The Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral Saturday will be a muted affair by royal standards but will showcase his military roots and influence on the British monarchy.
The ceremony will take place in St. George’s Chapel in the grounds of Windsor Castle at 3:00pm. Many will remember it as the setting of more jubilant royal moments, like the 2018 weddings of Meghan Markle to Prince Harry and Princess Eugenie to Jack Brooksbank.
But unlike those events, there will be no crowds. Like many other occasions this past year, Philip’s funeral has been heavily adapted because of coronavirus.
A list of 30-person congregation rule puts a tight limit on who else will attend.
Prince Philip never wanted a state funeral, usually reserved for monarchs and made that clear to the Lord Chamberlain’s Office, which has organized the event. It will, instead, be a level below as was granted to the Queen Mother in 2002 and Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997.
Philip’s coffin has been lying in the private chapel at Windsor Castle. On Saturday morning, it will be moved to the Inner Hall, where the Dean of Windsor will say a prayer over it before the day’s events begin.
At 2:41pm his coffin will be brought by bearers from The Queen’s Company, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards to the state entrance. His sword and naval cap will be placed on top, along with a wreath of flowers.
At 2:45pm the procession will leave the quadrangle, led by the Band of the Grenadier Guards regiment of which Philip was colonel for 42 years.
The coffin will be carried the short distance to the chapel on a modified Land Rove, which Philip helped design and flanked by pall bearers highlighting his relationships with the Royal Marines, Regiments, Corps and Air Stations. Philip, a war hero decorated for his service in World War II, gave up a flourishing naval career to dedicate himself to his royal duties.
Prince Charles and other members of the royal family will trail the Land Rover on foot, while staff from Philip’s household bring up the rear. William and Harry will walk in the same row, but separated by first cousin Peter Philips.
The Queen, accompanied by a lady-in-waiting, will travel to the chapel in a state Bentley.
Family members who are not involved in the procession, such as the Duchess of Cornwall and Duchess of Cambridge, will join the 94-year-old monarch to watch the funeral parade outside the chapel’s Galilee porch. This also includes the Duke’s German relatives who will be in attendance, including his great nephews, the Hereditary Prince of Baden and the Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg.
In a break with tradition, royals in the procession will not wear military uniform and will instead wear morning coats with medals.
At 2:53pm the procession will come to an end at the foot of the West Steps of St. George’s Chapel.
At 3:00pm a national minute of silence will be held before the coffin continues up the steps and is met by the Dean of Windsor and the Archbishop of Canterbury at the top. The archbishop will lead the service.
In keeping with public health rules, the congregation will wear masks during the 50-minute service.
A four-person choir seated away from mourners in the nave will sing a selection of music picked by the duke.
The Dean will give the commendation as the coffin is lowered into the Royal Vault, where many members of the royal family have been laid to rest. The vault, set beneath the chapel, was built by George III, who is one of several kings buried within.
However, it will not be Philip’s final resting place. When the Queen dies, he will be reunited with his wife of 73 years and transferred to the King George VI memorial chapel lie next to her. Buried in the vault already are the Queen’s father, her mother Elizabeth and sister Margaret.