Why Prince Philip may be given a royal ceremonial funeral instead of a state funeral

Friday, 9th April 2021, 1:44 pm
Prince Philip has died at the age of 99 (Getty Images)
Prince Philip has died at the age of 99 (Getty Images)

Prince Philip has died at the age of 99, it has been announced by Buckinham Palace.

The country’s longest serving consort, the Duke of Edinburgh dedicated decades of his life to royal duty, serving the nation at the monarch’s side.

The Palace said in a statement: “It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen announces 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.

“Further announcements will made in due course.

“The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss.”

When will his funeral take place? 

The Queen will now enter an eight day period of mourning ahead of her husband’s funeral.

During the period state affairs will be suspended and new bills will not be given royal assent.

It is unclear at this stage whether the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral will take place at the conclusion of this period of mourning.

Will Prince Philip be given a state funeral? 

Not necessarily.

Despite being entitled to a state funeral, the Duke of Edinburgh maintained he did not want the “fuss” of such an event.

It is thought that he will instead have a royal ceremonial funeral.

The Prince was closely involved with his own funeral plans which are coordinated by Lord Chamberlain’s Office at Buckingham Palace.

It is thought that the Prince’s body will lie in state at St James’ Palace and will not be open to the public.

The funeral itself will be military themed and take place at St George’s Chapel in Windsor, though a military procession may also take place from St James's Palace, down Marlborough Road and up The Mall if Covid-19 restrictions allow it.

Where will the Duke of Edinburgh be buried? 

The Duke of Edinburgh will be laid to rest at Frogmore Gardens in Windsor – an area off limits to the public.

At Frogmore Gardens the Prince will be buried at either the Duchess of Kent’s Mausoleum, the Royal Mausoleum or the Royal Burial ground.

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert are buried at the Royal Mausoleum, while the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret are buried at St George’s Chapel.

What role will prominent royals play? 

All eyes will be on Queen Elizabeth II at her partner’s funeral.

The Queen, with all her training as head of state, is used to holding her emotions in check in public. Shortly after her father, King George VI, died, she was required to greet then prime minister Winston Churchill and other dignitaries immediately on returning to London from Kenya as the new Queen.

Prince Charles and wife the Duchess of Cornwall will also be in attendance, as will the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who maintained a close relationship with Prince William’s grandfather.

Prince Harry and wife the Duchess of Sussex will also likely be in attendance despite the latter being heavily pregnant with their second child. The couple currently live in California, but a source told the Daily Mail Online: "Harry will absolutely do his utmost to get back to the UK and be with his family.

They added: "He will want nothing more than to be there for his family, and particularly his grandmother, during this awful time.

"Meghan is obviously pregnant so she will need to take advice from her doctors about whether it is safe for her to travel, but I think Harry will definitely go."

How will the Covid-19 pandemic impact the funeral?

The Covid-19 pandemic will have a major impact on the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral.

Arrangements, known as Operation Forth Bridge, detailed how thousands of members of the public would have flocked to London and Windsor to bid farewell to the consort, but public elements will now be stripped back due to continuing social distancing measures.

It is not clear whether a military parade through either Windsor or London will take place

Current rules on funerals in England state that only 30 people are allowed to attend the burial of a loved one. This would see only the Duke’s closest friends and family in attendance at the event which will be televised.