Britain prepares to honor Prince Philip with memorial service Saturday

Don Johnson
Members of the public gather outside Buckingham Palace in Westminster, Britain, on April 9 to lay flowers and pay tribute to Prince Philip after it was announced that he died at age 99. Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI
Members of the public gather outside Buckingham Palace in Westminster, Britain, on April 9 to lay flowers and pay tribute to Prince Philip after it was announced that he died at age 99. Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI | License Photo

April 16 (UPI) -- Britain is preparing for Saturday's funeral for late Prince Philip at St. George's Chapel in Windsor Castle, which will feature the royal family and include a national minute of silence.

Prince Philip died a week ago at the age of 99 after spending weeks in hospital. His funeral will not be a state funeral, as they are reserved for monarchs. Instead, a ceremonial royal funeral will he held, similar to the service held for Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother when she died in 2002.


Saturday's service, which will be broadcast on major television networks and via live stream online, will begin at 3 p.m. in Britain (10 a.m. EDT). Attendance has been limited to 30 due to COVID-19 restrictions, Buckingham Palace said. The congregation inside the chapel will all wear face masks.

A ceremonial procession inside the grounds of Windsor Castle will begin shortly before the memorial service. Queen Elizabeth II, who was married to Prince Philip for more than 73 years, will not take part in the procession.

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Prince Charles, Princess Anne and members of the royal family will join the procession, along with staff from the royal household, and walk behind the coffin to the chapel within the castle grounds. The procession will last for about eight minutes.


Prince William and Prince Harry will walk apart behind the coffin, separated by their cousin Peter Phillips. The decision to separate the brothers was made by the queen, The Guardian reported.

The brothers have had a strained relationship since Prince Harry and wife Meghan Markle stepped away from royal duties last year and moved to California. Markle, who is pregnant, won't attend the funeral on the advice of her doctor.

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A party of royal marines will carry the coffin inside the chapel and Prince William will walk next to Phillips, and ahead of Harry.

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Queen Elizabeth II ride in an open carriage with Prince Philip at the start of the Royal Ascot for the Ascot, England horse races on June 19, 1984. File Photo by Rob Taggart/UPI | License Photo

While no seating plan has been released, The Guardian reported that the queen will likely sit alone.

The service will be conducted by the David Conner, the dean of Windsor, and is expected to last for about 50 minutes, Buckingham Palace said. The royal marines will carry the coffin up the west steps of the chapel before pausing for the national minute of silence.

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A spokesperson said no members of the royal family will wear military uniforms, which is a break from tradition. Members of the royal family will be dressed in morning coats with medals or day dress.


Only close family and friends of Philip will attend the funeral. Mourners will include relatives from the German side of his family.

Among those invited to attend include two great-nephews and a cousin -- Bernhard, Hereditary Prince of Baden, Donatus, Landgrave of Hesse, and Prince Philipp of Hohenlohe-Langenburg.

The queen invited Philip's carriage-driving companion Countess Mountbatten of Burma, the wife of Norton Knatchbull, 3rd Earl Mountbatten of Burma. Knatchbull is the grandson of Philip's uncle, Louis Mountbatten, who was killed in 1979 by the Irish Republican Army.

Sarah Ferguson, the duchess of York and former wife of Prince Andrew, was not invited to the funeral.

More than 700 Armed Forces personnel from the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, British Army and Royal Air Force will provide support during the funeral.

As the coffin is lowered into the royal vault at the end of the service, a choir of four will sing the British national anthem, "God Save the Queen."

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