Prince Philip dies: Archbishop Justin Welby will lead special remembrance service today

The Archbishop of Canterbury led a solemn remembrance service for Prince Philip at Canterbury Cathedral today. 

The service started at 10.30am with Justin Welby paying tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh after his death on Friday morning. 

It was a small, socially distanced gathering with the Queen represented by Lady Colgrain, the Lord-Lieutenant of Kent. Also in attendance was the High Sheriff of Kent, the Lord Mayor of Kent, the Sheriff of Canterbury and the chief executive of Canterbury.   

Edward Elgar’s stirring Nimrod was played, the piece of music that accompanies many British funerals and memorial services and is played annually at the Cenotaph in London to mark the National Service of Remembrance.  

In his sermon, the Archbishop said that the Duke of Edinburgh had a ‘remarkable willingness’ to ‘take the hand he was dealt in life’. However, he added that the Duke ‘would have been the first to harrumph strongly at over-spiritualisation of himself’.

The Reverend Canon Tim Naish spoke after the Archbishop and added: ‘We pray for all those who mourn Prince Philip’s death. We pray for comfort and strength for Elizabeth our Queen.’ 

Marking the third of eight days of national morning, people also gathered at royal palaces to leave flowers despite calls from the palace and the government to stay away to maintain social distancing guidelines. 

Paying tribute to the late Duke at the special service today, Mr Welby said: ‘It is God who creates, God who calls, and God who sends. For His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh, there was a willingness, a remarkable willingness, to take the hand he was dealt in life, and straightforwardly to follow its call. To search its meaning, to go out and on as sent, to inquire and think, to trust and to pray. 

He added: ‘For the royal family, as for every other, no words can reach into the depth of sorrow that goes into bereavement. We all know that it is not simply a factor of age or familiarity. It is not obliterated by the reality of a very long life remarkably led, nor is the predictability of death’s arrival a softening of the blow. Loss is loss.’

The archbishop urged prayers for the family and others who are grieving.

He said: ‘Our lives are not completed before death, but their eternity is prepared. So we can indeed pray that the Duke of Edinburgh may rest in peace and rise in glory. We may pray for comfort. We may pray and offer love for all who find that a great life leaves a very great gap.

‘For the royal family and the millions who have themselves suffered loss, we can know that the presence of Christ will bring peace, and the light of Christ will shine strongly, and it is in that light that we can strengthen one another with eternal hope.’ 

It comes ahead of Philip’s funeral next Saturday, which is expected to be officiated by Mr Welby and David Conner, the Dean of Windsor. 

Buckingham Palace announced yesterday that Prince Philip’s ceremonial royal funeral will take place on April 17 at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle, and a national minute’s silence will be observed as it begins at 3pm. The funeral service will be broadcast worldwide. 

The Archbishop Justin Welby said that the Duke of Edinburgh had a 'remarkable willingness' to 'take the hand he was dealt in life'

The Archbishop Justin Welby said that the Duke of Edinburgh had a 'remarkable willingness' to 'take the hand he was dealt in life'

The Archbishop Justin Welby said that the Duke of Edinburgh had a ‘remarkable willingness’ to ‘take the hand he was dealt in life’ 

Buckingham Palace announced yesterday that Prince Philip’s ceremonial royal funeral will take place on April 17 at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle

It was a small, socially distanced gathering with the Queen represented by Lady Colgrain, the Lord-Lieutenant of Kent. Also in attendance was the High Sheriff of Kent, the Lord Mayor of Kent, the Sheriff of Canterbury and the chief executive of Canterbury

It was a small, socially distanced gathering with the Queen represented by Lady Colgrain, the Lord-Lieutenant of Kent. Also in attendance was the High Sheriff of Kent, the Lord Mayor of Kent, the Sheriff of Canterbury and the chief executive of Canterbury

It was a small, socially distanced gathering with the Queen represented by Lady Colgrain, the Lord-Lieutenant of Kent. Also in attendance was the High Sheriff of Kent, the Lord Mayor of Kent, the Sheriff of Canterbury and the chief executive of Canterbury 

A girl lays down flowers outside Windsor Castle today after Prince Philip died at the age of 99 on Friday morning

A girl lays down flowers outside Windsor Castle today after Prince Philip died at the age of 99 on Friday morning

A girl lays down flowers outside Windsor Castle today after Prince Philip died at the age of 99 on Friday morning

A mourner cries outside Windsor Castle this morning as the nation continues to pay tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh after his death

A mourner cries outside Windsor Castle this morning as the nation continues to pay tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh after his death

A mourner cries outside Windsor Castle this morning as the nation continues to pay tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh after his death

Mr Welby also paid tribute to the Duke last night and said Philip had been someone with a ‘deep and genuine sense of service and humility’.

He said: ‘It wasn’t ‘me, me, me’. It was about the world, about those he served, and in doing that his own role was more and more significant.

‘He had a righteous impatience. He would not accept the status quo. If things were not right, he would say so and say so quickly, and clearly, and often bluntly.

‘Prince Philip, also though, had a deep and genuine sense of service and humility.’

He described him as someone who ‘knew the talents he had and what he could bring, and he brought them 100%, at full throttle, right through his life’.  

The Duke will be taken to St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle on a Land Rover he helped to design, and will be flanked by pall bearers from the Royal Marines, Regiments, Corps and Air Stations.

The decision to carry Philip in the custom-built car comes after he is said to have told the Queen: ‘Just stick me in the back of a Land Rover and drive me to Windsor.’

Immediately behind the Land Rover, the Prince of Wales and other members of the family, likely to be the Duke’s other children and some of his grandchildren including Harry and William, will proceed on foot.

Prince Harry will travel to the UK to be with his family for the service, but his wife Meghan will remain at their home in California after being ‘advised not to travel’ by her doctor. 

Official royal mourning will then take place for two weeks after the funeral.  

Only 30 people – expected to be the Duke’s children, grandchildren and other close family – will attend as guests. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will not be among guests, having stepped aside to allow for the attendance of as many family members as possible during coronavirus restrictions, No 10 said last night. 

Household Division veterans pose at the entrance of Windsor Castle this morning after Prince Philip's death on Friday

Household Division veterans pose at the entrance of Windsor Castle this morning after Prince Philip's death on Friday

Household Division veterans pose at the entrance of Windsor Castle this morning after Prince Philip’s death on Friday

Mourners flocked to Windsor Castle to leave flowers and pay tribute to the Duke this morning despite requests from the government and the palace not to

Mourners flocked to Windsor Castle to leave flowers and pay tribute to the Duke this morning despite requests from the government and the palace not to

Mourners flocked to Windsor Castle to leave flowers and pay tribute to the Duke this morning despite requests from the government and the palace not to

People on The Long Walk at Windsor Castle this morning with royal fans flocking in droves to pay tribute to Prince Philip

People on The Long Walk at Windsor Castle this morning with royal fans flocking in droves to pay tribute to Prince Philip

People on The Long Walk at Windsor Castle this morning with royal fans flocking in droves to pay tribute to Prince Philip

Flowers left outside Buckingham Palace. A note on flowers left paying tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh after his death

Flowers left outside Buckingham Palace. A note on flowers left paying tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh after his death

Flowers left outside Buckingham Palace. A note on flowers left paying tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh after his death

The Land Rover ‘hearse’ is a fitting tribute to Philip – the nation’s longest consort – who was known for his practical skills and his enduring interest in design and engineering.

The purpose-built Land Rover was specially modified to carry a coffin – in a project that the duke helped with many years ago.

The vehicle will process slowly through the grounds of Windsor Castle ahead of the funeral, draped in his personal standard, a wreath of flowers and his naval cap and sword.

A bearer party from the Grenadier Guards will place the coffin on the Land Rover at the state entrance of the castle, before the vehicle begins the eight-minute journey at walking pace to the west steps of the chapel.

It will be flanked by pall bearers reflecting the duke’s special relationships with the military – the Royal Marines, Regiments, Corps and Air Stations.

Immediately behind the Land Rover, the Prince of Wales and other members of the royal family, likely to be the duke’s other children and some of his grandchildren, will proceed on foot.

A specially modified Land Rover, Naval procession and royal mourning: Prince Philip’s funeral details are released by palace 

  • 2.40pm: Coffin emerges from State Entrance of Windsor Castle

The duke’s coffin, accompanied by the Dean of Windsor and the Lord Chamberlain, will be moved to the State Entrance of Windsor Castle by a Bearer Party of The Queen’s Company, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards.

The coffin will emerge and the Bearer Party will place it onto a specially modified Land Rover, which Philip helped to design, to transport it to St George’s Chapel.

  • 2.45pm: The procession leaves for St George’s Chapel

The procession from the state entrance to the West Steps of the chapel will take eight minutes.

The Prince of Wales and members of the royal family will take part in the procession on foot, immediately behind the duke’s coffin, together with staff from Philip’s household.

The route of the procession will be lined by representatives drawn from the Royal Navy, the Royal Marines, the Highlanders, 4th Battalion Royal Regiment of Scotland and the Royal Air Force.

Minute guns will be fired by the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery from the east lawn of Windsor Castle for the duration of the procession, and the Curfew Tower Bell will toll.

  • 2.53pm: The Land Rover reaches the West Steps of the chapel

A Guard of Honour and Band from The Rifles will receive the coffin at the foot of the West Steps, with the national anthem being played as the coffin enters Horseshoe Cloister.

A bearing party of Royal Marines will carry the coffin up the steps and pause for the minute’s silence.

  • 3.00pm: National minute of silence

Following the minute’s silence, the Dean of Windsor, together with the Archbishop of Canterbury, will receive the coffin at the top of the West Steps.

In keeping with coronavirus guidelines to limit guests inside the chapel, most of the procession will not enter the chapel, except for members of the royal family, and the duke’s private secretary Archie Miller Bakewell.

The funeral service will begin as the coffin enters St George’s Chapel.

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The Land Rover’s poignant role in the funeral proceedings always formed part of Operation Forth Bridge – the codename given to the plans following Philip’s death. 

A senior Palace official said: ‘The Duke of Edinburgh had a hand many years ago in the design of these vehicles.’ The official added that there were two Land Rovers for ‘belt and braces’.

The Queen has approved the Prime Minister’s recommendation of national mourning, which began on April 9 and runs until and including the day of the funeral.  

Originally 800 people would have been due to gather to pay their respects to the nation’s longest serving consort, but Philip is known to have wanted a low key affair. 

The first guest confirmed by the palace was the duke’s long-standing close aide, his private secretary Brigadier Archie Miller Bakewell, who will be one of the few, and possibly only, non-royals invited to attend.

Brigadier Miller Bakewell had been the Duke’s right hand man for 11 years, taking on the role in 2010. 

And brothers William and Harry are expected to stand ‘shoulder to shoulder’ a they come together for the first time since Harry’s bombshell Oprah interview.   

All public elements of the funeral have been cancelled, and it will be televised but take place entirely in the grounds of the castle, the Palace said. 

The Queen has decided the royal family will enter two weeks of royal mourning, and engagements will continue appropriate to the circumstances, a senior royal official said. 

The announcement came as Prince Charles paid a poignant tribute to his father, describing his ‘dear Papa’ as a ‘very special person’ and ‘the most remarkable, devoted’ companion to the Queen in an emotional video released this evening. 

In a moving address and speaking without notes, the Prince of Wales said his father would have been ‘deeply touched’ by the sorrow felt by millions of people in Britain and across the world at news of his passing. 

He said he would miss his father ‘enormously’ and added that his family were ‘deeply grateful’ for the condolences offered, which he said would ‘sustain us’ at this ‘particularly sad time’. 

The Earl and the Countess of Wessex spent around an hour with the Queen at the castle on Saturday, with a tearful Sophie telling reporters as she left: ‘The Queen has been amazing.’   

The duke died peacefully in his sleep at Windsor Castle on Friday, two months before his 100th birthday, leaving the Queen and the royal family ‘mourning his loss’. 

The Duke of York arrived at Windsor on Saturday, while the Prince of Wales visited his mother there on Friday. Princess Anne left Windsor Castle accompanied by her husband and son Peter Phillips, after visiting her mother this afternoon. 

Gun salutes have been fired across the UK, in Gibraltar and at sea in tribute to the duke.

Public elements of Operation Forth Bridge – the codename for the duke’s funeral plans – were abandoned for fear of drawing crowds including the long held arrangements for military processions through London and Windsor.

Instead, the proceedings will take place entirely in the grounds of Windsor Castle, televised, but away from public view and with no access for royal fans.

A statement on the official Royal Family Twitter page this evening read: ‘The plans for the funeral are in line with His Royal Highness’s own personal wishes. The occasion will recognise and celebrate The Duke’s life and more than 70 years of service to The Queen, the UK and the Commonwealth.’ 

Confirming that the PM would not be in attendance, a No 10 spokesperson said: ‘As a result of the coronavirus regulations, only 30 people can attend the funeral of HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. 

‘The Prime Minister has throughout wanted to act in accordance with what is best for the Royal household, and so to allow for as many family members as possible will not be attending the funeral on Saturday.’  

The English Football League has also announced that all matches scheduled for 3pm next Saturday will be moved to avoid clashing with Prince Philip’s funeral. There are 32 games across the Championship, League One and League Two that were set to get underway at 3pm on the day of the funeral.

On the day of the funeral, the duke’s coffin, accompanied by the Dean of Windsor and the Lord Chamberlain, will be moved to the State Entrance of Windsor Castle by a Bearer Party of The Queen’s Company, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards. 

On the grass in the Castle’s Quadrangle will be representative detachments drawn from Philip’s military special relationships.

The Queen is pictured with the Duke of Edinburgh in 2007 walking at Broadlands, Hampshire

The Queen is pictured with the Duke of Edinburgh in 2007 walking at Broadlands, Hampshire

The Queen is pictured with the Duke of Edinburgh in 2007 walking at Broadlands, Hampshire

The Duke's Defender 130 Gun Bus: This Defender Gun Bus, built from a Td5 130, was commissioned by the Duke of Edinburgh in 2005. After a 45-minute meeting at Sandringham with the Duke this design was created, Land Rover said. It is understood the vehicle that carries his coffin will be similar to the one picture here

The Duke's Defender 130 Gun Bus: This Defender Gun Bus, built from a Td5 130, was commissioned by the Duke of Edinburgh in 2005. After a 45-minute meeting at Sandringham with the Duke this design was created, Land Rover said. It is understood the vehicle that carries his coffin will be similar to the one picture here

The Duke’s Defender 130 Gun Bus: This Defender Gun Bus, built from a Td5 130, was commissioned by the Duke of Edinburgh in 2005. After a 45-minute meeting at Sandringham with the Duke this design was created, Land Rover said. It is understood the vehicle that carries his coffin will be similar to the one picture here

The Quadrangle will also be lined by the Household Cavalry and The Foot Guards. The Band of the Grenadier Guards, of which Philip was Colonel for 42 years, will lead the procession to St George’s Chapel. 

They will be followed by the Major General’s Party, and then the Service Chiefs, reflecting His Royal Highness’s close relationship with the military.   

The procession from the state entrance to the west steps of St George’s Chapel will take eight minutes. 

The route of the procession will be lined by representatives drawn from the Royal Navy, the Royal Marines, the Highlanders, 4th Battalion Royal Regiment of Scotland and the Royal Air Force.

Minute guns will be fired by the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery from the east lawn of Windsor Castle for the duration of the procession, and the Curfew Tower Bell will toll.

A Guard of Honour and Band from The Rifles will receive the coffin at the foot of the west steps, with the national anthem being played as the coffin enters Horseshoe Cloister.

In tribute to Philip’s Naval service, a Royal Naval Piping Party of 1 Chief Petty Officer and 5 Ratings will be present.

The piping party will pipe the ‘Still’ once the Land Rover is stationery at the foot of the steps.

A bearing party of Royal Marines will carry the coffin up the steps and pause for the minute’s silence. The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Dean of Windsor will then receive the coffin.

In keeping with coronavirus guidelines to limit guests inside the chapel, most of the procession will not enter St George’s, except for members of the royal family, and the duke’s private secretary Archie Miller Bakewell.

Full transcript of Archbishop Justin Welby’s Sermon at Service of Remembrance for The Duke of Edinburgh 

Come Holy Spirit, fill our hearts with hope and delight in your resurrection. Amen.

For the Royal family, as for every other, no words can reach into the depth of sorrow that goes with bereavement. It is not simply a factor of age, or familiarity. It is not obliterated by the reality of a very long life remarkably led. Nor is the predictability of death’s arrival a softening of the blow.

Loss is loss. For each person it is felt individually and reaches into the heart variously. We cannot ever know how others feel, nor do two people feel the same. It is simply loss. Some bear it apparently easily, for others it is crushing. We cannot judge anything from that, either about the depth of affection that existed or the reality of grief that is experienced. We cannot judge, we must not say we know, we can only pray and affirm.

Yet it is in walking with Jesus Christ that there is light rather than darkness. It is often a seemingly fitful light for those caught up in sorrow, but it shines, and it grows and it brightens and it beckons, and calls us to hope rather than despair. The hope is not based on vain myths and legends but on the reality of the resurrection. In Christ we see that in death we are but separated for a while, borrowed but for an instant, and it is in faith that we find the light is not an illusion but is the deepest and most reliable of realities.

For it is who God creates, God who calls and God who sends. For His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh there was a willingness, a remarkable willingness, to take the hand he was dealt in life and straightforwardly to follow its call, to search its meaning, to go out and on as sent, to enquire and think, to trust and to pray.

In these last two chapters of John’s Gospel, Jesus appears, he breathes the Holy Spirit and he gives authority that can only come from God: the authority to forgive and to withhold forgiveness. This new creation, which is the resurrection and all that follows, changes everything.

It is this new creation that has in it restoration of the face of God to spiritual eyes, and that brings spiritual sight to eyes that cannot see spiritually. The disciples see – do you notice in the Gospel reading, that word keeps coming, the disciples ‘see’. Thomas demands sight, and consequently they all believe.

We, all of us today, are called to believe without physical sight and so find that the reality of Christ in our lives is, as Jesus promised, a blessing in times of darkness and grief, when physical sight is taken from our eyes of the one we loved.

It this new creation that breathes life and peace. Life and peace do not always seem to travel together, yet they are here together in the words of Jesus.

It is this new creation that sets a new pattern of meaning for the world: one that includes forgiveness, inspires creativity, generates energy and makes for a new pattern of life, in which order and the meeting of each person’s need are to become normal, as we heard in the reading from the Acts of the Apostles.

That community of Acts chapter 4 is the Holy Spirit-filled development of the Israel of the Exodus. But it is more than that: for this is a community without limits, without boundaries, and it reveals God to the whole world – as they would have said then, the world of the gentiles as well. A God of open arms and infinite holiness.

It is this new creation that inspires, and where we find lives that have prophetic aspects of foreseeing and practical applications of inspiring, as with Prince Philip, we see signs of this new creation – of the Spirit of God.

We should not exaggerate. The Duke would have been the first to harrumph strongly at over-spiritualisation of the world he found, let alone of himself. The figures of the resurrection are fallible and normal. In our reading the disciples rejoice because until then they had NOT believed. Thomas is pragmatic and down to earth, cynical even, from the first chapter of John’s Gospel till this one. In the Acts, the idyllic community of Acts 4 turns out to have within it those who grumble and cheat.

The reality of our life in this world is of old and new together – of strengths and weaknesses. We should not become hyper-spiritual or idealistic.

But when death comes we bear each other up, as did those first Christians. We trust the risen Christ as did the disciples, because all has changed with the new creation.

When deaths comes there is another sort of change: there is deep loss and profound sorrow, but there is neither eternal separation nor darkness forever. There is instead surprise and joy as in John, and all needs met as foreseen in the Acts, and rest and new creation as foreshadowed in Christ himself. Our lives are not completed before death, but their eternity is prepared.

So we can indeed pray that The Duke of Edinburgh may rest in peace and rise in glory. We may pray for comfort. We may pray and offer love for all those who find that a great life leaves a very great gap – for the Royal family and the millions who have themselves suffered loss. We can know that the presence of Christ will bring peace, and the light of Christ will shine strongly, and it is in that light that we can strengthen one another with eternal hope.

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‘I will miss my dear papa’: Prince Charles pays tribute to his ‘very special’ father as he praises him for his ‘devoted service to Queen and country’ and says that the royal family are ‘deeply grateful’ for moving tributes 

Prince Charles today paid tribute to his ‘dear Papa’ as he spoke for the first time following news of his father Prince Philip’s death yesterday morning.

In a pre-recorded video message, the Prince of Wales said his father had given ‘the most remarkable, devoted service’ to ‘The Queen, to my family and to the country’, as well as the Commonwealth. 

The Duke of Edinburgh was, he said, a ‘very special person’ who would have been ‘deeply touched’ by the sorrow felt by millions of people in Britain and across the world at news of his passing. 

He said he would miss his father ‘enormously’ and added that his family were ‘deeply grateful’ for the condolences offered, which he said would ‘sustain us’ at this ‘particularly sad time’.   

Speaking from his Gloucestershire home, Highgrove, Charles said: ‘I particularly wanted to say that my father, for I suppose the last 70 years, has given the most remarkable, devoted service to The Queen, to my family and to the country, but also to the whole of the Commonwealth.

‘As you can imagine, my family and I miss my father enormously. He was a much loved and appreciated figure and apart from anything else, I can imagine, he would be so deeply touched by the number of other people here and elsewhere around the world and the Commonwealth, who also I think, share our loss and our sorrow.

‘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. Thank you.’

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