The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip, was bid a very poignant and heartbreakingly beautiful farewell by his family at the St. George’s Chapel of Windsor Castle. The 30 members of The Royal Family and guests attended the Ceremonial funeral of the Iron Duke who died peacefully at Windsor Castle on April 09th.
The funeral ceremony, which was scaled back due to the COVID-19 guidelines, fulfilled The Duke’s wish of ‘no fuss’. The Duke of Edinburgh was closely involved in the planning of his own Funeral that was given a codename ‘Operation Forth Bridge‘. As a result, it involved a number of unique touches which reflect his life and work.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrived at the Windsor Castle for the funeral of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh on Saturday noon. The couple was seen arriving after Prince Charles and Duchess Cornwall.
Philip has been lying at rest in the private chapel in Windsor Castle. At 11:00 AM, the coffin was moved from the private chapel to the Inner Hall of Windsor Castle by members of The Queen’s Company, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards. At 2:40 pm, Prince Philip’s coffin emerged from the State Entrance of Windsor Castle into the Quadrangle, followed by the members of the Royal Family who walked in the procession. From there the coffin was placed onto the Land Rover that Prince Philip himself helped to design some two decades ago.
His Royal Highness helped design the Land Rover which will carry his coffin.
The vehicle will be driven by soldiers from the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers of which The Duke was Colonel-in-Chief. pic.twitter.com/YDVgbBF29X
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) April 16, 2021
The hearse was built using a Land Rover Defender TD5 130 chassis cab vehicle, which was made at Land Rover’s factory in Solihull in 2003 and subsequently modified. The original color was changed recently from “Belize green” to a dark “bronze-green”, echoing the hue of military vehicles.
The procession order included:
The Princess Royal The Prince of Wales
The Earl of Wessex and Forfar The Duke of York
The Duke of Sussex Mr. Peter Phillips The Duke of Cambridge
Vice-Admiral Sir Tim Laurence The Earl of Snowdon
The procession was closely followed by The Royal Bentley car driving Her Majesty The Queen who sat with her lady-in-waiting.
The Queen and Prince Philip met for the first time in 1939 and got married in 1947. The couple remained married for 73 years. It was grieving to see The Queen following her husband on his last journey. On her diamond Jubilee wedding anniversary, The Queen paid a beautiful tribute to her husband reflecting on the couple’s married life,
“He is someone who doesn’t take easily to compliments but 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”.
The Duke’s Coffin was covered in his personal standard and carried his sword, naval cap, and a wreath of flowers with a message from Her Majesty. The Procession from the Castle to the chapel was 8 minutes long.
The Procession moved towards St. George’s Chapel, through Engine Court, Chapel Hill Parade Ground, and into Horseshoe Cloister, arriving at the West Steps. The procession route was lined by representatives from the Royal Navy, the Royal Marines, the Highlanders, and 4th Battalion Royal Regiment of Scotland, and the Royal Air Force.
Minute Guns were fired by The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery from the East Lawn of Windsor Castle for the duration of the Procession. The Curfew Tower Bell also tolled. Prince Philip’s Funeral was the most somber event the nation has seen in some 20 years. Recently Windsor has hosted two royal weddings and the chapel was the symbol of those happy moments and today the silence, the emptiness, the social distancing made the service sadder.
To reflect Philip’s long-standing love for Carriage-riding, a sport that he took in his 50s and remained a constant of his life well into 90s, his favorite driving carriage, accompanied by two of his grooms, was pulled by his two trusty black Fell ponies, Balmoral Nevis and Notlaw Storm, to stand in the Quadrangle, ready for the procession to pass by.
Upon arrival at the Chapel, The Queen took a moment of poignant reflection when The Duke was given another tribute with cannon fires and bells tolls. Her Majesty then headed towards the chapel and took her seat alone in the front row of the chapel where she used to sit with her husband. The Bearer Party carried the coffin up the West Steps of the Chapel before pausing for a National Minute Silence at 3 pm.
Inside the chapel, Prince Philip’s coffin was placed on a catafalque on a marble slab in the Quire and lowered into the vault by an electric motor. The Royal Vault at Windsor was created between 1804 and 1810 for George III, who died in 1820 and is one of three kings buried there. Also interred in the vault are George IV and William IV.
The Duke of Edinburgh’s insignia represent HRH’s status in a variety of countries and institutions.
They include his Field Marshal’s baton and Royal Air Force Wings, together with decorations from orders of chivalry in the UK, Denmark and Greece. pic.twitter.com/0fDTiNbM3P
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) April 16, 2021
At the altar, many of Prince Philip’s Insignia’s were on display. Philip’s insignia is the distinguishing emblems bestowed on him by the UK and Commonwealth countries, reflecting his significant role and service. They, along with military tokens such as his Royal Air Force wings and field marshal’s baton, will rest on nine cushions on the altar in Windsor Castle’s St George’s Chapel. Included among personal insignia is one from Greece, the Order of the Redeemer; and one from Denmark, the Order of the Elephant. The final selection of insignia was mounted on the cushions earlier this week at St James’s Palace, in advance of the funeral. They were sewn into place using fishing wire by two seamstresses, one of whom was Diane Hatcher of Cleave Court Jewellers.
During the Service, a small choir of four sang ‘Eternal Father, Strong to Save’, an adaption of Psalm 104 and Benjamin Britten’s ‘Jubilate in C’, a piece specially commissioned by The Duke of Edinburgh for the St George’s Chapel Choir, which has been sung in the Chapel over many years. The choir was located in the Nave, away from the seated congregation, and in line with public health guidelines, there was no congregational singing.
The Duke’s coffin was lowered into Royal Vault in a private moment. The Archbishop of Canterbury pronounced the Blessing and the National Anthem was sung by the Choir. The Pipe Major of The Royal Regiment of Scotland played a lament before The Buglers of the Royal Marines sound The Last Post. Complete order of service can be read here.
At 3 pm two rounds were fired from the Tower of London marking the start and end of a national minute’s silence for The Duke of Edinburgh. The service ended with the State Trumpeters of the Household Cavalry sounding Reveille and the Buglers of the Royal Marines play Action Stations as per the wish of Prince Philip.
The Royal women gave very subtle tributes to the Iron Duke through their jewelry. Her Majesty The Queen was wearing The Queen Mary’s Richmond Brooch – that is thought to be the largest brooch in her collection. Designed by Hunt and Roskell, the brooch was a wedding present to Queen Mary from Richmond town.
The Duchess of Cornwall wore the Rifles Brooch, something she donned in July 2020 when Philip’s role as Colonel-in-Chief of the infantry regiment The Rifles was formally handed over to her.
The Duchess of Cambridge was looking regal in a black Catherine Walker Beau-tie coat. Giving a silent tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh, Catherine wore The Queen’s Four Strand Diamond and Pearl Choker Necklace that she also wore at the Platinum Wedding anniversary of The Queen and Prince Philip in 2017.
Since April 09th, The Royal Family has been reflecting on the life and journey of Prince Philip on its social media highlighting various parts of the Duke’s life. The Duke of Edinburgh Awards, one of the greatest legacy, the Iron Duke left behind has been sharing the stories from its participants that shows how Philip has touched so many lives during his more than 65 years of service. The family has also paid very personal tributes sharing private moments.
Prince Philip retired from public duties in 2017 after serving the Nation and The Queen for almost 7 decades. The outsider, a non-British became the most loyal subject of The Queen. A strong man who walked three steps behind his wife but always there protecting and supporting her while carving his own path that inspired millions of lives. He will always be remembered and loved. His legacy will be carried forward by his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
Rest In Peace Philip!