Prince Philip is dead. Whether you’re a fan of his charity work, his steadfast dedication or his gaffes, Philip was everyone’s favourite royal. So news on Friday that the Queen’s consort for 70 years has finally passed away was as sad as it was predictable. Farewell Prince Philip.
And with his passing, an age-old machinery whirred into action as ‘Operation Forth Bridge’ (the Palace codename for Philip’s death) started to play out. As the nation started to grieve, royal flunkeys began the task of arranging the Prince’s funeral.
When is the funeral?
The funeral will take place at 3pm on Saturday 17th April. Often pre-funeral royals ‘lie in state’, as subjects, fans and the morbid queue for hours to file past the coffin, but social distancing and Philip’s ‘no fuss’ request put pay to that.
Will it be a state funeral?
As the Queen’s consort Prince Philip was entitled to a state funeral, along with all the pomp and ceremony that elicits. Normally held at St Paul’s or Westminster Abbey the grand affairs generally come with a gun carriage procession, thousands of soldiers, sailors and airmen and tens of thousands of spectators.
Prince Philip was up for none of that, instead specifying that he wanted a private family ceremony.
Of course it’ll still be a grand affair, but will be a ‘ceremonial’ rather than a state funeral. There won’t be a public procession and his coffin will travel the short distance through the castle grounds by Landrover, led by the band of the Grenadier Guards.
Will it be on the telly?
Yep, you can join the family event via the BBC. Recently stung by criticism of their wall-to-wall coverage of the Prince’s death, the network will no doubt be wondering how to balance things.
Where is it held?
The funeral will be held at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. The Prince apparently told his son Charles that this is where he wanted to die, when the future king visited him in hospital a couple of months back. And per his request, he passed away last Friday in ned at the grand royal residence.
Can I go?
No. Firstly there’s nothing to see, all the action is taking place inside the castle walls and there is no public procession. This is unlikely to keep people away, but additionally there’s COVID-19 to take into account, so police are likely to be dissuading gawkers.
How many guests will attend?
By chance, and long-planned, the law just changed on Monday for wedding and funeral attendance. While previously only 15 could attend, this has now been extended to 30.
Don’t expect Oprah at this one… The guest list will be almost all family. The Prime Minister, normally expected to attend such events, has already said that he won’t be attending to make space for more family.
There may be some kind of representation from the military, due to the Prince’s Royal Navy service in WWII and extensive military links.
What about Meghan?
It has been widely reported that heavily pregnant Meghan Markle has been ordered by her doctor to remain in the US for health reasons.
Today’s papers, however, suggest that she’s actually decided to remain at home so that she doesn’t become the centre of attention. Stories that have, surprise surprise, made her centre of attention…
Should we expect a reconciliation between Princes Harry and William?
Hmm, don’t count your chickens. William’s tribute to his grandfather read like a broadside against his younger brother, majoring on his grandfather’s service and duty.
Harry, currently in quarantine until the day of the funeral, may still find time to patch things up, but the timing of his bombshell interview, as Prince Philip became ill, is not an ideal backdrop to relations between the princes.