 p.m. local time. While plans have been modified to fit British government-led health guidelines, ceremonial aspects of the day “are still very much in line with The Duke’s wishes,” a spokesman shares. “The ceremonial arrangements are a reflection of The Duke’s military affiliations and personal elements of His Royal Highness’s life.” (Per reports, male members of the royal family with links to the military—including Prince Harry and Prince Andrew—will wear traditional morning suits instead of uniform, while women will wear day dress attire).
On the morning of the service, Prince Philip’s coffin will be moved privately from its current resting location in the Private Chapel at Windsor Castle to the Inner Hall. The coffin—which will be covered with the late duke’s personal standard (official flag) with his Naval cap and sword carefully placed on top—will be moved by a Bearer Party founded by The Queen’s Company, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards from the Private Chapel to the Inner Hall of Windsor Castle four hours before the service begins. He will be carried out of the castle’s State Entrance at 2:41 p.m. local time before the funeral procession to the chapel starts four minutes later.
Flanking the ceremonial procession will be Princess Anne and Prince Charles, followed by Prince Edward and Prince Andrew; behind them will be Prince Harry, Princess Anne’s son Peter Phillips and Prince William; following the trio will be Anne’s husband Vice Admiral Sir Tim Lawrence and the late Princess Margaret’s son, the Earl of Snowdon. At the rear of the group will be cherished Household staff close to Prince Philip, including two pages and two valets. The group will follow a specially-designed Land Rover carrying his coffin that was commissioned by Prince Phillip prior to his death.
The queen, accompanied by a lady in waiting, will follow her husband’s funeral procession in her official Bentley. Members of the royal family and Prince Philip’s family who are not taking part in the procession include the Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, the Duchess of Cambridge, Princess Eugenie and husband Jack Brooksbank, Princess Beatrice and husband Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, Zara and Mike Tindall, the Duke of Kent, the Duke of Gloucester and Princess Alexandra. A national minute’s silence will take place at 3 p.m. local time before the service begins.
Where Harry and William Will Be
With the service being the first time Prince Harry and Prince William have seen each other since the March 2020 Commonwealth Service in London’s Westminster Abbey, speculation has dominated British media coverage about whether the brothers will walk shoulder-to-shoulder behind the coffin of their grandfather. However, Buckingham Palace’s confirmation that Peter Phillips will walk between the two as they make their way in the ceremonial procession to The Quire of the chapel finally answers the question. The brothers will also take seats apart from each other for the service itself, with the Duke of Cambridge seated next to Peter Phillips and the Duke of Sussex next to Lord Snowdown. No further explanation was given by Palace officials for the separation of the two brothers, however it was confirmed that final plans were signed off by the queen.
A small choir of four—who will be located in the nave of the chapel, safely away from guests—will sing a selection of music chosen by Prince Philip, who coordinated much of his funeral arrangements with the Lord Chamberlain’s Office at Buckingham Palace prior to his death. Guests, who will all be wearing face masks, have been asked not to join in song due to current COVID-19 protocol.
Led by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Dean of Windsor, further details of Saturday’s 50-minute service will be shared by Buckingham Palace in due course, however officials confirmed that at its conclusion, the Duke of Edinburgh’s coffin will be lowered into the royal vault and the British national anthem will be sung by the choir. The queen and family members will then depart the chapel via its Galilee Porch doors.
Prior to the funeral, Prince Philip’s military relationships will be poignantly remembered across Windsor Castle, including service detachments from the British Royal Marines, Royal Navy, Intelligence Corps and Royal Air Force taking position in the castle’s Quadrangle alongside Household Calvary and Palace Foot Guards. The Band of the Grenadier Guards will also be in position in castle’s Engine Court area.
As previously stated by Palace officials, all ceremonial aspects of the funeral will take place within the grounds of Windsor Castle due to current pandemic restrictions. The move has been purposeful to ensure that nothing is visible outside of the private estate, ensuring that members of the public choose to safely stay at home and follow the event on television or radio.
A Message from the Family
At Thursday’s media briefing, a Buckingham Palace spokesman thanked people from around the world who have shared their condolences after Prince Philip passed away at the age of 99 on Friday, April 9. “Her Majesty and the Royal Family are grateful for all the messages of condolence from around the world and have been touched to see and hear so many people sharing fond memories of The Duke, in celebration of his life,” he said. “The tributes received from young and old are truly a testament to the remarkable life and lasting endeavours of His Royal Highness.”
This story has been updated.
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