Prince Philip will not have a state funeral or lie in state
BRITAIN’S Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, who died yesterday, aged 99, will not have a state funeral nor lie in state for the public to pay their respects ahead of the funeral, the College of Arms said.
"His Royal Highness’s body will lie at rest in Windsor Castle before the funeral in St George’s Chapel. This is in line with custom and with His Royal Highness’s wishes," the College of Arms said yesterday.
"The funeral arrangements have been revised in view of the prevailing circumstances arising from the Covid-19 pandemic and it is regretfully requested that members of the public do not attempt to attend or participate in any of the events that make up the funeral."
The Duke died at Windsor Castle, according to Buckingham Palace's statement. Britain's government has asked the public not to gather outside or lay flowers at royal residences.
"Although this is an extraordinarily difficult time for many, we are asking the public not to gather at royal residences, and continue to follow public health advice particularly on avoiding meeting in large groups and on minimising travel," a Cabinet Office spokesperson said.
"We are supporting the Royal Household in asking that floral tributes should not be laid at royal residences at this time."
Despite the death of her husband and confidante during a record-breaking reign, there is little chance that 94-year-old Queen Elizabeth will abdicate, royal watchers believe. Philip, Elizabeth's husband for more than seven decades, was the longest-serving consort in British history, throughout her 69-year reign.
Despite the huge hole in her life that Philip's death leaves, aides and royal experts have long said it would not lead to the queen, the world's oldest and longest-reigning living monarch, relinquishing the throne in favour of her son and heir, Prince Charles.
"I can assure you the queen will not abdicate," royal historian Hugo Vickers said. "There is every indication the queen is in extremely good health and with luck she will continue to be our queen for as long as possible."
The queen continued to carry out her official duties, albeit remotely because of Covid-19 restrictions, even while Philip was in hospital for four weeks earlier this year.
"It is a job for life," the queen once said, echoing a promise she made on her 21st birthday in 1947. Speaking to the nation then while on a tour of South Africa, she said: "I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family, to which we all belong."
Meanwhile condolences began streaming in from world leaders.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson praised Philip for inspiring "countless young people" around the world as an environmentalist and hailed him for creating the The Duke of Edinburgh's Award ‒ a scheme for young people that now exists in more than 140 countries ‒ in 1956.
"He was an environmentalist, and a champion of the natural world long before it was fashionable," said Johnson.
"With his Duke of Edinburgh's Awards Scheme, he shaped and inspired the lives of countless young people, and at literally tens of thousands of events he fostered their hopes and encouraged their ambitions.
"We remember the duke for all of this, and above all for his steadfast support for Her Majesty the Queen.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in a statement posted by her spokesperson on Twitter, said: "The death of Prince Philip fills me with great sorrow." "His friendship to Germany, his straightforwardness and his sense of duty will not be forgotten. All our thoughts are with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and the Royal Family," she added.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was saddened to learn of the passing of Prince Philip, and extended condolences to the queen and to the people of the United Kingdom, UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said yesterday.
Guterres also paid tribute to Prince Philip for his active work for "the betterment of humankind", as the duke was a patron of about 800 charitable organisations. ǀ Reuters, BangShowBiz and sputnik