Armed Forces gearing up for Philip’s funeral

PA Reporter
·3-min read

The Armed Forces are stepping up preparations for the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral as senior officers paid tribute to the Queen’s Consort.

Philip’s funeral will feature servicemen and women from the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Army and RAF – alongside top military brass – this Saturday at Windsor Castle.

Hundreds of politicians and peers have shared personal tributes to the duke, as his grandsons hailed him as an “extraordinary man” and a “legend of banter”.

The Duke of Cambridge and Duke of Sussex recalled their grandfather as an individual “authentically himself” filled with warmth and wit and devoted to the monarch, as they joined the nation in honouring his memory.

Armistice Day 2016
The Duke of Edinburgh and Harry at Westminster Abbey’s Field of Remembrance (Eddie Mulholland/The Daily Telegraph)

The Army has tweeted tributes from senior officers and service personnel whose units are associated with the duke and General Sir Tom Beckett, Colonel of the Queen’s Royal Hussars, said Philip had a positive impact on his regiment.

He said: “On behalf of the Queen’s Royal Hussars I send our condolences to Her Majesty the Queen, and to the royal family.

“Secondly, the regiment is mourning for its Colonel-in-Chief, who has been associated with the regiment for almost seven decades and lastly we remember that association and we remember his interest in, and impact on the regiment.”

Soldiers from the Corps of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) are reportedly working to prepare the special Land Rover – that the duke helped design – which will carry his coffin on Saturday.

Lieutenant General Paul Jaques, who served with REME, said about the duke, his unit’s former colonel-in-chief: “He was engaged with us and used to visit us probably once or twice every single year since 1969.

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“And he had an enormous passion for all things engineering. In his own words ‘If it wasn’t invented by God, it was invented by an engineer’.”

In 1953, the year of the Queen’s coronation, Philip was given honorary five-star appointments in all three services, being made an Admiral of the Fleet, British Army Field Marshal and Royal Air Force Marshal.

In 2011, to mark his 90th birthday, the Queen appointed her husband Lord High Admiral of the Royal Navy, the office of titular head of the Navy.

As the Army begins final preparations for ceremonial duties at the funeral, soldiers are being moved to rehearsal areas to ensure they are ready.

While the RAF has posted a tweet about the work young airmen and women from RAF Northolt in west London are doing ahead of Saturday.

Philip’s funeral is likely to attract one of the largest television audiences of the year – though perhaps not the biggest as that honour belongs to the Prime Minister whose televised address on January 4, announcing a new national lockdown, was watched by 25.1 million.