The Sunday Post (Newcastle)
We owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim or we shall ever know
Royal family pays a personal 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 “dear Papa” 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.
“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. 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.”
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 is 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.
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.
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 public 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: “Whilst this is a time of sadness and mourning, the coming days will be an opportunity to celebrate a remarkable life.”
Buckingham Palace said all public elements of the
funeral have been cancelled and it will be televised, and take place entirely in the grounds of the castle.
The Queen has decided the royal family will enter two weeks of royal mourning, and engagements will continue appropriate to the circumstances.
Public elements of Operation Forth Bridge, the codename for the Duke’s funeral plans, were abandoned for fear of drawing crowds, including long-held arrangements for military processions through London and Windsor.
On the royal family’s website, members of the public have been asked to consider making a donation to a charity instead of leaving floral tributes. An online book of condolences is also available for the public to post personal tributes.
All UK government buildings have been instructed to fly official flags at half-mast in tribute to the Duke until 8am on the day after his funeral.
It was also announced that the Duke of Cambridge would no longer attend the Baftas this weekend due to his grandfather’s death.
Prince William had originally been due to make an appearance for a pre-recorded conversation yesterday and make a speech at the main film awards today.
The Duke of Edinburgh 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”.
Announcing the death on Friday, Buckingham Palace said: “It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty the Queen announces the death of her beloved husband. The royal family join with people around the world in mourning his loss.”