No eulogy or reading from Royal Family during Prince Philip's funeral

Rebecca Taylor
·Royal Correspondent
·5-min read

Watch: The Queen’s Role in Prince Philip’s Funeral

No members of the Royal Family will give a eulogy or conduct a reading during the funeral for Prince Philip, the order of service has revealed.

It was previously suggested Prince Charles may pay tribute to his father, but the order, released on Friday evening ahead of Saturday's ceremony, shows only members of the clergy will speak during the traditional service.

There was no eulogy at the funeral of the Queen Mother in 2002, nor is it common practice for members of the Royal Family to give them in services.

The service will reflect the duke's "unwavering loyalty" to the Queen and his "courage, fortitude and faith".

There will be no sermon, in line with his wishes.

The service will be led by the Dean of Windsor, Reverend David Connor, with the blessing said by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.

It follows much of the order of the Book of Common Prayer, used by the Church of England, but there have been some adaptations requested by Prince Philip, which will reflect his naval career.

The order of service for the Duke of Edinburgh's funeral service at St George's Chapel, Windsor, on Saturday. (Buckingham Palace)
The order of service for the Duke of Edinburgh's funeral service at St George's Chapel, Windsor, on Saturday. (Buckingham Palace)

Read more: Queen will sit alone at Prince Philip's funeral – and all mourners to wear face masks

His love of the sea and his association with the Royal Navy will be a big part of the ceremony.

Music includes Eternal Father, Strong to Save, a hymn usually associated with seafarers and the maritime armed services. It was also sung at the funeral of Lord Mountbatten in 1979, the duke's beloved uncle who was killed by the IRA in Ireland.

The duke was mentioned in despatches for his service during the war. He was a midshipman aboard HMS Valiant off the southern coast of Greece when he earned his honourable citation.

He gave up a burgeoning naval career in 1952 to be alongside the Queen as she suddenly acceded to the throne following the death of her father.

That devotion to service will be reflected in Saturday's ceremony.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II arrives for a service to mark the centenary of the burial of the Unknown Warrior ahead of Remembrance Sunday at Westminster Abbey in London on November 4, 2020. - In the small private ceremony, The Queen honoured the Unknown Warrior and the Royal Familys own associations with the First World War and the grave at Westminster Abbey. As part of the ceremony, a bouquet of flowers featuring orchids and myrtle - based on Her Majestys own wedding bouquet from 1947 - was placed on the grave of the Unknown Warrior in an act of remembrance. The gesture reflected the custom of Royal bridal bouquets being placed on the grave. (Photo by Aaron Chown / POOL / AFP) (Photo by AARON CHOWN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
The Queen will have to wear a face mask during the service. (AFP)

The Dean of Windsor, in the Bidding, will say: "With grateful hearts, we remember the many ways in which his long life has been a blessing to us.

"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.

"Our lives have been enriched through the challenges that he has set us, the encouragement that he has given us, his kindness, humour and humanity."

The funeral will be attended by just 30 mourners, a dramatic downsizing of the 800 guests it was originally thought would be there, before the service had to be adapted to fit coronavirus restrictions.

The Queen, 94, will have to sit alone, while all mourners will wear face coverings.

Many of the guests will be there without people from their support bubbles or households so there will be many others sat alone, and socially distanced.

Watch: Edward and Sophie view hundreds of flowers for Prince Philip

Read more: The 30 guests confirmed to be attending Prince Philip's funeral

The clergy and choir is not counted in the numbers of mourners. However the choir will consist of just four singers.

The choir will sing while the Royal Family who walked in the procession take their seats.

Three sentences, which consist of one or two Bible verses each, will be said, in line with the traditional funeral service of the Church of England.

The Dean of Windsor will say the bidding, followed by the hymn requested by the duke. 

The Dean will read for the first lesson from the Ecclesiasticus, part of the apocrypha, including the section: "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. By his own action he achieves his end, and by his word all things are held together."

More songs and readings will follow, including Psalm 104, requested by Philip to be set to music. It was first sung for his 75th birthday.

The Dean and the Archbishop will continue with traditional collects and prayers at the end of the service, before the coffin is lowered into the Royal Vault in the chapel.

Britain's Prince Charles, Prince of Wales (L) and Britain's Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall visit the gardens of Marlborough House in London on April 15, 2021, to view the flowers and messages of condolence left by members of the public outside Buckingham Palace, following the April 9 death of Britain's Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. - The Duke of Edinburgh, who died last Friday, will be buried on April 17 at Windsor Castle, west of London, with just 30 mourners, most of them close family. (Photo by Jeremy SELWYN / POOL / AFP) (Photo by JEREMY SELWYN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall visited the gardens of Marlborough House in London to view the flowers and messages of condolence left by members of the public outside Buckingham Palace. (AFP)

Read more: Prince Philip's funeral: How the day will unfold

Closing the service will be a piper playing a lament, a bugler sounding the Last Post and then the action stations.

Action stations is sounded on naval warships to signal all hands must go to battle stations. It has been added to the service at the duke's specific request.

A senior Palace official said: "Action Stations is a naval tradition and it is an announcement that would be made on a naval warship to signify that all hands, all those serving, on that warship should go into battle stations."

A Palace spokesman added: "I think it just goes to show the level of detail that the duke went into around his own funeral service.

"It is a fitting testimony to remind many people who might not realise that the duke saw active service in the Second World War aboard a ship in the Royal Navy."

The official added: "The Last Post bugle call signifies the end of the day’s activities, or, on this occasion, that a soldier has gone to his final rest."

The service will be live on BBC and ITV.