Prince Philip has passed away at the age of 99, after battling health problems for the last few years.
The Queen sat and mourned alone, a tearful Prince Charles walked behind the coffin and Princes William and Harry were finally reunited during a sad and solemn farewell to Prince Philip at his funeral at Windsor Castle today.
Queen Elizabeth II bowed her head as she accompanied her husband’s coffin on its final journey and their eldest son Prince Charles cried as he walked behind the casket into St George’s Chapel.
Princes William and Harry joined the solemn procession, walking with their father Charles and other members of the Royal Family behind the coffin – although the brothers were separated during the walk by their cousin Peter Phillips.
The Queen, 94, sat nearest the altar, alone in the chapel’s Quire, two metres from any family members and wearing a face mask. She took no active part in the ceremony.
Inside the chapel, William and Harry were apart. William and Kate sat on one side of the chapel, opposite Harry, who was on the same side as the Queen, Prince Andrew, Princess Anne and her husband Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence.
It was the first time William and Harry have seen each other in more than a year and the brothers reportedly resolved to put aside their issues today to focus on mourning their grandfather.
As they left the chapel, Prince William and Prince Harry came together side-by-side for the very first time, speaking to the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Kate was seen speaking to her brother-in-law as the trio walked away together following the service. Harry and William then walked along together as the royals headed to the wake.
Kindness, humour and humanity
The Duke of Edinburgh’s casket was covered in his personal standard and carried his sword, naval cap and a wreath of flowers as pallbearers lowered him on to his self-designed Land Rover hearse in the castle packed quadrangle packed with hundreds of armed personnel.
Prince Philip, 99, was remembered for his “kindness, humour and humanity” and his “unwavering loyalty” to the Queen.
There was no eulogy or sermon at the service and no members of the Royal family gave readings.
Instead, the deeply religious ceremony reflected The Duke of Edinburgh’s desire to avoid unnecessary fuss, and focused on Royal Navy tradition and his love of the sea.
In keeping with Covid guidelines and tradition for a ceremonial royal funeral, the 50-minute service was conducted solely by the Dean of Windsor and the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Just 30 members of the royal family gathered to remember the Duke’s life at 3pm local time (2am Sunday NZT).
“We are here today in St. George’s Chapel to commit into the hands of God the soul of His servant Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh,” said the Dean of Windsor.
“With grateful hearts we remember the many ways in which his long life has been a blessing to us. We have been inspired to his long loyalty, by his service to the nation and the Commonwealth, by his courage, fortitude and faith.
“Our lives have been enriched through the challenge that he set us, the encouragement that he has given us, his kindness, humour and humanity.
“We therefore pray that God will give us grace to follow his example and that, with our brother Philip, at the last, we shall know the joys of life eternal.”
The Queen arrived at Windsor Castle as the national anthem played and the royal Bentley stopped next to her beloved husband’s coffin, where she poignantly paused for a moment of reflection as cannons fired and bells tolled in remembrance of the duke.
Her Majesty was then driven to St George’s Chapel with a lady in waiting, before being sat alone at the front of the church where she stood alone and bowed her head during the national minute’s silence.
Following behind the coffin was the royal procession, led by Philip’s children Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward. The grandchildren, including Prince William and Prince Harry, followed.
The Queen had decided that no royals should wear military uniform after Prince Andrew demanded to dress as an Admiral and Prince Harry was stripped of his titles. They were allowed to wear their medals, however.
Towards the end of the service, the Dean of Windsor commended the Duke, as his coffin was lowered into the Royal Vault.
“Go forth upon thy journey from this world, O Christian soul, in the name of God the Father Almighty who created thee, in the name of Jesus Christ who suffered for thee, in the name of the Holy Spirit who strengthenteth thee, may thy portion this day be in peace, and thy dwelling in the heavenly Jerusalem.”
The Buglers of the Royal Marines sounded the Last Post, in a nod to Prince Philip’s military career, before Reveille was sounded by the State Trumpeters of the Household Cavalry.
Prince Philip is being laid to rest overnight (NZT).
The eight-minute funeral procession began at 2.40pm local time (1.40am NZT) at the state entrance to Windsor Castle, ending at the nearby St George’s Chapel.
Philip’s coffin was draped in his personal flag celebrating both his British titles and his Greek heritage. His naval cap, officer’s sword and flowers lie atop the coffin.
He specifically requested his coffin be transported in a specially modified Land Rover, which he helped to design. It’s a fitting tribute for the 99-year-old, who was known for his love of design, engineering and practical skills.
At 3pm UK time, a national minute of silence was observed before the pared-back ceremony. Philip is being interred in Frogmore Gardens, where Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were laid to rest.
“This event will be much reduced in scale with no public access. In line with government guidelines and public health measures, there will be no public processions and the Duke’s funeral will take place entirely within the grounds of Windsor Castle,” a palace spokesperson has said.
“The plans have been given final approval by the Queen and reflect appropriately government advice. Despite these necessary changes, they still very much reflect the personal wishes of the duke.”
The Queen’s tribute to her royal consort
The Queen described her “deep sorrow” when announcing the death of her beloved husband.
It’s understood she was by his side when he died “peacefully” last Friday.
The Duke of Edinburgh spent his final days at the castle with his wife, who he lovingly called Lilibet throughout their long life together, after a 28-night stay in hospital, having been admitted in mid-February for an infection and a pre-existing heart condition. They had been married for 73 years. His wife has been Queen for 69 of those years.
Philip is survived by his wife, Queen Elizabeth II, and his children Charles, Prince of Wales; Anne, Princess Royal; Prince Andrew, Duke of York; and Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex.
New Zealand’s tribute to the Duke
Last week Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern expressed her “sincere condolences” to the Queen and royal family.
“Our thoughts are with Her Majesty The Queen at this profoundly sad time. On behalf of the New Zealand people and the Government, I would like to express my sincere condolences to Her Majesty and to all the royal family.
She said the New Zealand Government was awaiting details from the palace concerning arrangements for the funeral.
“Following the funeral, a national memorial service will be held in Wellington. More details will follow once arrangements have been confirmed.”
New Zealand Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy said the Prince’s death was a “great loss to Her Majesty the Queen, the members of the royal family and the people of Her Majesty’s realms and territories”.