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Prince Philip's funeral plans: What happens next?

AFP/London
Filed on April 9, 2021
Flowers in front of a photograph of Britain's Prince Philip outside Windsor Castle in Windsor, England after the announcement regarding the death of Britain's Prince Philip. — AP

For official planning purposes, the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral preparations have been codenamed Forth Bridge


As a senior royal, Prince Philip’s death triggers a period of national mourning and the implementation of a well-rehearsed protocol.

For official planning purposes, the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral preparations have been codenamed “Forth Bridge”, after the landmark crossing near the Scottish capital.

Preparations for his wife Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral are codenamed “London Bridge”. Her eldest son and heir, Prince Charles, is “Menai Bridge”, after the suspension bridge in northwest Wales.

All were referred to in the Netflix drama series “The Crown”.

Hours after announcing Philip’s death, Buckingham Palace said arrangements for his funeral and any other official remembrance events were “being considered” by the Queen.

“Details will be confirmed in due course,” it added, asking the public “not to gather in crowds” to express their condolences.

However, the Royal College of Arms, a heraldic organisation closely involved in the implementation of royal protocols and proclamations, detailed some of the expected formalities.

“The funeral will not be a State Funeral and will not be preceded by a Lying-in-State,” it stated on its website.

“His Royal Highness’s body will lie at rest in Windsor Castle ahead of the funeral in St George’s Chapel. This is in line with custom and with His Royal Highness’s wishes.”

It noted funeral arrangements will have been revised due to coronavirus restrictions and noted members of the public should “not attempt to attend or participate in any of the events that make up the funeral”.

Government regulations being eased from Monday allow up to 30 people to attend a funeral.

The Covid-secure arrangements may well have suited Prince Philip, who according to newspaper reports over the years, had expressed a preference for a no-fuss funeral.

That stands in contrast to the death of Queen Elizabeth II’s mother, also called Queen Elizabeth, who lay in state in the historic Westminster Hall next to the Houses of Parliament after her death in 2002.

Some 200,000 people filed past to pay respects, with the line snaking back kilometres up the River Thames.

Philip, a plain-spoken former naval commander, said he wanted a military-style funeral service in St George’s Chapel, where Prince Harry and Meghan Markle married in 2018.

Those present would be family members, friends and heads of Commonwealth countries, the Mirror reported.

Prince Philip reportedly did not want to be buried in St George’s Chapel or at Westminster Abbey, but instead in Frogmore Gardens at Windsor Castle.

The Royal Burial Ground there includes the mausoleum of Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert.

Edward VIII, who abdicated in order to marry Wallis Simpson, is also buried there.

Philip is said to have been closely involved in funeral arrangements being coordinated by the Lord Chamberlain’s Office at Buckingham Palace.

The Lord Chamberlain is the most senior officer of the Royal Household and his office organises ceremonial events such as garden parties and state visits.

The position is currently held by William Peel, the 3rd Earl Peel, who will soon retire and hand over to Andrew Parker, Baron Parker of Minsmere, the former director-general of the domestic security agency MI5.

Under the protocol, the Lord Chamberlain first consults with the prime minister and then the queen to agree on the death announcement and funeral.

Then, Buckingham Palace officially announces the death, triggering well-rehearsed special programming on national media.

The College of Arms said all official flags, including the Union Jack, will be flown at half-mast until 8am on the day after the funeral.

The Royal Standard above the royal residence will remain flying, however, to represent the continuity of the monarchy.

The royal family and members of the royal household will wear dark clothes and armbands. The Royal Household website has been changed, as have the family’s official social media platforms.

The funeral of a senior royal family member should take place eight days after the death, according to the National Association of Civic Officers.

There will be an announcement on whether to hold a national two-minute silence on the day of the funeral.

The last major royal funeral was that of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, just over a month after the death of her younger daughter, the monarch’s sister Princess Margaret.





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