Why the Queen sat alone at Prince Philip's funeral

Camilla Tominey
·4-min read
Her Majesty was seated alone at the front of the quire, on the south side of the chapel, where only three years ago she and Prince Philip watched Prince Harry marry Meghan Markle. She was in the same spot for Princess Eugenie’s wedding to Jack Brooksbank three months later in October 2018. - Jonathan Brady/Telegraph
Her Majesty was seated alone at the front of the quire, on the south side of the chapel, where only three years ago she and Prince Philip watched Prince Harry marry Meghan Markle. She was in the same spot for Princess Eugenie’s wedding to Jack Brooksbank three months later in October 2018. - Jonathan Brady/Telegraph

The Queen was seated two metres apart from her loved ones on Saturday as just 30 members of the Royal family attended the Duke of Edinburgh’s Covid-complaint funeral.

Buckingham Palace said the 94-year-old monarch had faced “difficult decisions” over who to invite to the 3pm ceremony at St George’s Chapel and the seating plan reflected a strict adherence to the Government’s coronavirus rules on indoor worship.

Her Majesty was seated alone at the front of the quire, on the south side of the chapel, where only three years ago she and Prince Philip watched Prince Harry marry Meghan Markle. She was in the same spot for Princess Eugenie’s wedding to Jack Brooksbank three months later in October 2018.

The sovereign was joined on the south side of the quire by the Duke of York, 61, the Princess Royal, 70, and her husband Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, 66, along with the Duke of Sussex.

Only royals who live together were allowed to sit together in the 15th century church.

The Prince of Wales, 72, and the Duchess of Cornwall, 73, sat directly opposite the Queen in front of Princess Beatrice, 32, and her husband Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, 39, on the north side of the chapel.

The Earl, 57, and Countess of Wessex, 56, flanked by their children, Lady Louise Windsor, 17, and James Viscount Severn, 13, also sat on that side of the quire along with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Eugenie and Jack sat behind the Wessexes while Mike and Zara Tindall were seated behind William and Kate, 39.

The Queen’s cousins the Duke of Gloucester, 76, the Duke of Kent, 85, and Princess Alexandra, 84, the Honorable Lady Ogilvy, were seated further back on the south side of the chapel along with the Countess Mountbatten of Burma.

It was suggested that the Countess was attending on behalf of her husband, the Earl of Mountbatten of Burma, who is unwell and unable to be present. The Earl is the grandson of Admiral of the Fleet Lord Louis Mountbatten, the Duke's uncle.

Also known as Penny Romsey, later Lady Brabourne, the Countess, 68, was Philip’s carriage driving partner and one of his closest confidantes.

Picture 256146736 17/04/2021 at 06:02 Owner : AP FILE - In this Tuesday Oct. 25, 2005, file photo, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, right, Prince Philip, centre, and the King Harald V, of Norway view an exhibition of Norwegian items from the Royal Collection in the Picture Gallery at Buckingham Palace in London. Prince Philip's life spanned just under an entire century of European history. His genealogy was just as broad, with Britain's longest-serving consort linked by blood and marriage to most of the continent's royal houses. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File) - Matt Dunham/AP Photo
Picture 256146736 17/04/2021 at 06:02 Owner : AP FILE - In this Tuesday Oct. 25, 2005, file photo, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, right, Prince Philip, centre, and the King Harald V, of Norway view an exhibition of Norwegian items from the Royal Collection in the Picture Gallery at Buckingham Palace in London. Prince Philip's life spanned just under an entire century of European history. His genealogy was just as broad, with Britain's longest-serving consort linked by blood and marriage to most of the continent's royal houses. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File) - Matt Dunham/AP Photo

Three of the Duke’s German relatives were also invited at his request. Prince Donatus, the Landgrave of Hesse, 54, who was Philip’s second cousin by marriage, was seated in front of the Countess of Burma.

Opposite him, on the north side of the quire, were seated the Duke’s great nephews, Prince Bernhard, the Hereditary Prince of Baden, 50, and Prince Philipp, the Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, 51.

The three men had spent the past five days quarantining together at a house in nearby Ascot.

The Duke insisted that they be present at his funeral after his “blood” relatives were banned from his wedding in 1947, with anti-German sentiment still running high after the end of the Second World War.

Undated file photo of the Duke of Edinburgh as Commander of the Frigate HMS Magpie in 1951. The Duke of Edinburgh has died, Buckingham Palace has announced. Issue date: Friday April 9, 2020.. - PA Wire
Undated file photo of the Duke of Edinburgh as Commander of the Frigate HMS Magpie in 1951. The Duke of Edinburgh has died, Buckingham Palace has announced. Issue date: Friday April 9, 2020.. - PA Wire

The Queen’s eldest grandson, Peter Phillips, 43, who walked between William, 38, and Harry, 36, in the eight-minute funeral procession amid ongoing tensions between the royal brothers, joined her nephew the Earl of Snowdon, 59, the son of the late Princess Margaret at the back of the north side of the quire.

The Earl’s sister Lady Sarah Chatto, 56, and her husband Daniel, 63, were seated two metres away.

All of the congregation, including the Queen, wore black face masks throughout the 50-minute service.

They were not able to sing the only hymn, Eternal Father, Strong to Save, which includes the line: “For this in peril on the sea”, which was performed by a four-strong chapel choir along with three songs personally chosen by the Duke.

A Buckingham Palace spokesman confirmed that the Queen had not only approved the final guest list but also the seating plan.