Queen Elizabeth to bid farewell to Prince Philip
Queen Elizabeth would bid her spouse of more than seven decades, Prince Philip, a last goodbye at a ceremonial funeral on Saturday, with the country observing a minute’s silence to mark the death of a pivotal individual in the British monarchy.
The coffin of Philip, who died on April 9 at the age of 99 at Windsor Castle in west London, would be driven to the castle’s St George’s Chapel on a specially built Land Rover.
The successor to the throne, Prince Charles, and Philip’s other three children would follow in procession.
Prince William and his brother, Prince Harry, who has returned from the United States to attend, will be divided by their cousin Peter Phillips, recalling Diana’s funeral in 1997, when the mourning teenage princes marched behind their mother’s coffin.
The queen, who has said that her husband’s death has created a massive hole in her life, will be driven behind in a car known as the State Bentley.
Owing to COVID-19 limits, the 94-year-old queen would stand alone throughout the funeral, which begins at 3 p.m. (1400 GMT), when her husband’s coffin is lowered into the Royal Vault of the ancient chapel.
“She’s the queen, and she’ll act with the exceptional grace and bravery that she always does. At the same moment, she is bidding goodbye to those she has been committed to for 73 years “said Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, who will officiate at the ceremony.
Philip, who married Elizabeth in 1947, assisted the young king in adapting the kingdom to the transforming climate of the post-World War II period, when the loss of empire and the reduction in deference tested the world’s most influential royal family.
She has already been widowed, only as she is dealing with one of the royal family’s most serious scandals in decades: accusations of bigotry and neglect by her grandson Harry and his American-born wife Meghan.
HARRY, PAY ATTENTION
Most international interest will be paid to the royals’ treatment of Harry, who will make his first public outing with the family following the couple’s controversial interview with Oprah Winfrey last month.
They suspected one unidentified royal of making a racist remark in the interview, and claimed Meghan’s cries for support while she felt suicidal went dismissed.
The pair, who relocated to Los Angeles and stepped down from royal duties last year, lay open their views of the family’s attitudes in what amounted to a rebuke of an ancient institution’s old-fashioned traditions.
Meghan claimed that “the Firm” had silenced her, while Harry claimed that his boss, Charles, had declined to take his calls. Both Charles and his brother William, according to Harry, became stuck in the royal household.
Meghan would attend the funeral from her home in California after her doctor told her not to drive while pregnant, according to a person familiar with the case.
On a day of bright spring sunlight, Charles arrived at Windsor Castle on Saturday, as did William and his wife Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, as soldiers and sailors gathered for the procession within the castle’s walls.
Mourners would abstain from wearing military uniforms, according to reports, in order to avoid humiliation for Harry, who, after completing two tours in Afghanistan during his army service, will not be able to wear a uniform after he was deprived of his honorary military titles.
“We’re not going to be dragged into certain stereotypes of drama or something like that,” a spokesperson for Buckingham Palace said. “It’s a funeral. The arrangements have been decided upon, and they represent the desires of Her Majesty.”
Prince Andrew, who stood down from public life in 2019 amid outrage about his “ill-judged” relationship with late U.S. financier Jeffrey Epstein, had planned to carry an admiral’s uniform to the funeral, according to British reports.
QUEEN ON HER OWN
The palace has emphasised that, although the occasion will provide the pageantry expected for the death of a senior prince, it will also serve as a memorial for a grieving family to remember a spouse, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather.
Because of COVID-19 limits, there will only be 30 mourners inside the chapel for the funeral.
Archbishop Welby, the head of the global Anglican Communion, said he wanted the funeral to resonate with the millions of people who lost loved ones in the pandemic.
Philip’s devotion to service won him strong support in the United Kingdom, but he was often chastised by others for a series of off-the-cuff racial or abrupt remarks that shocked kings, bishops, and presidents.
“He was authentically himself, with a seriously quick tongue, and could keep the interest of every room due to his charisma as well as the fact that you never know what he would say next,” Harry said of his grandfather.
British news channels have cleared their schedules to air the funeral, and millions are expected to tune in, despite the fact that the British Broadcasting Corporation has received over 100,000 concerns over its blanket coverage following Philip’s death.
Philip was a decorated Royal Navy veteran of WWII, and his burial, which was meticulously arranged by the prince himself, would have a definite military feel, with staff from around the armed forces performing prominent positions.