Philip, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth’s husband who had been by her side during her record-breaking 69-year reign, died on Friday at Windsor Castle.
“As you can imagine, my family and I miss my father enormously,” Charles, the couple’s eldest son and heir to the throne, said outside his Highgrove House home in west England.
“My dear papa was a very special person who I think above all else would have been amazed by the reaction and the touching things that have been said about him and from that point of view we are, my family, deeply grateful for all that. It will sustain us in this particular loss and at this particularly sad time.”
Buckingham Palace revealed that Philip’s funeral would take place on April 17, and that the queen’s grandson, Prince Harry, who had become alienated from the family since moving to the United States with his wife Meghan, would attend.
Meghan, who is expecting their second child, will not attend due to medical advice, according to the palace.
According to the palace, long-established funeral arrangements had to be redrawn and scaled down due to COVID-19 constraints, but they remained very much in line with Philip’s wishes.
Philip, who was officially known as the Duke of Edinburgh, will be given a ceremonial royal funeral, not a state funeral, as planned before the pandemic. But there will be no public processions, and it will be held entirely within the grounds of Windsor Castle and limited to 30 mourners.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will not be among the guests in order to make space for as many family members as possible, his office said.
FUNERAL AT WINDSOR
“The occasion will still celebrate and recognise the Duke’s life and his more than 70 years of service to the queen, the UK and the Commonwealth,” a palace spokesman said.
The funeral, which will be broadcast on live television, will be held at the castle’s St George’s Chapel and will be preceded by a minute’s silence across the country.
Charles and other members of the royal family will walk behind a specially-modified Land Rover, which Philip helped design. At the conclusion of the service, Philip will be interred in the Royal Vault.
Exact details of who will attending were not released, but among those present will be Harry, the Duke of Sussex, whose explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey alongside Meghan last month plunged the royal family into its greatest crisis in decades.
During the interview, Meghan said her pleas for help while she felt suicidal were ignored and that one unnamed member of the family had asked how dark their unborn child’s skin might be. Harry also bemoaned his family’s reaction to their decision to step back from official duties and move to Los Angeles.
“The Duke of Sussex is planning to attend,” the palace spokesman said. “The Duchess of Sussex has been advised by her physician not to travel. So the Duke will be attending.”
Buckingham Palace stressed the service would be held in line with government coronavirus guidelines, meaning members of the royal family, including the queen, would be expected to wear a mask.
‘QUEEN HAS BEEN AMAZING’
Tributes for Philip, who was a pillar of support for the queen, also poured in from all over the country and from world leaders. She is the world’s eldest and longest-reigning queen, at the age of 94.
Philip was a decorated World War II sailor, and the armed forces saluted him with artillery salutes from units in London, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Belfast, and Gibraltar, as well as several navy warships firing their cannons.
Despite the royal family’s request that the public follow social distancing guidelines and stop visiting its homes, people always left cards and bouquets outside Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace.
“It’s not something I’ve ever done before,” said Joanna Reesby, 60, who came to pay her respects at Buckingham Palace. “I brought yellow roses for friendship because I think that’s what he exhibited to everyone who came into his world.”
The queen has lost her closest confidante. They had been married for 73 years and Philip would have turned 100 in June. Members of the family visited the grieving monarch at Windsor Castle.
“The queen has been amazing,” said a tearful Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, as she left with her husband Prince Edward, the youngest son of Elizabeth and Philip.
On its official Twitter feed, the royal family put up a tribute paid by the queen to her husband on their 50th wedding anniversary in 1997.
“He has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years, and I, and his whole family, and this and many other countries, owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim, or we shall ever know,” she said.
While Philip’s charm and disinclination to tolerate those he regarded as foolish or sycophantic earned him the respect of some Britons, many others found his sometimes brusque demeanour rude and aloof. He was fond of off-the-cuff remarks that were sometimes deemed racist and offensive.
Flags at Buckingham Palace and government buildings around the country have been reduced to half-mast, and billboard operators have replaced advertisements with photos and tributes to the prince. Silences were noted at sporting competitions in his honour.
Philip, a Greek prince, married Elizabeth in 1947 and broke the news of her father’s death five years later while on a visit to Kenya, making her queen at the age of 25.
He went on to play an important role in assisting the kingdom in adapting to a changing world in the post-World War II era, as well as supporting the queen as the monarchy endured various crises over the years. In 2017, he officially retired from public service.