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Prince Philip funeral: Service to pay tribute to duke’s ‘unwavering loyalty’ to Queen

Sam Hancock
·6-min read

The Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral will highlight his “courage, fortitude and faith”, according to details released by Buckingham Palace.

Officials also disclosed that, in keeping with Prince Philip’s wishes, there will be no sermon during the ceremonial royal service.

The Queen’s husband of almost 74 years died on Friday 9 April, aged 99, at Windsor Castle. His funeral will be held at the ground’s chapel, St George’s, on Saturday.

While the funeral would normally have been a state affair, Covid restrictions mean it was significantly pared down.

Other aspects of Prince Philip’s character, such as his long association with the Royal Navy and love of the sea, flood the order of service which Buckingham Palace shared ahead of Saturday’s proceedings.

Music chosen by the duke includes the hymn “Eternal Father, Strong to Save” – traditionally associated with seafarers and the maritime armed services.

The song, written in 1860, was inspired by the dangers of the sea described in Psalm 107, and was sung at the funeral of Prince Philip’s beloved uncle, Earl Mountbatten of Burma, who was murdered by an IRA bomb on his boat in 1979.

Watch: Minute's Silence Observed for Prince Philip Outside Windsor Castle

Meanwhile, as part of the bidding prayer, the dean of Windsor will pay tribute to Prince Philip’s “kindness, humour and humanity”.

“With grateful hearts, we remember the many ways in which his long life has been a blessing to us,” he will say. “We have been inspired by his unwavering loyalty to our Queen, by his service to the Nation and the Commonwealth, by his courage, fortitude and faith.”

The dean will also tell the congregation that “our lives have been enriched through the challenges [Philip] has set us” and “the encouragement that he has given us”.

Despite there being no sermon, the service will feature many religious aspects, including:

  • a psalm which Prince Philip requested should be set to music and which was first sung in honour of his 75th birthday

  • a lesson by the dean of Windsor, which tells of “those who sail the sea tell stories of its dangers, which astonish all who hear them – in it are strange and wonderful creatures, all kinds of living things and huge sea monsters”

  • a jubilate which was written for St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, at Prince Philip’s request

On Friday, the Queen shared one of her favourite pictures of herself with the Duke of Edinburgh on the eve of her husband’s funeral.

The royal couple were pictured as they are rarely seen, relaxing together away from public duties and enjoying the stunning scenery of the Scottish Highlands.

The Queen shared an intimate picture herself relaxing the Duke of Edinburgh on the eve of her husband’s funeralPA
The Queen shared an intimate picture herself relaxing the Duke of Edinburgh on the eve of her husband’s funeralPA

Buckingham Palace also tweeted four images of the Duke of Edinburgh with his family and said: “The Duke of Edinburgh was a loving husband and a devoted father, grandfather and great-grandfather.

“The Queen and The Duke’s enduring marriage has seen them support each other through many years of Royal duties and raising a family together.”

The monarch was photographed on Friday driving in the grounds of Windsor Castle, having been back at work answering calls from General David Hurley, governor-general of Australia, and Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau. It is understood both figures were passing on their condolences.

The Earl and Countess of Wessex were also spotted viewing cards and flowers left by the public outside Windsor Castle, and were said to be touched by the tributes to the duke.

Sophie, Prince Edward’s wife, could be heard saying “how sweet” the displays were, before apparently suggesting there would have been many more if coronavirus restrictions had not been in place. 

Among the flowers were tributes from Boris Johnson, Nicola Sturgeon and the Royal Navy – which the duke served in until 1952, when his wife became Queen. 

Meanwhile, the Archbishop of Canterbury suggested that the Queen will probably refrain from publicly showing emotion atthe funeral, as has been customary in the royal family for generations. 

Justin Welby said the service would be an “anguished moment” for her. “We really have to avoid judging from anything external. She is the Queen. She will behave with the extraordinary dignity and extraordinary courage that she always does,” he told the BBC. 

“She is saying farewell to someone to whom she was married for 73 years. I think that must be a very, very profound thing in anybody’s life.”

A detailed timeline of the schedule for the funeral service was released on Thursday:

11am: The coffin, which will be covered with Prince Philip’s personal standard along with his sword, naval cap and a wreath of flowers, will be moved from the private chapel to the inner hall of Windsor Castle.

2pm: The lord chamberlain, the constable and governor of Windsor Castle and the dean of Windsor will be present in the inner hall.

2.10pm: The dean will say prayers before leaving by car to St George’s Chapel.

By 2.15pm: Representatives from the services are in place in the quadrangle to show Prince Philip’s special military relationships. The area will also be lined by the Household Cavalry and The Foot Guards.

2.17pm: The band of the Grenadier Guards will be in Engine Court.

Between 2.20pm and 2.27pm: Members of the royal family and Prince Philip’s relatives who are not taking part in the procession will leave Windsor Castle and make their way to the chapel.

2.27pm: The Land Rover on which the coffin will be placed enters the quadrangle while bands at the site begin to play music.

2.38pm: The coffin is lifted in the inner hall.

2.40pm: Members of Prince Philip’s household take up their positions in the procession and the bands stop playing music.

2.41pm: The coffin emerges from the state entrance and is met by members of the royal family who are walking in the procession. A royal salute is given and the coffin is placed on the Land Rover.

2.44pm: The Queen, accompanied by a lady-in-waiting, leaves from the sovereign’s entrance in the state Bentley as the national anthem is played.

2.45pm: The procession, which is planned to take eight minutes, sets off.

The firing of minute guns by The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery and the sound of the curfew tower bell will sound as members of the royal family who are already at St George’s Chapel stand to view the procession. 

The Queen will be received by the dean of Windsor who will show the mourners at the service to their seats.

2.53pm: The Land Rover arrives at the foot of the west steps of the chapel. A Royal Navy piping party will sound once the Land Rover stops and the pallbearers take their positions.

The coffin will be carried up the steps and halt on the second landing as members of the royal family take their positions on the steps.

3pm: The national minute’s silence, signalled by a gun fired by The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery, takes place.

After the minute’s silence, the coffin is placed on the catafalque in the quire and members of the royal family who have walked in the procession will take their places for the service, which is set to last 50 minutes and will be conducted by the dean of Windsor.

By 4pm: After the service, the Queen and members of the royal family and Prince Philip’s relatives will leave the chapel via the Galilee porch.

Watch: Prince Philip Funeral: Royal Procession Behind Duke's Coffin

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