What we know about Philip’s funeral and the days ahead

Laura Elston, PA Court Reporter
·5-min read

Here is what we have learned from Buckingham Palace ahead of the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral.

– The funeral date

The Duke of Edinburgh’s ceremonial royal funeral will take place on Saturday April 17 at 3pm in St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, Buckingham Palace said.

St George’s Chapel
St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle (Victoria Jones/PA)

It will be a royal ceremonial funeral as expected and will be televised.

– What has been cut out due to the pandemic?

There will be no public element to the funeral. It will take place entirely in the grounds of the castle.

Original long-held plans for military processions through London or Windsor have been scrapped, and the royal family is asking the public not to gather at the castle or other royal residences.

– Guests

Just 30 people will attend, instead of 800 as originally planned.

A full guest list will be announced on Thursday, but it will be formed of the Queen, and the monarch and Philip’s children and grandchildren.

The royal family
The royal family (Toby Melville/PA)

Other relatives might also attend including the Queen’s cousins.

The duke’s private secretary Brigadier Archie Miller Bakewell, who has held the post for 11 years, will also be present.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will not attend to allow for the attendance of as many family members as possible during coronavirus restrictions, No 10 has said.

– Face masks

The Queen and her family will be required to wear face masks, and must socially distance from one another if they are not part of the same household, according to current guidelines.

The Queen at Westminster Abbey
The Queen at Westminster Abbey last year (Aaron Chown/PA

– The Duke and Duchess of Sussex

The pregnant Duchess of Sussex has been advised by her doctor not to travel to the UK for the funeral, but the Duke of Sussex will be attending.

– A minute’s silence

A national minute’s silence will take place at 3pm on Saturday at the start of the funeral.

The country will remain in national mourning until and including the day of the funeral.

– Royal mourning

The Queen and the royal family have entered two weeks of royal mourning, starting from the day of Philip’s death.

Duke of Edinburgh death
Sophie dressed in black after visiting the Queen (Steve Parsons/PA)

Royal mourning will be observed by members of the family and their households, together with troops committed to ceremonial duties.

– Some official engagements will continue

During this period, the royals will continue undertaking engagements appropriate to the circumstances.

Mourning bands will be worn where appropriate.

– Clergy

The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Dean of Windsor will take part in the funeral service.

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby (PA)

– Televised address

It is not yet known whether the Queen will decide to give a televised address in tribute to Philip.

But the Prince of Wales has delivered a moving televised message on behalf of his family to his “dear Papa”, highlighting his “remarkable, devoted service to the Queen”.

– Coffin at rest

The duke’s coffin will remain at rest in the private chapel of Windsor Castle until the day of the funeral.

– The Land Rover procession

Just before the funeral, Philip’s coffin will be moved onto a specially modified Land Rover he helped to design.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh drive in an open Land Rover
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh drive in an open Land Rover through the World Scout Jubilee Jamboree camp in Sutton Park (PA)

It will process slowly through the castle grounds, where military will be present in tribute, followed by heir to the throne Charles and other members of the royal family on foot.

They will be followed by five members of the duke’s household – his private secretary Brigadier Miller Bakewell, Philip’s personal protection officer, and two pages and two valets.

– Details honouring the duke

Philip’s coffin will be draped with his personal standard, and decorated with a wreath of flowers and his Naval cap and sword.

The Duke of Edinburgh in his Naval cap
The Duke of Edinburgh in his Naval cap (Chris Jackson/PA)

The duke’s insignia – medals and decorations conferred on him by the UK and Commonwealth countries; his Field Marshal’s baton; Royal
Air Force Wings; and insignia from Denmark and Greece will be prepositioned on cushions on the altar in St George’s Chapel.

– Order of service

The order of service has yet to be released, but more details of the funeral are expected to be confirmed later in the week.

The Government says on its website that people should avoid singing at funerals because this may increase the risk of airborne transmission of the coronavirus.

– Military involvement

Elements of the Royal Navy, Royal Air Force and the Army will be present during the eight-minute procession in the grounds of Windsor Castle.

The Queen’s Company, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards will carry the coffin to the Land Rover and Royal Marines will carry the coffin up the west steps to the chapel.

Duke of Edinburgh visit to 1 Assault Group Royal Marines
The Duke of Edinburgh, as Captain General of the Royal Marines, during a visit to 1 Assault Group Royal Marines (Andrew Matthews/PA)

On the grass in the Castle’s Quadrangle will be representative detachments drawn from Philip’s military special relationships, and the vehicle will be flanked by pallbearers from the Royal Marines, regiments, corps and air stations.

The Quadrangle will also be lined by the Household Cavalry and The Foot Guards.

Service chiefs including the Chief of the General Staff, Chief of the Naval Staff, Chief of the Air Staff and the Commander of UK Strategic Command will process ahead of the Land Rover.