Following instructions left by the Duke of Edinburgh himself, Prince Philip’s coffin was transported from the State Entrance at Windsor Castle to St George’s Chapel before his funeral service. Accompanied by the Dean of Windsor and Lord Chamberlain, the Duke’s coffin was followed by a coterie of members of the Royal Family, including his sons. Prince Charles, Prince Edward, and Prince andrew; the girl Princess Anne; grandsons Prince William, Prince Harry, and Peter Phillips; nephew David Linley, Earl of Snowdon; and son-in-law Sir Timothy Laurence. The family walked slowly and silently behind the custom Land Rover that carried the casket, which was adorned with a flag with its personal standard, naval sword, hat and a wreath of flowers.
Although there was a strong military presence in the procession, reflecting the Duke’s connection to the armed forces, members of the royal family did not appear in uniform. Several family members wore their military medals, including Harry, who wore his Order of the Neck and KCVO star, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Golden Jubilee Medal and the Diamond Jubilee Medal.
The Queen did not participate in the procession, but traveled from the castle to St. George’s Chapel in a Bentley, accompanied by a maid of honor who is part of her Covid-safe bubble.
The powerful image of the royal family united to mourn their patriarch bears inevitable echoes of the 1997 funeral procession for Princess Diana, where young Harry and William were joined by their father, grandfather and uncle. Earl spencer to walk behind their mother’s coffin. The circumstances surrounding the funeral of Prince Philip, who died at the age of 99 following heart surgery in March, are very different. But it comes at another time of tension in the royal family, as the funeral reunited Harry with his family for the first time since he and his wife, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, retired as a member of the royal family over a year ago.
As shown in plans released by Buckingham Palace last week, the casket was carried by a Queen’s Company bearer group, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards. On the grass in the castle quadrangle were representative detachments from Philip’s special military connections, as well as domestic cavalry and foot guards. Although the funeral was closed to the public due to pandemic restrictions on large gatherings, members of the military were invited to take part in the procession to reflect Philip’s long-standing relationship with the military. The Grenadier Guards fanfare, of which Philip was colonel for 42 years, led the procession to St. George’s Chapel, followed by the Major General’s Party and then the department heads. The coffin, carried on a Land Rover, was flanked by porters from the Duke’s special connections – the Royal Marines, regiments, corps and air stations.
In addition, the procession route was bordered by representatives of the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Highlanders, 4th Battalion Royal Regiment of Scotland and the Royal Air Force. Minute cannons were fired by the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery from the East Lawn of Windsor Castle during the procession, and the curfew tower bell rang.
Like his uncle Dickie Mountbatten, Philip wanted his body transported in a custom open-top Land Rover that he helped design 18 years ago. Practical, sane and sturdy, the Duke loved to drive his Land Rovers and wanted his last trip to be in one of the vehicles. Ironically, only two years ago the Duke was involved in a serious accident at Sandringham when he was pulled out of the wreckage of his Land Rover, but managed to walk away with only bruises.
His beloved car and ponies were also parked in the Quadrangle in the castle grounds in a moving reminder of the Duke’s passion for carriage driving, a sport he loved, wrote the rules and continued in its 90 years.
The procession preceded a service inside St. George’s Chapel, where the grandchildren of Philip, Prince Harry and Princess Eugenie the two have married in recent years.
Prince Philip died on April 9 at the age of 99, having recently returned home after a month-long hospital stay that included heart surgery. His death came during a remarkably turbulent time for the royal family that began with the departure of Harry and Meghan from Britain, included Prince William and Prince Charles contracting Covid, and continued through the fallout of the ‘Harry and Meghan’s explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey. The death of the family patriarch, however, is said to have united the royal family in grief. Brothers William and Harry, who have reportedly barely spoken in the past year, have both paid tribute to their grandfather in public statements. “My grandfather was a man of service, honor and great humor,” Harry wrote. “He was authentically himself, with a very sharp wit, and could hold the attention of any room because of his charm – and also because you never knew what he might say next.”
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