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Prince Philip laid to rest as somber queen sits alone

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II watches as the coffin of her husband, Prince Philip, is placed inside St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle during his funeral service in Windsor, Britain on April 17, 2021.   | Photo Credit: Reuters

With military bands and a royal procession, Prince Philip was laid to rest on April 17 in a funeral ceremony that honoured his lifetime of service to the country, the crown and his wife, Queen Elizabeth II. The widowed British monarch, setting an example amid the coronavirus pandemic, sat alone at the ceremony.

Philip, who died on April 9 two months shy of his 100th birthday, was honoured at Windsor Castle in a service that was steeped in military and royal tradition — but also was pared down and infused with his own personality.

The entire procession and funeral took place out of public view within the grounds of the castle, a 950-year-old royal residence 30 km west of London, but was shown live on television.

Coronavirus restrictions meant that instead of the 800 mourners expected in the longstanding plans for Philip's funeral, only 30 people were allowed inside the castle's St. George’s Chapel, including the queen, her four children and her eight grandchildren.

Following strict social distancing rules during the pandemic, the queen set an example even in grief, sitting apart from family members arrayed around the church. Other royals who are in family bubbles sat together.

People across Britain observed one minute of silence in honor of Philip just before his royal ceremonial funeral got under way.

The service began with Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby entering the chapel ahead of the coffin, followed by Philip’s children and three of his eight grandchildren, as a four-member choir sang “I am the resurrection and the life.”

The service followed a funeral procession, in which Philip's coffin traveled to the chapel on a specially adapted Land Rover designed by Philip himself for the eight-minute journey to St. George’s Chapel. Philip’s coffin was draped in his personal standard, and topped with his Royal Navy cap and sword and a wreath of flowers.

Senior military commanders lined up in front of the vehicle. The children of Philip and the queen — heir to the throne Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward — walked behind the hearse, while the 94-year-old queen traveled to the chapel in a Bentley car.

Grandsons Prince William and Prince Harry also walked behind the coffin, although not side by side. The brothers, whose relationship has been strained amid Harry’s decision to quit royal duties and move to California, flanked their cousin Peter Phillips, the son of Princess Anne.

For many viewers, the moment stirred memories of the image of William and Harry at 15 and 12, walking behind their mother Princess Diana’s coffin in 1997, accompanied by their grandfather Philip, in a London ceremony televised around the world.

Members of the Royal family follow the coffin of Britain's Prince Philip during the funeral inside Windsor Castle in Windsor, England, Saturday, April 17, 2021.

Members of the Royal family follow the coffin of Britain's Prince Philip during the funeral inside Windsor Castle in Windsor, England, Saturday, April 17, 2021.   | Photo Credit: AP

 

Philip has been interred in the Royal Vault at St. George’s Chapel alongside the remains of 24 other royals, including three kings of England. But it will likely not be his permanent resting place.

The biggest of seven interment sites inside the chapel, the vault houses the remains of King George III, whose almost six-decade reign included the years of the American Revolution. His sons King George IV and King William IV are also buried there.

The vault has also been the temporary resting place for almost 30 royals, including Philip’s mother, Princess Andrew of Greece. Her remains were transferred to the convent on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, where they now lie near her aunt, Grand Duchess Serge of Russia.

King George VI, the father of Queen Elizabeth II, was interred in the Royal Vault for 17 years before his remains were moved to the King George VI Memorial Chapel at St. George’s in 1969. His wife, Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, and daughter Princess Margaret were interred alongside him after they died in 2002.

After the death of Queen Elizabeth II, she and Philip are expected to be buried in the Royal Burial Ground on the Frogmore Estate close to Windsor Castle.

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Printable version | May 6, 2021 8:30:22 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/britons-hold-a-minute-of-silence-in-honour-of-prince-philip/article34345443.ece

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