Prince Philip leaves behind an incredible legacy.
The Duke of Edinburgh died on April 9 at the age of 99, leaving behind his wife of 73 years, Queen Elizabeth II, their four children, eight grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
Buckingham Palace announced Philip’s death, expressing in a statement: “It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen has announced the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle. The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss.”
Before his death, Philip had a hand in making his own funeral plans. As funeral preparations are underway, here is everything we know about how the late royal will be laid to rest.
When Will the Funeral Take Place?
The Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral will take place at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle on Saturday, April 17 at 3 p.m. The service, which will be televised, will begin with a minutes silence and be preceded by a Ceremonial Procession inside the grounds of Windsor Castle.
Per the palace, Philip’s coffin, “covered with His Royal Highness’s Personal Standard and dressed with a wreath of flowers, is resting in the Private Chapel at Windsor Castle, where it will remain until the day of the funeral.”
On the 17th, it will then be moved to a Bearer Party founded by The Queen’s Company, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards. “Positioned in the Quadrangle at Windsor Castle there will be representative detachments drawn from His Royal Highness’s military special relationships.”
His coffin will then be carried in “a purpose-built Land Rover — which The Duke was involved in the design of — flanked by military Pall Bearers, in a small Ceremonial Procession from the State Entrance to St George’s Chapel, for the service.” His family will walk behind the coffin. Royal expert Katie Nicholl told ET that Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince Harry will be the ones to walk behind the coffin.
“We understand that just as they walked behind Diana’s coffin at her funeral, Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince Harry will walk behind Prince Philip’s coffin in what is going to be a very moving final farewell to the duke,” Nicholl said.
Carried by a Bearer Party found by the Royal Marines, the coffin will be taken to the top of the West Steps of St George’s Chapel by the Dean of Windsor and the Archbishop of Canterbury. The Duke’s naval cap and sword will be placed on the coffin ahead of the service and with his insignia laid on the altar of the chapel. At the conclusion of the service, HRH will be interred in the royal vault in St George’s Chapel.
Union Flags flying at half-mast at royal residences will remain at half-mast until the day after the funeral.
Who Will Be in Attendance?
Only 30 people will be able to attend the funeral, which “will very much reflect the personal wishes of the Duke.” The service will be attended by the queen and members of the royal family, including and not limited to Prince Charles and wife Camila, Duchess of Cornwall, Prince William and Kate Middleton, and Prince Harry. Expect to also see Philip and the queen’s other children, Princess Anne, Prince Edward and Prince Andrew in attendance.
Per the palace, arrangements have had to be modified due to COVID-19. There will be no public access, but journalists and photographers will also be there.
Nicholl told ET about those in attendance, “So, it’s a small guest list which will comprised mostly of immediate family, some extended family and a few of Prince Philip’s closest aids, but had we not been in a pandemic … it would have been a bigger funeral than what we were expecting on Saturday with probably around 800 guests. So, aids will be working on reducing that guest list, crunching it down to 30, and of course it will be the queen who has overall sign off on who’s going to be at St. George’s Chapel on Saturday.”
ET confirmed that Meghan Markle, who is pregnant with her second child, made every effort to travel alongside Harry, but unfortunately, didn’t receive medical clearance from her physician. Nicholl said it will be a difficult experience for Harry traveling to the U.K. alone.
“Well, of course leaving behind his heavily pregnant wife isn’t what he wanted to do,” she said. “My understanding is that Meghan was very keen to be here with Prince Harry to support him in what is clearly a very very difficult and personal time for him, but she is now in the late stages of her pregnancy. She’s well into her third trimester, she’s 39 as well, and that comes with certain risks attached to it. She doesn’t want to take any risks and on the advice of her physician, she was told to stay behind, so I think that it’s a difficult journey for Prince Harry to take on his own and she would have loved to be there to support him but they are putting her health, the health of their unborn baby, first and Prince Harry has come over to the U.K. alone.”
Nicholl noted that while the situation isn’t ideal, Prince Harry might have the opportunity to fully concentrate on mending relationships with his family.
“It actually may not be such a bad thing that he is here on his own and, you know, he won’t have anyone else to worry about,” Nicholl said. “This is just him with family and hopefully there will be an opportunity in what is going to be a very busy and emotional and intense weekend, hopefully there will be a time for some much needed one-on-one time with his father, with Prince William, and with the queen.”
Nicholl said there is particularly hope when it comes to William and Harry putting behind some of their differences.
“We don’t know how long Prince Harry is going to be staying in the U.K.. …but I think the hope is that there will be an opportunity as the right time for the brothers to sit down and talk,” she said. “I think people are hoping that in all of this very sad story that there may be a silver lining and that will be that William and Harry can start to talk about things and hopefully put the past behind them and move on. Certainly I think that’s what the Duke of Edinburgh would have wanted … he was a family man. He was the patriarch of the royal family, he loved William and Harry and he would have hated to have seen them fall out.”
What Were Philip’s Final Wishes?
Philip didn’t want an elaborate state funeral, instead asked for a more intimate affair during his final days. Before his death, he had a hand in making his own funeral plans, per Omid Scobie, co-author of Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family.
“A state funeral is what Prince Philip is entitled to as the queen’s consort, and it would be a day of mourning for the country but would involve heads of state from around the world being invited to congregate at Westminster Abbey to remember his life,” Scobie told ET. “It is something that we last saw with Princess Diana’s funeral, the whole world stood still for that moment. With Prince Philip, he has asked for a much more quieter event. He has asked, in his words, a simple affair and that is exactly what is happening at the ceremonial service that will take place at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.”
Scobie added that Queen Elizabeth’s husband did “not like fuss” and “made that known when it came to planning his funeral.” The royal expert shared that Philip worked closely with the Lord Chamberlain’s office at Buckingham Palace “to ensure that it wasn’t a blown-up affair, and that means that it won’t be a state funeral. Instead, it will be a royal ceremonial funeral, which will be a much more private affair.”
“This will really give a chance for the royals to remember his life in a very peaceful and quiet way. It also avoids the worries that the government have over people congregating during the time of the pandemic,” he continued. “For Prince Philip, this is exactly what he wanted. It’s a send-off that he had asked for.”
While Philip is entitled to a state funeral, for which every head of state from around the world would have flown in, the late royal “wanted it to be a simple affair, simply focused on the loved ones, the friends, and the family that were gathered there for that final moment, and that says a lot about his character.”
How is the Royal Family Paying Tribute?
It is the queen’s wish that the royal family observe two weeks of royal mourning, which started on April 9, per the palace. During the period, all royal duties, as well as affairs of state, will be paused. After the eight days, the country is expected to go into a 10 day-long mourning period, while the royal household will reportedly do so for 30 days.
“If there are any appearances of [the royal family] in the days or weeks ahead, we will see them dressed appropriately in black,” Scobie detailed. “But across the board, you can really imagine that all royal engagements over the next eight days at least have been put to one side.”
In addition, the profile pics on the official Instagram and Twitter pages for the royal family — including the Royal Family, Kensington Palace and Clarence House accounts — were changed to black-and-white versions of their official crest and other royal symbols. The three accounts’ avatars were previously photos of the royals.
A day after the Duke of Edinburgh’s death, the queen shared a touching tribute to her late husband. A photo of the couple, who were married for 73 years, was posted on the royal family’s Instagram account, along with a 1997 quote from the queen about her beloved spouse.
“He has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years, and I, and his whole family, and this and many other countries, owe him a debt greater than we would ever claim, or we shall ever know,” the queen expressed.
Which Other Royal Family Members Have Spoke Out?
Aside from the official Buckingham Palace statement, Prince Charles shared a sentimental statement on behalf of the royal family.
“I particularly wanted to say that my father, for I suppose the last 70 years, has given the most remarkable, devoted service to The Queen, to my family and to the country, but also to the whole of the Commonwealth,” a somber Charles told reporters on Saturday. “As you can imagine, my family and I miss my father enormously.”
“He was a much loved and appreciated figure and apart from anything else, I can imagine, he would be so deeply touched by the number of other people here and elsewhere around the world and the Commonwealth, who also I think, share our loss and our sorrow,” he continued. “My dear Papa was a very special person who I think above all else would have been amazed by the reaction and the touching things that have been said about him and from that point of view we are, my family, deeply grateful for all that.”
Harry and Meghan, on their Archewell website, posted a tribute to the late royal.
“IN LOVING MEMORY OF His Royal Highness,” the statement on their homepage reads in white amid a gray background. “The Duke of Edinburgh 1921-2021. THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE…YOU WILL BE GREATLY MISSED.”
On April 12, Harry paid tribute to his grandfather in a lengthy statement.
“My grandfather was a man of service, honor and great humor,” Harry’s statement reads in part. “He was authentically himself, with a seriously sharp wit, and could hold the attention of any room due to his charm — and also because you never knew what he might say next. He will be remembered as the longest reigning consort to the Monarch, a decorated serviceman, a Prince and a Duke. But to me, like many of you who have lost a loved one or a grandparent over the pain of this past year, he was grandpa: master of the barbecue, legend of banter, and cheeky right ’til the end.”
Nicholl told ET that Harry was “incredibly close” to his grandfather.
“They were soldiers, they shared a love of the military and I think you can tell from the tone of Harry’s statement in which he pays such a warm tribute to his grandfather just how much he loved him and just like all members of the royal family, will really be missing him right now,” she said. “I’m told he is of course very upset, missing his grandfather but also relieved to be here in the U.K. and happy to be here and looking forward to being reunited with his family. It’s going to be an emotional reunion. He hasn’t seen his family for over a year now, so I think a lot of people are thinking maybe there’s a silver lining in all of this that finally there will be a family reunion.”
As for William and Kate, they chose to repost Queen Elizabeth II’s statement sharing the news of her husband’s death on their Kensington Royal Instagram account. Additionally, the Duke of Cambridge canceled his appearance at the 2021 BAFTAs.
“In light of the Duke of Edinburgh’s passing, the Duke of Cambridge will no longer be part of BAFTA programming this weekend,” read a statement from BAFTA. “Our thoughts are with the Royal Family, to whom we offer our deepest sympathy at this time.”
On April 12, William shared a statement remembering his late grandfather.
“I feel lucky to have not just had his example to guide me, but his enduring presence well into my own adult life — both through good times and the hardest days,” William wrote. “I will always be grateful that my wife had so many years to get to know my grandfather and for the kindness, he showed her. I will never take for granted the special memories my children will always have of their great-grandpa coming to collect them in his carriage and seeing for themselves his infectious sense of adventure as well as his mischievous sense of humor!”
William concluded his message assuring the public he and Kate plan to “support the Queen in the years ahead.”
“I will miss my Grandpa, but I know he would want us to get on with the job,” he wrote.
“My grandfather was an extraordinary man and part of an extraordinary generation.”
A message from The Duke of Cambridge following the death of The Duke of Edinburgh:
In a prerecorded ITV interview, which aired on April 9, Princess Anne, 70, expressed: “Without him life will be completely different. But from society’s perspective he was able to keep pace with the kind of technological changes that have such an impact … but above all that it’s not about the technology it’s about the people.”
Prince Edward, 57, in that same interview added: “The Duke of Edinburgh Award is probably among the best-known of the foundations in his name, and initially started by his former headmaster Kurt Hahn, who when it was rolled out beyond Gordonstoun came to my father and said ‘would you get involved in this.’ My father got Lord Hunt involved in helping to shape how it would roll out and that was of course one of his geniuses, being able to find the right people to take things on and shape them. The fact it has now spread to more than 140 countries, way beyond the Commonwealth, way beyond the English speaking world, is enormous testament to that original vision.”
On April 11, Princess Anne released another statement, writing in part, “You know it’s going to happen but you are never really ready. My father has been my teacher, my supporter and my critic, but mostly it is his example of a life well lived and service freely given that I most wanted to emulate.”