What happens next? Plans for Prince Philip's funeral

AFP
Washington DC, USA Published: Apr 10, 2021, 10:41 AM(IST)

Prince Philip Photograph:( Twitter )

Story highlights

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.

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 has 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.

 

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

 No state funeral -

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 will allow up to 30 people to attend a funeral.

- Simple, no 'fuss' -
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 miles (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.

- Gun salutes - 
Philip is said to have been closely involved in funeral arrangements being coordinated by Buckingham Palace with the help of the government 

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Ahead of the service, the country will see several remembrance events in his honour. On Saturday, various British army artillery units across the country and the world are expected to conduct simultaneous gun salutes, a tradition dating back centuries to mark significant national events.

They have previously marked the death of Queen Victoria in 1901 and former prime minister Winston Churchill in 1965.

Units involved are set to fire one round at the start of each minute for 40 minutes, from locations including the Tower of London, Edinburgh and Cardiff Castles and Hillsborough Castle in Belfast.

Meanwhile on Monday, parliament will reconvene from an Easter recess a day early so lawmakers can share their sentiments, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson leading the tributes in the House of Commons.

- National mourning -
The College of Arms said all official flags, including the Union Jack, will be flown at half-mast until 8:00 am on the day after the funeral. The Royal Standard above the royal residence will remain flying, however, to represent the continuity of the monarchy.

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 -- including Prince Harry and wife Meghan Markle's personal Archwell foundation website.

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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