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Prince Philip funeral: The COVID-friendly, 'no fuss' farewell to the Duke of Edinburgh

In this 2003 photo released by Buckingham Palace on April 16, 2021, a personal photograph of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh in Scotland.
In this 2003 photo released by Buckingham Palace on April 16, 2021, a personal photograph of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh in Scotland. Copyright The Countess of Wessex/Buckingham Palace via AP
Copyright The Countess of Wessex/Buckingham Palace via AP
By Rachael Kennedy
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With no state ceremony, a custom-built hearse and a 30-person guest list, the Duke of Edinburgh's adieu will look a little different to other royal funerals.


Prince Philip will be laid to rest on Saturday with a ceremony looking slightly different to previous royal funerals — a decision down to Philip's own wishes and the coronavirus pandemic.

The Duke of Edinburgh, who died last week aged 99, was known for wanting a "no fuss" affair, having already said no to his body being laid in state.

He also won't be receiving a state funeral - something usually reserved for monarchs - but will having a ceremonial royal funeral complying with England's COVID restrictions instead.

Ahead of the funeral, the palace released a private photograph of the Duke of Edinburgh and the Queen in Scotland in 2003. The photo was taken by the Countess of Wessex.

There will be no eulogies at the funeral which will be led by Right Reverend David Conner, the Dean of Windsor. The blessing will be given by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The Dean of Windsor will remember Prince Philip's "courage, fortitude and faith", recognising his service to the Queen and country.

From left to right: Prince Charles, Prince Philip, Princess Anne and Queen ElizabethEDDIE WORTH/AP

What will happen on the day?

On Saturday, at 3:40pm, the Duke's coffin will be moved from its current resting place in a private chapel at Windsor Castle to the State Entrance. Following a Royal Salute from members of the royal family, he will then begin his journey to St George's Chapel for the funeral itself.

The coffin will be carried to the chapel upon a custom-built Land Rover hearse that Philip had worked on himself over 16 years. He made the last alterations in 2019.

Several family members will follow en route, including his wife, Queen Elizabeth II, in the State Bentley, and with others on foot. This will include the queen and duke's four children, Princess Anne and Princes Charles, Edward and Andrew; three of their grandchildren, Princes William and Harry, and Peter Phillips; their nephew, the Earl of Snowdon; and Princess Anne's husband, Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence.

Frank Augstein/Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved
Rehearsals are underway ahead of the ceremony at Windsor Castle on SaturdayFrank Augstein/Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

Representatives from the Royal Navy, the Royal Marines, the Highlanders, and 4th Battalion Royal Regiment of Scotland and the Royal Air Force will also line the route, while the Curfew Tower Bell will toll.

Minute Guns will be fired by The King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery from the East Lawn.

As the coffin arrives at the West Steps of the chapel, the national anthem will play and the bearer party will carry it to the entrance. They will then pause for a national minute of silence.

The Royal Navy Piping Party will pipe the "Carry On" as the Dean of Windsor and the Archbishop of Canterbury receive the coffin and the chapel doors close.

After the 50-minute service, which will include a small choir singing four pieces picked by the duke himself, his coffin will be lowered into the Royal Vault.

What COVID restrictions are in place?

Prince Philip is said to have originally planned for 800 mourners to attend; however, England's COVID rules have forced this to be cut to 30.

There will be no public processions and people have been advised not to gather. Everyone, including the Queen, will also be wearing masks, and social distancing will be followed.

Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP
Prince Harry (left) and Prince William (right) will follow their grandfather's coffin on footKirsty Wigglesworth/AP

Who will attend?

Aside from the Queen and the nine family members following the private procession on foot, there will be 20 others in attendance at the chapel.

These include: Prince Charles' wife, the Duchess of Cornwall; Prince Edward's wife and children, the Countess of Wessex and Forfar, Viscount Severn and Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor; Prince William's wife, the Duchess of Cambridge; Princess Anne's daughter and husband, Zara and Mike Tindall; and Prince Andrew's daughters and their husbands, Princess Beatrice and Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, and Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank.


Also in attendance will be: Lady Sarah and Daniel Chatto, the Duke of Gloucester, the Duke of Kent, Princess Alexandra and the Countess Mountbatten of Burma.

Added to this are three of Prince Philip's German relatives: Hereditary Prince of Baden, Landgrave of Hesse, and the Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg.

Lyndon Mechielsen/AP
The queen (left) will follow her husband's coffin in the State BentleyLyndon Mechielsen/AP

Who won't be attending?

While Prince Harry has flown from his home in California to attend, his wife, the Duchess of Sussex, will remain at home with their son, Archie.

This is due to advice against travel from the duchess' doctor as she is currently pregnant with the couple's second child.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has also confirmed he will not be in attendance - this is due to the COVID limit on guests.


Follow our live coverage of the funeral on from 14:00 CET.

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