Prince Philip’s funeral will be held next Saturday at St George’s Chapel in Windsor, Buckingham Palace has announced.
The Duke of Edinburgh’s final farewell, which will “celebrate and reflect” his life, will be a royal funeral like no other due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Queen and the rest of the Royal Family, including Prince Harry who is due to fly in from his home in the US, will be in attendance at the ceremony, following guidelines and wearing face masks.
While the royal funeral takes place on 17 April at 3pm, a national minute’s silence will be observed.
The duke’s coffin will be transported from the castle to the chapel in a specially modified Land Rover he helped to design, and followed by the Prince of Wales and senior royals on foot, a senior Palace official said.
The Queen has approved the Prime Minister’s recommendation of national mourning, which began on April 9 and runs until and including the day of the funeral.
Pregnant Duchess of Sussex will not attend
Only 30 people – expected to be the Duke’s children, grandchildren and other close family – will attend as guests, but the Duchess of Sussex has been advised by her physician not to travel to the UK for the funeral, a Palace spokesman said.
It is understood Meghan made every effort to be able to travel with Harry, who will be among the mourners, but has not received the medical clearance to board a plane.
Originally 800 people would have been due to gather to pay their respects to the nation’s longest serving consort, but Philip is known to have wanted a low key affair.
All public elements of the funeral have been cancelled, it will be televised but take place entirely in the grounds of the castle, the Palace said.
Two weeks of royal mourning
The Queen has decided the royal family will enter two weeks of royal mourning, and engagements will continue appropriate to the circumstances, a senior royal official said.
Public elements of Operation Forth Bridge – the codename for the duke’s funeral plans – were abandoned for fear of drawing crowds including the long held arrangements for military processions through London and Windsor.
Instead, the proceedings will take place entirely in the grounds of Windsor Castle, televised, but away from public view and with no access for royal fans.
‘The Queen has been amazing’
The duke died peacefully in his sleep at Windsor Castle on Friday, two months before his 100th birthday, leaving the Queen and the royal family “mourning his loss”.
The Earl and the Countess of Wessex spent around an hour with the Queen at the castle on Saturday, with a tearful Sophie telling reporters as she left: “The Queen has been amazing.”
The Duke of York also arrived at Windsor on Saturday, while the Prince of Wales visited his mother there on Friday.
Gun salutes have been fired across the UK, in Gibraltar and at sea in tribute to the duke.