LONDON – Prince Philip will be remembered as a man of “courage, fortitude and faith” at a martial but also personal funeral that will mark the death of a royal patriarch who was a beloved husband and father, and one of a dwindling number of World War II veterans.
Hymns and music during Saturday’s funeral at Windsor Castle will reflect Philip’s military ties and wartime service in the Royal Navy, as well as his more than seven decades of support for his wife, Queen Elizabeth II.
Philip died April 9 at the age of age 99 after 73 years of marriage. Coronavirus restrictions mean that instead of the 800 mourners included in the longstanding plans for his funeral, there will be only 30 inside St. George’s Chapel, including the widowed queen, her four children and eight grandchildren.
Many elements of the funeral are steeped in military and royal protocol, from the armed forces personnel lining the funeral route to the artillery salutes and Philip’s naval cap and sword atop the coffin. More than 700 military personnel are set to take part, including army bands, Royal Marine buglers and an honor guard drawn from across the armed forces.
To deter crowds from gathering during the pandemic, the entire procession and funeral will take place within the grounds of the castle, a 950-year-old royal residence 20 miles (32 kilometers) west of London. It will be shown live on television.
Philip was deeply involved in the funeral planning, and aspects of it reflect his personality, including his love of the rugged Land Rover. Philip drove several versions of the four-wheel-drive vehicle for decades until he was forced to give up his license at 97 after a crash. His body will be borne to the chapel on a modified Land Rover Defender that he designed himself.
The children of Philip and the queen — Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward -- will walk behind the hearse. So will grandsons Prince William and Prince Harry, but not side by side. The brothers, whose relationship has been strained amid Harry’s decision to quit royal duties and move to California, will flank their cousin Peter Phillips, the son of Princess Anne.
The moment is likely to stir memories of the image of William and Harry at 15 and 12, walking behind their mother Princess Diana’s coffin in 1997, accompanied by their grandfather Philip.