Queen’s funeral preparations for Philip revealed

 

The Queen will wear a face mask at Prince Philip's funeral as he is laid to rest in a traditional oak coffin.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, 94, and other royals will not be exempt from COVID-19 restrictions as her beloved husband is buried on Saturday with just 30 mourners present.

The Duke of Edinburgh, who passed away aged 99, is being laid to rest in St George's Chapel in Windsor.

Unusually, Philip's coffin will be carried from Windsor Castle in the back of an open-top Land Rover he helped develop with the Army.

But in keeping with royal tradition, the casket is made from English oak and lined with lead, The Sun reports.

It is being supplied by the royal family's undertakers, Leverton & Sons, which date back to the 18th Century.

 

The coffin was made alongside one for the Queen but no one knows how old it is as the company inherited them in 1991.

Director Andrew Leverton said: "It is not something you can just make in a day, or a few hours.

"It was felt that it was important to have it available."

The coffins use lead as a lining to keep moisture out and preserve the body longer.

Although Philip will one day be buried with the Queen in the memorial chapel in Frogmore Gardens, his body will lie in the Royal Vault until the tragic day comes.

 

His funeral will be different to any other royal's after the coronavirus pandemic made the family strip back all tradition.

In a difficult decision, the Queen has had to restrict who will attend Philip's funeral.

Coronavirus restrictions mean there can only be 30 mourners at the ceremony instead of the 800 originally planned.

The Times reported that some of the Queen's cousins, including members of the family who were close to Prince Philip, will be unlikely to attend.

The Duke and Duchess of Kent, Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and Princess Alexandra are unlikely to be there.

Prince William and Harry, who arrived back in the UK two days ago for the funeral, and other senior royals will follow the Land Rover on foot.

The Queen will not take part in the procession from Windsor Castle.

A minute's silence will be held across the nation at 3pm to remember Philip's 70-plus years of service.

 

Buckingham Palace will release full details of the service and guest list on Thursday.

A spokesman has insisted the pared-back event is in keeping with the personal wishes of no-fuss Philip.

"This event will be much reduced in scale with no public access. In line with Government guidelines and public health measures, there will be no public processions and the Duke's funeral will take place entirely within the grounds of Windsor Castle," said the spokesman.

"The plans have been given final approval by the Queen and reflect appropriately Government advice. Despite these necessary changes, they still very much reflect the personal wishes of the Duke."

 

WILLIAM AND HARRY TENSIONS COULD OVERSHADOW FUNERAL

 

The tensions between Prince Harry and Prince William are threatening to overshadow the funeral of their beloved grandfather.

As the royal family rallies around the Queen, there were concerns that the battling brothers may detract from the memorial to Prince Philip on Saturday.

It was revealed the Queen, 94, would be supported by a senior member of the Royal Family - most likely Prince Charles - when she resumes public engagements next month, to ensure she doesn't 'walk alone'.

 

However, there was pressure on her grandchildren to set aside their differences, at least for the funeral.

Royal watchers noted that Prince Harry got personal instead of using American-style corporate speak in his touching statement to his grandfather, while Prince William said the duke would want them to get on with the job.

However, the contrasting statements highlighted how far apart the feuding brothers remain. "The differences will not be easily resolved by a single encounter at the wake," respected royal author Robert Lacey said.

 

Prince Harry has been holed up at Frogmore Cottage in the grounds of Windsor Castle, the home he paid $5 million to renovate with his Netflix deal cash.

He arrived on Sunday and was isolating under coronavirus rules.

Prince Harry was yet to see Prince William, who is at his country estate Anmer Hall in Norfolk, about two and half hours drive north of London.

The breakdown in the relationship between Prince Harry, 36, and Prince William, 38, has threatened to eclipse the funeral for Prince Philip on Saturday.

The duke, who died aged 99, will be honoured by the brothers as they walk behind his coffin in the funeral march to St George's Chapel.

 

 

The pair released statements within 30 minutes of each other late on Monday Australian time, whereas in better times they may have put out a joint tribute.

Prince Harry spoke of his grandfather warmly as a "legend of banter" and "master of the barbecue" in a personal tone absent from his previous missives from America, believed to have been shaped by his wife Meghan's public relations team.

Prince William's statement contained the line: "Catherine and I will continue to do what he would have wanted and will support the Queen in the years ahead. I will miss my Grandpa, but I know he would want us to get on with the job."

That jab was seen as a line in the sand to Prince Harry, who stepped back from royal duties in March 2020, and then blasted the Royal Family as racist in an awkward interview with Oprah Winfrey last month.

Lacey, who wrote the book Battle of Brothers about Prince William and Harry's strained relationship released last year, said it was a "sting in the tail".

"I feel quite sure that William's final words carried a message for his brother - I am only surprised that the message should be so strong and obvious," the historical consultant to Netflix's The Crown series told The Times.

 

"It suggests to me that the differences between the brothers will not be easily resolved by a single encounter at the wake."

Prince Harry, who has travelled to Britain alone, showed more of his personality in his statement.

"It sounded like the old Prince Harry we knew is back. It was clearly him speaking," royal expert Penny Junor told The Sun.

"So much of what we have seen in the last year has been absolute gobbledygook."

Prince Harry ended his statement with the Latin motto of the Royal Marines, Per Mare, Per Terram - in a sign of his respect for the duke who held the role as Captain for 64 years.

Prince Harry inherited that role from Prince Philip but was stripped of it as part of Megxit.

He will not be allowed to wear his military uniform at the funeral but the Afghanistan War veteran will be able to display his medals.

 

 

Security has been increased around Windsor Castle ahead of the memorial, as it emerged that Prince Philip had warned a former Archbishop of Canterbury that the sermon must be short - no more than eight minutes.

Prince Charles, 72, was expected to give a eulogy, as he takes an increasing role within the family.

He will likely accompany the Queen when she opens British parliament on May 11 - a significant event in the political and royal year.

The Queen went solo to her first engagement of 2021, which was to honour the centenary of the Royal Australian Air Force at service at Runnymede, near Windsor, last month.

However, it was reported that since the death of Prince Philip, which the Queen has described as leaving a "huge void" in her life, she will be accompanied by other senior royals on future engagements.

stephen.drill@news.co.uk

Originally published as Queen's funeral preparations for Philip revealed



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