Queen Elizabeth and her family paid their last respects to Prince Philip at a funeral on Saturday (April 17) that celebrated his naval past, his international heritage and seven decades of service in which he helped guide the queen through repeated crises.
Elizabeth, dressed in black and in a white trimmed black mask, stood alone as her husband of 73 years was lowered into the Royal Vault in a service attended by senior royals including heir Prince Charles and his sons Princes William and Harry.
The queen was placed alone in the ceremony at St George’s Chapel with her children, grandchildren and a select group of royal mourners, separated due to COVID-19 rules.
Philip, officially known as the Duke of Edinburgh, died aged 99 on April 9. The queen in 1997 described Philip as her “strength and stay” over their decades of marriage.
After the nation observed a minute’s silence in brilliant sunshine, Harry and William took up their places on opposite sides of the chapel in Windsor Castle, with the final resting place of Tudor monarch Henry VIII dividing them.
Philip’s naval cap and sword lay on top of the coffin, which was covered with the Duke of Edinburgh’s personal standard featuring the Danish coat of arms, the Greek cross, Edinburgh Castle and the stripes of the Mountbatten family.
Philip’s coffin was borne to the chapel on a bespoke Defender TD 130 in military green as a minute gun fired eight times.
Before the procession, military bands spaced out across the quadrangle of Windsor Castle to play the prince’s chosen music, including “I Vow To Thee My Country,”, “Jerusalem” and “Nimrod”.
Philip, who married Elizabeth in 1947, helped the young queen adapt the monarchy to the changing world of the post-World War Two era as the loss of empire and the decline of deference challenged the world’s most prominent royal family.
She has now been widowed just as she grapples with one of the gravest crises to hit the royal family in decades – allegations of racism and neglect by it from her grandson Harry and his American-born wife Meghan.
Much media attention will focus on the royals’ behaviour towards Harry, who was making his first public appearance with the family since the couple gave an explosive interview to Oprah Winfrey last month.
Mourners eschewed the tradition of wearing military uniforms, a step newspapers said was to prevent embarrassment to Harry, who despite serving two tours in Afghanistan during his army career, is not be entitled to wear a uniform because he was stripped of his honorary military titles.
Prince Andrew, who stepped down from public duties in 2019 over controversy surrounding his what he termed his “ill-judged” association with late U.S. financier Jeffrey Epstein, had wanted to wear an admiral’s uniform at the funeral, media reported.
The palace emphasised beforehand that while the occasion would have the due pageantry that marks the passing of a senior royal, it remained an occasion for a mourning family to mark the passing of a husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather.
Philip was a decorated Royal Navy veteran of World War Two and his funeral, much of which was planned in meticulous detail by the prince himself, had a strong military feel, with personnel from across the armed forces playing prominent roles.