Prince Philip. Picture: African News Agency Archives
Prince Philip. Picture: African News Agency Archives

What to expect at Prince Philip's funeral

By The Washington Post Time of article published Apr 16, 2021

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By Miriam Berger

Prince Philip, the late husband of Queen Elizabeth II, requested a no-fuss funeral before he died on April 9 at 99.

But low-key for a British royal still means a high-profile affair.

Every detail of the day has been meticulously planned to reflect both Philip's life and the long tradition of royal pageantry.

Philip will be laid to rest around 3 pm. London time(4pm SA time) on Saturday, April 17.

Only 30 people, among them Philip's closest relatives in the royal family, are set to attend the service, due to Britain's current coronavirus restrictions.

Here's what to expect.

The timeline

Since his death, Philip's body has been lying in rest at a private chapel at Windsor Castle.

The day of the funeral, at about 2:40 p.m. in London, the body is to be moved into a Land Rover equipped as a hearse, according to Buckingham Palace's plans. The car will then make the less-then ten-minute-drive to St. George's Chapel, also at Windsor Castle.

Along the way, the road will be lined with military personnel in acknowledgement of the late prince's naval service.

A band will precede the Land Rover, flanked by members of the Royal Marines and other regiments associated with the late prince.

Guns will be fired and bells tolled.

Nine members of the royal family are expected to walk behind the coffin. Prince Harry, returned from California to attend the funeral, is to be among them.

The queen will take a separate position at the rear of the procession. Some members of Philip's staff will also take part.

At about five minutes to three, the procession is due to arrive at the West Steps of St. George's Chapel, for the playing of the national anthem, God Save the Queen, followed by a nautical call on pipes will next be played as the coffin is carried up the stairs, according to the BBC.

The dean of Windsor and the Archbishop of Canterbury are to meet the coffin at the top. They will then enter with the body for the service, along with the royal family and Philip's private secretary.

At three in the afternoon, the nation will hold a minute of silence in memory of the late Duke of Edinburgh.

Inside the chapel, all 30 guests must wear face masks. A choir is expected to sing a song chosen by the late prince, stationed away from the congregation in keeping with public health codes, according to the palace.

The service is expected to last 50 minutes. After it concludes, Philip's coffin will be lowered into the Royal Vault. The Archbishop of Canterbury will then offer a blessing and the choir will sing the national anthem, in a second rendition, to conclude the ceremony.

The symbols

As Philip's coffin proceeds to St. George's Chapel, it is to be draped in his personal flag, and to bear a wreath and his naval cap and sword.

Philip's flag include four parts: A castle representing his title; a white cross from Greece's national flag, alluding to his Greek royal lineage; lions and heats from a Danish coat of arms, symbolizing his Danish royal ancestry; and black and white strips that represent the Mountbatten family on his British side, according to the BBC.

Philip helped to design the Land Rover that will carry his body.

A lifetime lover of Land Rovers, he began planning the project 18 years ago, according to Buckingham Palace.

Throughout the procession, members of regiments and corps connected to the late prince will be present, reflecting the World War II veteran's admiration for the military.

Per palace custom, members of the royal family will enter the chapel in a preordained order. Inside, Philip's many medals and decorations will be laid out on cushions at the alter, according to the BBC.

Afterward

Britain's current eight-day mourning period will conclude the day of the funeral. Flags, however, will continue to fly at half-mast until the day after the funeral.

The royal family will next enter another to weeks of mourning.

During this time they will continue to attend functions, often while wearing black mourning bands, the BBC reported.

The palace has requested that mourners not gather to publicly pay their respects in lieu of the pandemic. Crowds laying flowerings and taking photos outside Buckingham Palace and Windsor Palace, nonetheless, are expected to continue.

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