© Reuters. Final preparations underway for Prince Philip’s funeral
By Andrew MacAskill and Guy Faulconbridge
WINDSOR, England (Reuters) – Prince Philip began his final trip on Saturday, his casket carried on a specially modified Land Rover hearse, followed by a procession of royals including Prince Charles and Princes William on foot and Harry.
Queen Elizabeth followed the procession into Bentley State as the casket, carried on the bespoke Defender TD 130 in military green, made its way to Philip’s funeral at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle.
Charles and Princess Anne followed the coffin on foot, followed by their brothers Edward and Andrew. Behind them were Charles’ two sons, William and Harry, evoking memories of Diana’s funeral in 1997 as they walked like mourning boys behind their mother’s coffin.
Philip, officially known as the Duke of Edinburgh, died at the age of 99 on April 9.
His naval cap and sword rested on the coffin, which was covered with the personal standard of the Duke of Edinburgh with the Danish coat of arms, the Greek cross, Edinburgh Castle and the stripes of the Mountbatten family.
The Grenadier Guards fanfare led the procession, followed by the military leaders. The casket will pause for the national minute of silence at 3 p.m. (2 p.m. GMT). A pistol fired from the East Lawn will signify the beginning and the end of this.
Before the coffin emerged from the castle, military bands dispersed across the quadrangle under a blazing sun to play music chosen by the prince, including “I promise you my country”, “Jerusalem” and “Nimrod” .
In the service, which begins at 3 p.m. (2 p.m. GMT), the 94-year-old queen will be alone due to COVID-19 restrictions as her husband’s coffin is lowered into the royal vault of the old chapel.
Philip, who married Elizabeth in 1947, helped the young queen adapt the monarchy to the changing post-WWII world as the loss of empire and the decline of deference challenged the greatest challenge. royal family of the world.
She is now a widow as she grapples with one of the most serious crises to hit the royal family in decades – allegations of racism and neglect by her grandson Harry and his wife Meghan, born in the United States.
ATTENTION ON HARRY
Much of the media attention will be focused on the Royal Family’s behavior towards Harry as he makes his first public appearance with the family since the couple gave an explosive interview to Oprah Winfrey last month.
In the interview, they accused an anonymous royal of making a racist comment and said Meghan’s calls for help when she felt suicidal had been ignored.
The couple, who moved to Los Angeles and stepped down from royal duties last year, opened up about their perceptions of family attitudes in what amounted to a critique of the old-fashioned customs of an old institution.
Meghan said she was silenced by “the cabinet” while Harry said her father Charles refused to take her calls. Harry said Charles and his brother William were trapped in the royal family.
Meghan will attend the funeral at her home in California after being told by her doctor not to travel during her pregnancy, a source familiar with the situation said.
Mourners will avoid the tradition of wearing military uniforms, a step which newspapers said was to avoid embarrassment to Harry, who despite having made two tours of Afghanistan during his career military, is not allowed to wear a uniform because he has been stripped of his honorary military titles. .
“We’re not going to be drawn into these perceptions of the drama, or anything like that,” a Buckingham Palace spokesperson said. “It’s a funeral. The arrangements have been made, and they represent Her Majesty’s wishes.”
Prince Andrew, who resigned from public office in 2019 amid controversy surrounding what he called his “misjudged” association with late US financier Jeffrey Epstein, had wanted to wear an admiral’s uniform at the funeral, British media reported.
The palace stressed that while the occasion will have the pageantry that marks the death of a former royal, it remains an opportunity for a grieving family to mark the death of a husband, a father, a great -father and a great-grandfather.
There will only be 30 mourners inside the chapel for the service due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Archbishop Welby, leader of the Anglican World Communion, said he expected the funeral to resonate with the millions of people around the world who have lost loved ones during the pandemic.
Philip’s dedication to his duty earned him great popularity in Britain, but he was also criticized by some for a number of racist or blunt comments which shocked princes, priests and presidents.
“He was authentically himself, with a very sharp mind, and could hold the attention of any room because of his charm and also because you never knew what he might say next,” Harry said to About his grandfather.
British TV stations have cleared their schedules to show the funeral and millions have to watch, although there have been more than 100,000 complaints to the British Broadcasting Corporation for its general coverage since Philip’s death.
Philip was a decorated Royal Navy veteran of World War II and his funeral, much of which was planned in great detail by the prince himself, will have a strong military impression, with personnel from all armed forces playing leading roles.