The Sunday Post (Inverness)
We owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim or we shall ever know
Royal family pays personal, heart-felt tribute to Prince Philip
The royal family paid tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh yesterday as plans for his funeral next Saturday were announced.
Prince Philip will be laid to rest at 3pm at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. Before the arrangements were announced at 5pm yesterday, his family released a short tribute, taken from the speech the Queen made on the couple’s golden wedding anniversary in 1997. The quote, included in a tweet from their official account, said: “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.”
Speaking on behalf of the royal family, Prince Charles also paid tribute to his father yesterday, saying: “He was a much-loved and appreciated figure. We’re so deeply touched by the number of other people here, elsewhere around the world and in the Commonwealth who also, I think, share our loss and our sorrow.”
Prince Charles added the Duke of Edinburgh had “given the most remarkable, devoted service to the Queen, to my family and to the country and also to the whole of the Commonwealth”. Arrangements announced yesterday stated that, in line with his wishes, the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral will be a ceremonial royal funeral and not a state funeral. Prince Philip will also not lie in state, where members of the public would have been able to view his coffin.
The arrangements, which are planned also to reflect the Duke’s life of service, have been adapted to take account of ongoing concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.
It’s understood The Queen and other members of the royal family will follow coronavirus guidelines which will see them wear face masks and socially distance as they gather to pay tribute. Harry, the Duke of Sussex will fly in from his home in the US to join other members of the royal family at the ceremony. It’s understood his wife, The Duchess of Sussex, who is pregnant with the couple’s second child, has been advised not to attend on medical grounds.
On the day of the funeral, Prince Philip’s coffin will be moved a short distance to St
George’s Chapel for the service. Members of the royal family including the Prince of Wales will walk behind the coffin, and the Queen will travel separately to the chapel. The duke’s coffin will be transported from the castle to the chapel in a specially modified Land Rover he helped design. A national minute’s silence will be observed as the funeral begins at 3pm. Only 30 people, including the Duke’s children, grandchildren and other close family, will attend as guests. It was originally anticipated that 800 people would gather to pay their respects to the nation’s longest serving consort, but the Duke is known to have wanted a low key affair.
The Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he will not attend the funeral to allow for the attendance of as many family members as possible. The Prime Minister was understood to have been expected to attend the ceremony for Philip by the royals, but offered to step aside with the number of guests allowed limited.
Prince Philip’s private secretary Brigadier Archie Miller Bakewell will be one of the few 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.
After the service, the Duke will be interred in the Royal Vault of the chapel. Members of the public have been asked not to attend any of the funeral events, in line with publi health advice, and the royal family has asked people not to leave flowers and tributes at royal residences. The Queen has approved the Prime Minister’s recommendation of national mourning, which began on Friday and runs until, and including, the day of the funeral.
A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: “While this is a time of sadness and