The Royal Family gather for The Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral service at St George’s Chapel

On the afternoon of Saturday 17th April, 2021, the life of HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, was celebrated in a funeral service at St George’s Chapel.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, only 30 attendees were present at the service, which was a scaled back yet poignant moment of reflection.

The Queen bows her head in prayer during the funeral service of The Duke of Edinburgh (Royal Family Youtube still)

The Duke of Edinburgh’s life and personal interests were heavily reflected throughout the day. Various elements of the service had been chosen by the late Prince Philip himself, including the music played at Windsor Castle prior to the service, as well as the hymns and readings.

The Duke’s lead-lined coffin – thought to weigh 700lb – was transported to the Chapel on a special Land Rover which he designed. The coffin was draped in Prince Philip’s standard, featuring his coat of arms, an arrangement of white lilies and roses selected by The Queen, a note from his wife, his naval cap, and the sword gifted by his father-in-law, King George VI, to mark Philip’s marriage to the-then Princess Elizabeth.

The modified Land Rover Defender that will be used to transport the coffin of Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, at his funeral. Made in Solihull in 2003, the Duke oversaw the modifications throughout the intervening years, requesting a repaint in military green and designing the open top rear and special “stops” to secure his coffin in place.

Despite not being a state funeral, the military played an important role, with the band of the Grenadier Guards performing hymns as Philip’s coffin left Windsor Castle. The pallbearers were chosen from various military regiments with connections to the late Duke, including the Grenadier Guards and the Royal Marines.

In a particularly touching gesture marking his love of carriage driving, the Duke’s carriage and fell ponies were brought to Windsor Castle to watch their master leave for the last time; Philip’s gloves, whip and hat were placed on the seat of the carriage where he once sat.

Prince Philip’s coffin, adorned with his coat of arms, naval cap and sword (Royal Family YouTube still)

Prince Charles and Princess Anne lead the procession that followed Prince Philip’s coffin at his funeral today.

Male members of the Royal Family, as well as The Princess Royal, walked behind the coffin as part of the funeral procession. The Queen followed in the State Bentley; this marks a departure from tradition as the Sovereign generally leads a funeral procession. The remaining attendees waited outside the Chapel for Her Majesty, and then took their seats inside, all according to social distancing guidelines.

Upon arrival at St George’s Chapel, the coffin was brought onto the steps and the nation paused to observe a minute of silence.

Her Majesty was accompanied to the church by a lady-in-waiting, who did not attend the service itself (numbers were limited to just 30 people; Prime Minister Boris Johnson did not attend to allow more space for family).

Inside St George’s Chapel, Queen Elizabeth II was seated by herself, as her family members sat in a socially-distanced fashion in their own household bubbles.

A minute of silence is observed as The Duke of Edinburgh’s coffin ascends the steps of St George’s Chapel (Royal Family YouTube still)

The Countess of Wessex comforts her children as their grandfather’s coffin arrives at St George’s Chapel (Royal Family YouTube still)

All of The Queen and the Duke’s children and grandchildren attended, including Lady Louise Windsor and Viscount Severn, who accompanied their parents, The Earl and Countess of Wessex. The Duke of Sussex was also present, having returned from Los Angeles to be with his family; the pregnant Duchess of Sussex was unable to travel due to medical advice. None of the great-grandchildren were present due to their young ages.

The Queen’s cousins, The Dukes of Gloucester and Kent and Princess Alexandra were there, as well as Princess Margaret’s children, The Earl of Snowdon and Lady Sarah Chatto.

Several members of the family, including The Prince of Wales and Princess Anne, were notably emotional during the service.

Prince Philip’s coffin draped in his personal standard arrives at the catafalque (@RoyalFamily)

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall (Royal Family YouTube still)

Princess Beatrice and her husband, Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi; Prince Philip attended their wedding in July (Royal Family YouTube still)

Zara Tindall, The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh’s eldest granddaughter, alongside her husband, Mike Tindall (Royal Family YouTube still)

The funeral of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, at Windsor Castle; members of the Royal Family were separated into households

As a result of the COVID-19 restrictions, no hymns were sung by the congregation. A small choir composed of 4 people instead performed the hymns and psalms. There was no eulogy or readings given by members of the family; the service was conducted by The Dean of Windsor, the Right Reverend David Connor, and Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury. The service itself was simple, making little reference to the Duke’s astonishing achievements during his lifetime.

Behind the presiding ministers, Philip’s numerous insignias were on display.

Towards the end of the service, a Scottish piper played a lament, before the Last Post was performed; this is traditionally heard at the funerals of military veterans. The coffin was then lowered into the royal vault, where it will remain until The Queen passes; the couple will join The Queen’s father, mother and sister in the George VI chapel where their remains will rest.

The Dean of Windsor conducted the service; Philip’s insignias can be seen in the background (Royal Family YouTube still)

Following the service, Her Majesty returned to Windsor Castle by car, while the rest of the family walked, a short journey they have made on many, happier occasions, like Easter Mattins.

We offer our deepest condolences to The Queen and her family on this sad day.

A new photo of The Queen and Prince Philip shows a happy summer holiday (@RoyalFamily)

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