The Courier-Mail

Invitation only

Who makes the guest list for Prince Philip’s funeral


PRINCE Harry is back in his old home inside Kensington Palace, a stone’s throw from brother William, and a squad of 30 royals and insiders are ready to support the Queen at her beloved Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral.

It is Harry’s first visit to Britain since the messy Megxit deal and just weeks after he and wife Meghan Markle bared their souls to Oprah.

The Queen has told son Prince Andrew that the peaceful passing of her husband of 73 years at their Windsor Castle home was a “miracle” but that there is now a “huge void” in her life.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s COVID-restricted funeral will be held at Windsor Castle on Saturday at 3pm local time (midnight AEST).

As Prince Harry bunkers down in quarantine at Nottingham Cottage, his former home inside the palace in central London, details of his grandfathe­r’s final moments have been revealed.

His passing was “so gentle”, his daughter-in-law, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, said following a church service at the Royal Chapel of All Saints in the grounds of Windsor Great Park.

“It was just like somebody took him by the hand and off he went,” she said.

The grieving Queen attended a private mass in Windsor Castle.

The royal family has rallied around Her Majesty since the duke’s passing last week, with regular visits from Sophie, 56, wife of her youngest son Prince Edward, 57, and Prince Andrew, 61, who all live near Windsor Castle.

The Queen described his death as leaving a “huge void” in her life, according to Prince Andrew.

Prince Harry, 36, slipped into Britain late on Sunday night local time, but was not photograph­ed at London’s Heathrow Airport.

“I saw him getting into an escorted car,” a witness told The Sun newspaper.

Prince Harry travelled alone because Meghan, 39, expecting the couple’s second child within months, was too pregnant to fly.

He was greeted with snow in London on his first day back in the UK from sunny

California, where he moved after stepping down from royal duties in March 2020.

Prince Harry returns with some trepidatio­n following his sit-down interview with new neighbour Oprah Winfrey, in which he claimed Prince Charles stopped taking his calls and that the Royal Family was “racist”.

Prince Philip thought that Prince Harry and Meghan’s interview with Winfrey was “madness” and that “no good would come of it”.

The duke had also told friends that Prince Harry and Meghan’s American move was “not the right thing, either for the country, or for themselves.”

But Prince Philip, who died 62 days before 100th birthday, was philosophi­cal in the end.

“It’s his life. People have got to lead their lives as they think best,” he told friends, according to biographer Gyles Brandreth.

Australia will be represente­d by Commodore Guy Holthouse at the duke’s funeral,

The ahead-of-his-time ecoPrince will be carried in an electric Land Rover, instead of a traditiona­l gun carriage.

There will be a procession from the state entrance of Windsor Castle to St George’s Chapel. The duke personally oversaw the arrangemen­ts for his funeral, codenamed Operation Forth Bridge, and had ordered a $1600 woollen and cardboard coffin. Undertaker­s Leverton and Sons, the founding members of the Associatio­n of Green Funeral Directors who also organised Princess Diana’s funeral in 1997, were appointed to take care of the duke’s arrangemen­ts.

Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince Harry, along with Prince Edward, and Prince Andrew, are expected to follow the coffin in the procession. The Band of the

Grenadier Guards, of which the Duke of Edinburgh was colonel for 42 years, will lead the procession.

Military guns will be fired by the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery from the east lawn of Windsor Castle each minute during the expected eight-minute funeral march.

The arrangemen­ts have been pared back owing to coronaviru­s restrictio­ns, however the duke had rejected a formal State Funeral.

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