Prince Philip's funeral to be held at Windsor Castle next week

Duke of Sussex to attend small gathering but wife Meghan to stay in US

Prince Philip’s funeral will be held at Windsor Castle next week in a private family service, Buckingham Palace has announced.

The ceremonial event will take place at St George’s Chapel at 3pm local time on April 17. There will be no lying in state.

Close relatives will attend the gathering with the number of mourners restricted to 30 people to comply with the UK’s Covid restrictions.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Saturday that he would give his entitled seat at the funeral to a family member.

Members of the royal family, including the Queen, would be expected to wear a mask under the rules.

“It will be what’s known as a ceremonial royal funeral,” a Buckingham Palace spokesman said. “The plans for the funeral are very much in line with the Duke of Edinburgh’s own personal wishes.”

There will be no public access, no public processions and the funeral will take place entirely within the grounds of Windsor Palace.

A Buckingham Palace spokesman confirmed that Harry, who has moved to Los Angeles after giving up royal duties, was planning to attend the funeral, but his wife Meghan, who is pregnant, was advised by her doctor not to travel.

Earlier on Saturday, guns salutes were held across Britain to pay tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh, who died on Friday at the age of 99.

Flags were flown at half mast on government buildings and sporting events fell silent as a mark of respect to Queen Elizabeth’s late husband.

Members of the public laid flowers outside royal residences, including Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace, despite being encouraged to stay away due to concerns over the coronavirus.

“What a life! Thank you for serving our country,” one tribute outside Buckingham Palace read.

This gallery depicts that life.

Prince Charles praises his 'dear Papa'

The death of the Duke of Edinburgh is a profound loss for the monarch, 94, who once described her husband of 73 years as her “strength and stay” throughout her long reign.

Prince Philip's relationship with Prince Charles was rumoured to be less steady, but the esteem in which the heir to the throne held his "dear Papa" was clear in a tribute delivered outside his Highgrove home in Gloucestershire on Saturday.

"My father, for I suppose the last 70 years, has given the most remarkable, devoted service to the Queen, to my family and to the country - and also to the whole of the Commonwealth," he said.

"And as you can imagine, my family and I miss my father enormously - he was a much-loved and appreciated figure, and apart from anything else, I can imagine he'd be so deeply touched by the number of other people here and elsewhere around the world in the Commonwealth who also, I think, share our loss and our sorrow."

Forty-one artillery rounds were fired in the cities of London, Cardiff, Belfast and Edinburgh, aboard some Royal Navy ships and in Gibraltar.

The Duke had strong military links and been a member of Royal Navy during the Second World War.

A statement on the royal website said: “The tradition of Gun Salutes being fired throughout the country to mark significant national events dates back to at least the 18th century, and there are historical records of salutes taking place as early as the 14th century when guns and ammunition began to be adopted more widely.

“Similar gun salutes were fired to mark the death of Queen Victoria in 1901.”

The Premier League and other sporting events also paid their respects, with the Football Association recommending that black armbands be worn and a minute’s silence observed before this weekend’s matches.

Because of the pandemic, mass gatherings that follow the death of a senior royal are being discouraged by the palace and the government.

Harry to return for funeral but Meghan will stay in US

Prince Harry is likely to enter quarantine when he arrives back in England but this can end if he provides a negative Covid test after five days.

It will be Harry’s first return to Britain after his Oprah Winfrey interview alongside Meghan plunged the royals into their greatest crisis in decades.

During that latest crisis, Philip was in hospital where he spent four weeks having treatment for an infection and to have a heart procedure before returning to Windsor in early March. He died two months before his 100th birthday.

The well-rehearsed protocol for the duke’s death includes the recall of parliament on Monday.

British television stations cleared their schedules for special broadcasts looking back on his life, although the BBC said it had received complaints about the blanket coverage.

Westminster Abbey, where the couple married in 1947, tolled its tenor bell 99 times on Friday, once for each year of the prince’s life.

World pays tribute to Prince Philip

Tributes came in from home and abroad with Prime Minister Boris Johnson giving “thanks, as a nation and a kingdom, for the extraordinary life and work of Prince Philip”.

Political and faith leaders in Britain, and from the US, Europe and Commonwealth countries including Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand and Pakistan also paid their respects.

In Australia, flags will be flown at half-mast, and there will be a 41-gun salute in the capital Canberra on Saturday as part of plans for remembrance.

US President Joe Biden highlighted Second World War veteran Philip’s long record of duty to the Queen, “the people of the UK, the Commonwealth, and to his family”.

He called him a “heck of a guy” who “never slowed down” over his long life.

Tributes also came pouring in from Britain’s entertainment royalty, including Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger, and cast members of hit Netflix drama The Crown.

Actor Matt Smith, who played Philip in the first two series, said: “Prince Philip was the man. And he knew it. 99 and out but what an innings. And what style.

“Thank you for your service old chap – it won’t be the same without you.”

Tobias Menzies, who played Philip in series three and four, paid tribute with a quote from William Shakespeare’s “As You Like It”.

“‘O good old man! how well in thee appears. The constant service of the antique world...’ RIP.”

Philip retired from public duties in 2017 at the age of 96, declaring “I’ve done my bit”.

The couple, who celebrated their 73rd wedding anniversary in November, had been living largely in isolation at Windsor, because their age put them at heightened risk from Covid-19.

He was last seen at a staged appearance at a military ceremony at Windsor last July, days after attending the wedding ceremony of his granddaughter Princess Beatrice.

An online book of condolences is available on the Royal Family’s website.

Updated: April 11, 2021 12:19 PM

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