Gulf Today

UK falls silent for a minute as Prince Philip laid to rest


As military bands played and a procession of royals escorted his coffin to the church, Prince Philip was laid to rest on Saturday in a funeral ceremony that honoured his lifetime of service to the UK, the crown and his wife of 73 years, Queen Elizabeth II.

The widowed British monarch, seting an example amid the coronaviru­s pandemic, sat alone at the ceremony, dressed in black and with her head bowed in prayer.

Philip, who died April 9, two months shy of his 100th birthday, was honoured at Windsor Castle in a service that was steeped in military and royal tradition but also pared down and infused with his own personalit­y.

The entire royal procession and funeral took place out of public view within the grounds of the castle, a 950-year-old royal residence 30 kilometres west of London, but was shown live on television.

Coronaviru­s restrictio­ns meant that instead of the 800 mourners expected in the longstandi­ng plans for Philip’s funeral, only 30 people were allowed inside the castle’s St. George’s Chapel, including the queen, her four children and her eight grandchild­ren.

Following strict social distancing rules during the pandemic, the queen set an example even in grief, siting apart from family members who were arrayed around the church.

Prince Charles, the heir to the throne, sat opposite the monarch alongside his wife, Camilla. Prince Andrew was two seats to the queen’s let.

Prince William and his wife, Kate, sat directly opposite from his brother, Prince Harry, who had travelled back from California without his pregnant wife, Meghan.

Grandsons Prince William and Prince Harry also walked behind the coffin, although not side by side.

The brothers, whose relationsh­ip has been strained amid Harry’s decision to quit royal duties and move to California, flanked their cousin Peter Phillips, the son of Anne.

For many viewers, the moment stirred memories of William and Harry at 15 and 12, walking behind the coffin of their mother, Princess Diana, in 1997, accompanie­d by their grandfathe­r Philip, in a London ceremony televised around the world.

Later Saturday, the two brothers were seen walking together and chating as the mourners let the chapel ater the service.

People across Britain observed one minute of silence in honor of Philip just before the funeral got underway.

Under sot spring sunshine, some locals earlier stopped outside the castle to leave flowers, but people largely heeded requests by police and the palace not to gather because of the pandemic.

Philip’s coffin travelled to the chapel on a specially adapted Land Rover designed by the prince himself. The coffin was draped in his personal standard and topped with his Royal Navy cap, sword and a wreath of flowers.

For the procession, senior military commanders lined up in front of the vehicle.

The children of Philip and the queen - Charles, Princess Anne, Andrew and Prince Edward - walked behind the hearse, while the 94-year-old queen travelled to the chapel in a Bentley car.

The funeral reflected Philip’s military ties, both as a ceremonial commander of many units and as a veteran of war.

More than 700 military personnel took part, including army bands, Royal Marine buglers and an honour guard drawn from across the armed forces.

Inside the Gothic chapel, the seting for centuries of royal weddings and funerals, the service was simple and somber.

The ceremony began with Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby entering the chapel ahead of the coffin, followed by Philip’s children and three of his eight grandchild­ren, as a fourmember, socially distanced choir sang “I am the resurrecti­on and the life.”

There was no sermon, at Philip’s request, and no family eulogies or readings, in keeping with royal tradition.

But Dean of Windsor David Conner said the country had been enriched by Philip’s “unwavering loyalty to our queen, by his service to the nation and the Commonweal­th, by his courage, fortitude and faith.”

Philip spent almost 14 years in the Royal Navy and saw action in the Mediterran­ean Sea, the Indian Ocean and the Pacific during World War II.

Following strict social distancing the entire royal procession and funeral took place out of public view but was shown live on TV; Queen Elizabeth set an example even in grief, sitting apart from family members.

 ?? Agence France-presse ?? Royal family members follow the coffin during the funeral of Prince Philip in Windsor Castle on Saturday.
Agence France-presse Royal family members follow the coffin during the funeral of Prince Philip in Windsor Castle on Saturday.

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