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Prince Philip’s funeral arrangements have been in place for many years and approved by the Duke of Edinburgh himself. However, due to the pandemic they have been extensively revised, and Buckingham Palace has now announced new plans for a service which will be “much reduced in scale and with no public access.” It will all take place out of public view inside the grounds of Windsor Castle, but will be televised.
Palace officials confirmed today that Philip’s funeral will take place on Saturday, April 17 at 3 p.m. local time. It will be a ceremonial funeral but the ceremonial elements will be significantly scaled back, with no public processions, and the royal household will adhere to all government guidelines, meaning that only 30 people will be in attendance at the event. Current regulations require social distancing to be observed among people not in the same household or support bubble as well as face coverings to be worn by those attending funerals.
A Buckingham Palace spokesman said today that, despite the changes, the arrangements “still very much reflect the personal wishes of the Duke” and that the plans have been approved by the Queen. A precise guest list will be released later next week, but a royal spokesperson confirmed that Prince Harry is planning to attend. It is understood that Meghan, who is expecting a baby due in the summer, made every effort to travel alongside him but did not receive medical clearance from her physician.
There will be a national period of mourning up until and including the day of the funeral - meaning that flags will continue to fly at half mast on official buildings. One minute of silence will be observed before the funeral service begins at 3 p.m. The royal family has now entered an official two-week period of royal mourning which will be observed by the family and their households as well as troops who are committed to ceremonial duties. Royal family members may be seen in public during this time at engagements that are considered appropriate.
Prince Philip is currently lying at rest in the private chapel at Windsor Castle, where he will remain until the day of the funeral when he will be moved to St George’s Chapel and interred in the royal vault following the service. His coffin will travel on a customized Land Rover, which was described by one official as having been chosen due to Philip’s interest in design. The coffin will be covered in the flag of his personal royal standard along with a wreath of flowers and his naval cap and sword.
A spokesperson said that, while there was a period of mourning, it was hoped that the coming days would be an opportunity to "celebrate a remarkable life.” However, the palace is also reiterating guidance to the public not to gather at royal residences and to consider making charity donations instead of laying flowers. “People turning up at Windsor next Saturday will not be able to see anything” a spokesperson said.
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