Prince Philip’s funeral: All eyes on Queen Elizabeth as she somberly celebrates Duke of Edinburgh’s life
Queen Elizabeth II paid her final respects to her husband of 73 years, Prince Philip, on Saturday, at a slimmed-down yet special celebration of life for the Duke of Edinburgh.
The 94-year-old reigning monarch’s other half died on April 9 at the age of 99.
Philip’s celebration of life, which he had a major role in planning prior to his death, was attended by his and the queen’s four children — Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward — as well as Charles’s wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall; Anne’s husband Timothy Laurence and Edward’s wife Sophie, Countess of Wessex.
Philip’s grandchildren — which include Peter Phillips, Zara Tindall, Prince William, Prince Harry, Princess Beatrice, Princess Eugenie, Lady Louise and James, Viscount Severn — also were in attendance.
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Meanwhile, Prince William’s wife, Kate Middleton, Zara Tindall’s husband, Mike Tindall, Princess Eugenie’s husband, Jack Brooksbank and Princess Beatrice’s husband, Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, will also join their royal spouses at the family event.
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During the service, Queen Elizabeth II, who is known for not showing too much emotion in public, sat alone in St. George’s Chapel during the funeral.
Philip married then-Princess Elizabeth in 1947 and is the longest-serving royal consort in British history.
Prior to the ceremony, members of the military gathered in ceremonial formation in the Quadrangle of Windsor Castle prior to the funeral procession. Philip’s coffin was carried to St. George’s Chapel on a modified Land Rover, which he designed himself.
The Duke of Edinburgh served in the Royal Navy for 12 years. Military personnel had a large role in honoring him Saturday despite the attendance limit due to coronavirus restrictions in England. Earlier this week, it was revealed senior royals attending the funeral must wear civilian clothes, defusing potential tensions over who would be allowed to don military uniforms.
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Pallbearers placed Prince Philip’s casket onto a modified Land Rover, designed by the Duke of Edinburgh, himself. The late duke was fond of Land Rovers and drove them for much of his life.
The ceremony also marks the first time Harry is reuniting with his family since the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s tell-all interview to Oprah Winfrey that was viewed by nearly 50 million people globally.
It was previously revealed that Prince Harry’s wife, Meghan Markle, 39, is not attending. The Duchess of Sussex, who is pregnant with the couple’s second child, was advised by her doctor not to attend. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex settled down in Santa Barbara, California, last year, months after the couple announced their decision to step back as senior members of the royal family.
The United Kingdom observed a nationwide minute of silence just before the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral service started.
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Featured in the ceremony was a small choir of four who sang “The Lord’s Prayer” at the start of Prince Philip’s funeral, among other pieces of music previously chosen by the Duke of Edinburgh. The choir was located in the Nave, away from the seated congregation, and in line with coronavirus guidelines.
The many titles Prince Philip held during his lifetime were read aloud during the service prior to the playing of bagpipes.
“High Admiral of the United Kingdom, One of Her Majesty’s Most Honorable Privy Council, Admiral of the Fleet, Field Marshal in the Army and Marshal of the Royal Air Force, Husband of Her Most Excellent Majesty Elizabeth the Second by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories, Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith, Sovereign of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, whom may God preserve and bless with long life, health and honor and all worldly happiness,” the Dean of Windsor said within St. George’s Chapel.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, delivered a blessing during the ceremonial royal funeral service. He is the archbishop that married the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in the same chapel in 2018.
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Mourners were dressed in dark clothing, including Kate Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William, Prince Edward, Viscount Severn, Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor, Sophie Countess of Wessex, Camilla Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Charles during the funeral of Prince Philip.
Aside from honoring Prince Philip’s legacy, the event also drew attention for serving as the first time Harry reunited with the royal family following his and wife Meghan Markle’s bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey. Although they entered the ceremony on opposite ends of the third line of the procession, the brothers fueled speculation that they may be on the path to reconciliation as they were spotted side-by-side while departing the chapel.
The royal family confirmed the Duke of Edinburgh’s death on April 9 in a statement.
“It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen has announced the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle,” the statement reads.
During England’s coronavirus lockdown, he had been staying at Windsor Castle, west of London, with the queen, 94.
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On Feb. 16, Philip was admitted to a London hospital after feeling unwell. On March 3, he underwent a procedure for a pre-existing heart condition at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital before being transferred back to King Edward VII hospital on March 5 and ultimately released home on March 16.
A former naval officer and keen polo player, Philip enjoyed robust health well into old age but had several health issues in recent years.
He was forced to give up driving at the age of 97, after smashing into a car while driving a Land Rover near Sandringham estate in January 2019. Philip needed help to get out of the Land Rover but wasn’t injured. A woman in the other vehicle suffered a broken wrist.
In a rare interview for a television documentary to mark his 90th birthday in June 2011, he said, “I reckon I’ve done my bit. I want to enjoy myself for a bit now. With less responsibility, less rushing about, less preparation, less trying to think of something to say.
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“On top of that, your memory’s going. I can’t remember names. Yes, I’m just sort of winding down.”
He was the second person ever to bear the title “Duke of Edinburgh,” the first being his great-great-uncle, Prince Alfred Ernest Albert. His son, Prince Edward, will now assume the title.
Although he married into the British monarchy, royalty was in Philip’s blood since birth. On June 10, 1921, he was born Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark – the only son of Prince Andrew of Greece and Princess Alice of Battenberg, as well as the great-great-grandson of Queen Victoria.
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Philip’s deep-seated royal roots placed him in the line of succession to the thrones of 16 countries.
Philip became consort when his wife assumed the throne, and at his death was the longest-serving consort in British history.
Fox News’ Stephanie Nolasco contributed to this report.