Prince Philip dead: Queen to enter ‘eight days of mourning’

How Prince Philip’s funeral will be held  

There will be no lying in state and no state funeral for Philip, in accordance with his wishes.

His ceremonial royal funeral and burial are expected to take place in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. 

Buckingham Palace will confirm the arrangements for the duke’s funeral in the next day or so. Philip helped draw up the details himself and was determined there should be a minimum of fuss.

Members of the public usually leave flowers at the gates of Buckingham Palace, but stay at home advice means people are forbidden from going out unless necessary.

At some point, there will be gun salutes in the duke’s honour – if the military are able to facilitate this. Union flags on royal buildings where the monarch is not in residence will fly at half-mast. 

The Queen has to decide whether the royal family enters Court Mourning – dressing in black and using black-edged writing paper – or the alternative, shorter Family Mourning – dressing in black – and how long this will last.

Some official engagements may continue, but social engagements – all on hold anyway because of the pandemic – are usually cancelled after the death of a senior member of the royal family unless in aid of charity.

The Government decides on the length of any National Mourning. A nationwide two-minute silence could take place, as it did for the Queen Mother on the day of her funeral.

Parliament is likely to honour the duke, with politicians gathering for special sessions in both the Commons and the Lords.

But arrangements will depend on what the Government is advising in terms of MPs socially distancing in Parliament. 

The Queen may record a televised speech in tribute to her husband, just as she did for the Queen Mother in 2002, but it will depend on how she is feeling.

The rest of Philip’s family are likely to release their own statements about the royal patriarch. 

Traditionally, the duke’s coffin would have been moved to the Chapel Royal at St James’s Palace to remain at rest for several days, but this is unlikely to be necessary if there is no longer a London element to the plans.

The monarch and the royal family will pay their respects in private, as will household staff.

Philip’s children are likely to hold a private vigil at some stage around the coffin if restrictions permit. A military involvement is expected to take place within the grounds of Windsor Castle. 

The duke’s coffin will not lie in state and the funeral will not be a state one; instead it is set to be a ceremonial royal funeral.

The duke’s funeral is expected to take place at Windsor Castle’s St George’s Chapel eight days after his death. 

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Straight to the point in death as in life, the Duke of Edinburgh always insisted he wanted a funeral with minimal fuss.

His wish for what is known as a ‘royal ceremonial funeral’ similar to the Queen Mother’s – rather than a full state funeral – had already been granted.

But the pandemic will have a major impact upon those plans. Last night, the Queen and her senior officials were discussing how best to proceed.

With final approval down to Her Majesty, a decision is likely to be announced today.

Sources say it is almost certain, however, that any aspect of the arrangements likely to draw a crowd will not take place, meaning the ceremonial aspects will be limited and mourners will number no more than 30.

Under the previous plans – known in the royal household as ‘Forth Bridge’ – his body would have been embalmed immediately and taken to the Albert Memorial Chapel by St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.

The Mail understands that Philip’s coffin was last night at the castle, where the Queen is in residence, most probably resting in her private chapel of worship.

But over the weekend it is likely be moved to the Albert Memorial Chapel, which was built by Henry VII as a royal mausoleum. Philip’s coffin is likely to lie there with little ceremony – resting on two simple wooden platforms called catafalques.

Under pre-Covid plans, it would have been brought to London today by road and taken to St James’s Palace to reside temporarily in the intimate Chapel Royal.

The College of Arms said yesterday there will be no lying-in-state and Philip’s coffin would lie at rest at Windsor Castle ahead of his funeral in St George’ Chapel, most likely next Saturday.

It is likely to have been draped with his personal standard – which bears references to his Danish and Greek royal heritage, his Mountbatten roots and Edinburgh title – and a floral wreath from his family.

A vigil by his children – Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward – is likely to take place at Windsor.

On the day of his funeral, Philip’s coffin is expected to be carried by bearers from the Queen’s Company, First Battalion Grenadier Guards. 

The duke will be placed on a gun carriage belonging to the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery, drawn by a Royal Navy gun crew. The carriage – a personal request by Philip – is the one that carried Queen Victoria at her funeral in 1901. 

A planned cortege through Windsor is now unlikely to take place. But inside Windsor Castle, events are likely to be largely the same, but with fewer mourners.

The coffin will be met by a guard of honour from The Rifles and a band in Horseshoe Cloister, surrounded by houses built in the 15th century for the chapel’s ‘singing men’. 

Twelve singers known as lay clerks still live there, and they will perform during the service, with a bell tolling throughout.

On the grass south of the West Gate will be Royal Navy pipers.

A bearer party of Royal Marines will carry the coffin into St George’s Chapel via the West Steps, lined by the Household Cavalry, where the Dean of Windsor and the Archbishop of Canterbury will wait. 

The coffin will be taken into the Quire – the resting place of most of the monarchs buried at the chapel. Inside or under the Quire are Edward VII, Henry VI, Edward IV, George III, George IV and William IV, Henry VIII and Charles I.

Philip’s catafalque will be placed on a black marble slab, which is the entrance to the Royal Vault.

The hymns requested by the prince are believed to include his favourite seafarer’s anthem, For Those In Peril On The Sea. At the end of the service a Psalm and the ‘ashes to ashes’ text will be read as a piper plays a lament. 

The coffin will be lowered into the Royal Vault and will remain there until the Queen dies and they are buried together in the memorial chapel.

The day after the funeral, flags will be brought back to full mast, although the Court will remain in mourning for three more weeks.

Buckingham Palace said in a statement: ‘During the coronavirus pandemic, and in light of current government advice and social distancing guidelines, modified funeral and ceremonial arrangements for His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh are being considered by Her Majesty The Queen. Details will be confirmed in due course.’ 

The Queen has entered an eight-day period of mourning following the death of her husband today aged 99 – as arrangements for his funeral, codenamed Operation Forth Bridge, have begun.   

Prince Philip’s funeral plans were drawn up by the Duke himself and see him lie at rest in Windsor before the ceremony

The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh at Windsor Great Park in June 2018, during the polo at the Guards Polo Club

The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh at Windsor Great Park in June 2018, during the polo at the Guards Polo Club

The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh at Windsor Great Park in June 2018, during the polo at the Guards Polo Club

Prince Philip is expected to be buried in Frogmore Gardens in the grounds of Windsor Castle, the site of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert's mausoleum (pictured)

Prince Philip is expected to be buried in Frogmore Gardens in the grounds of Windsor Castle, the site of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert's mausoleum (pictured)

Prince Philip is expected to be buried in Frogmore Gardens in the grounds of Windsor Castle, the site of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s mausoleum (pictured) 

Who will attend Philip’s funeral under 30-person Covid rule?

The question of who will be allowed to attend the ceremony for the funeral of Prince Philip is made more difficult due to Covid-19 restrictions. 

Under lockdown guidelines in England, a maximum of 30 people are permitted to attend a funeral, in addition to the clergy.

Eight senior royals are said to be within the ‘firm of eight’ chosen to represent the family, and look certain to be there on the day.

They are William and Kate, Prince Edward, the Countess of Wessex, the Prince of Wales and Camilla, The Queen herself and Princess Anne. Between the principals they have five children who may also attend.

But there are a number of other Royals who would be keen to pay their respects including Prince Andrew, Prince Harry, his wife the Duchess of Sussex, The Duchess of York, as well as Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice and their husbands. 

Others who may attend include friends and heads of Commonwealth countries. 

The funeral was originally planned to have 800 in attendance. 

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Royal fans have been told not to attend any part of the events that make up the funeral due to Covid restrictions.

They have also been asked not to lay flowers that could encourage crowds which may spread the coronavirus. 

The number of people wanting to pay tribute to the Duke could present difficulties for police forces due to England’s ban on gatherings of more than six people or two households.

Buckingham Palace instead invited well-wishers to sign a book of condolences – but only online, to avoid crowds and queues. 

Police officers on horses stopped crowds forming in front of a sign announcing his death on the railings of the palace today.

During the eight days of mourning The Queen will not carry out any duties even in private under Covid restrictions, laws will not be given the Royal Assent and affairs of state will also be paused.

Following these eight days, a further period of official Royal Mourning is expected to continue for 30 days. 

Scores of people will be involved in the days ahead, from military guards and the clergy, to staff at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, who will be making sure the household continues to run smoothly during this traumatic time for the Queen. 

The Queen and her children and grandchildren will enter a period of mourning for their patriarch, which could last several weeks.

Official engagements, most of which are presently online, can continue during this time, although most are postponed or cancelled, but it depends on the wishes of the monarch.

In non-pandemic times, social engagements would usually be cancelled, except those for charitable causes. 

There are various types of mourning, but Royal – also known as Court – Mourning, includes the royal family, royal households and the Queen’s representatives in the UK and abroad wearing black and also using black-edged writing paper. 

Most of Britain’s monarchs are buried in Westminster Abbey and St George’s Chapel, but both Queen Victoria and Prince Albert are in a mausoleum in Frogmore Gardens. 

After her husband’s death, Victoria lived largely in isolation at Balmoral until she died on January 22, 1901. Her 40 years of mourning severely damaged the monarchy.

Following the Duke’s death, Union flags will fly at half-mast around Britain, but Philip will not lie in state and there will be no state funeral.

The Lord Chamberlain, the most senior officer of the royal household, will be in charge of arrangements. 

The Queen and Philip at Windsor Castle in October 2018 after Princess Eugenie's wedding

The Queen and Philip at Windsor Castle in October 2018 after Princess Eugenie's wedding

The Queen and Philip at Windsor Castle in October 2018 after Princess Eugenie’s wedding

Operation Forth Bridge 

The Duke’s funeral arrangements are codenamed Forth Bridge, after the Scottish landmark and Unesco World Heritage Site.

The railway bridge, crossing the Forth Estuary in Scotland, which opened in 1890, remains one of the greatest cantilever trussed bridges.

Plans for the aftermath of the duke’s death have been in place for many years, and were updated and reviewed regularly by Buckingham Palace staff in consultation with the Queen and Philip.

Complicated by the coronavirus pandemic, Forth Bridge has been adjusted to take account of the crisis. The Royal Households have a long history of making detailed plans for royal funerals.

Arrangements for the Queen Mother’s – codenamed Tay Bridge – were 22 years old by the time she died at the age of 101. London Bridge is the codename for the Queen’s funeral plans.

In 2004, thieves broke into a car which belonged to a palace press officer at a motorway service station and made off with a briefcase which contained the secret plans regarding the Queen .

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The Queen is also expected to broadcast a televised message to the nation at some stage over the next few days, although this is dependent on how she feels.

In normal times, there would be early morning rehearsals over the next week for a gun carriage and procession through the streets of London, and another in Windsor.

The day before his funeral, the coffin would be moved across the road from Chapel Royal to the Queen’s Chapel to allow an easier transfer to the gun carriage.

The funeral itself would be held in Windsor, while a military procession would take place from St James’s Palace, down Marlborough Road and up The Mall.

The gun carriage holding the coffin would then pass around the Queen Victoria Memorial, Buckingham Palace and up Constitution Hill to Wellington Arch.

Members of the military would lead the procession, with the royal family and household walking behind – but the Queen would be expected to go straight to Windsor. 

At Wellington Arch, there would be a royal salute before a ceremonial transfer sees with the coffin moved to a Land Rover hearse or car and taken to Windsor. 

On arrival in Windsor, there would be a slow procession driven up the Long Walk with drummers, military and members of the royal family following behind.

It would move up the Long Walk, through Cambridge Gate and then onto Park Street, High Street, past the Guildhall and Castle Hill and in through the Henry VIII gate. 

The arrangements are codenamed Forth Bridge, after the Scottish landmark and Unesco World Heritage Site.

The railway bridge, crossing the Forth Estuary in Scotland, which opened in 1890, remains one of the greatest cantilever trussed bridges 

Plans for the aftermath of the duke’s death have been in place for many years, and were updated and reviewed regularly by Buckingham Palace staff in consultation with the Queen and Philip.

Complicated by the coronavirus pandemic, Forth Bridge has been adjusted to take account of the crisis.

The duke’s funeral was due to have a strong military presence in recognition of his naval career and his links with the armed forces.

But the prospect of creating a spectacle that could potentially attract hundreds of thousands of people means there is no longer expected to be a military procession in London or any processions through Windsor.

A military involvement is expected to take place within the grounds of Windsor Castle. 

The funeral service is expected to take place at St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle

The funeral service is expected to take place at St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle

The funeral service is expected to take place at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle

Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh in an official wedding photograph in 1947

Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh in an official wedding photograph in 1947

Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh in an official wedding photograph in 1947

Those servicemen and women taking part will rapidly begin their preparations, from practising routines to polishing helmets and swords.

Royal dressers will be fastidiously choosing and preparing black mourning ensembles.

Thames Valley Police will be tasked with dealing with the security needed in the days ahead, and preventing mass gatherings.

The Royal Households have a long history of making detailed plans for royal funerals.

Arrangements for the Queen Mother’s – codenamed Tay Bridge – were 22 years old by the time she died at the age of 101.

London Bridge is the codename for the Queen’s funeral plans.

In 2004, thieves broke into a car which belonged to a palace press officer at a motorway service station and made off with a briefcase which contained the secret plans regarding the Queen .

But the case and its confidential contents were found and returned by a member of the public.

It was once said that Philip, who was known for his acerbic wit, was amused by the fact that many of those involved in the planning of his funeral had themselves died before him.

Not all royal death arrangements have been so meticulously ordered.

Queen Victoria died at the age of 81 in 1901 after a period of ill health, but the Earl Marshal, who was responsible for the funeral, had no plans in place.

The complex arrangements, including transporting Victoria’s body across the Solent from the Isle of Wight and facilitating a two-hour military procession through London involving thousands of people, had to be organised from scratch in 10 days.

In contrast, her son, Edward VII, insisted his own funeral was planned well in advance.

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