Saturday, 17 April 2021

A Poignant Farewell to the Duke of Edinburgh

Her Majesty the Queen led the Royal family and the nation today in a poignant farewell to the Duke of Edinburgh at St George's Chapel, Windsor.

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As the day began, I was reminded of the words of Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, yesterday: "She's the Queen. She will behave with the extraordinary dignity, extraordinary courage that she always does. And at the same time she is saying farewell to someone to whom she was married for 73 years. I think that must be a very, very profound thing in anybody's life." Last night, the Queen chose one of her favourite photos, which was taken by the Countess of Wessex in 2003 atop the Coyles of Muick on the Balmoral estate, where Her Majesty and Prince Philip enjoyed walks and picnics throughout their life together.

Prince Harry arrived back in England last weekend and has been following all Covid-19 guidelines at his Windsor home, Frogmore Cottage. Harry and his grandfather bonded over their love of the military, and today Harry donned his KCVO Neck Order and Star, Afghanistan Campaign medal, Gold Jubilee medal and Diamond Jubilee.

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The Duchess of Sussex had hoped to join her husband, but did not receive medical clearance from her doctor as she is in the late stages of pregnancy. It's understood Meghan watched the funeral today. Meghan sent a handwritten note to accompany a wreath from her and Harry created by florist Willow Crossley, who worked on the Sussexes' wedding, Archie's christening, and for a Hubb Community Kitchen event. In tribute to the Duke's heritage, the wreath included the national flower of Greece, bear's breeches; sea holly in recognition of his connection with the Royal Marines; lavender for devotion; rosemary for remembrance; campanula for gratitude and everlasting love; and roses in honour of Philip's birthday month June. It was placed in the chapel with wreaths from other family members. I believe it's second from right.

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The funeral has been described by the palace as a "ceremonial royal funeral" rather than a State funeral -- something usually reserved for monarchs. Whilst the pandemic necessitated a small funeral, all elements are very much in keeping with the Duke's wishes for a low-key event.

Indeed, Philip planned his own funeral -- codenamed Operation Forth Bridge -- eighteen years ago with military precision.

Despite the enormity of the day for the monarchy and the family as a whole, the Queen was determined to ensure all Covid-19 guidelines were met, meaning just thirty mourners were invited to the service: the Queen and Philip's children and grandchildren and their respective spouses; Princess Margaret's children, the Earl of Snowdon and Sarah Chatto and her husband Daniel. Also in attendance were the Queen's cousins, the Duke of Gloucester and the Duke of Kent. Prince Philip's great-nephew, the Hereditary Prince of Baden, his nephew the Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, and Philip's cousin the Landgrave of Hess. The late Duke's close friend Countess Mountbatten of Burma (known as Penny Romney) was also present.

Buckingham Palace noted, "The coffin, covered with His Royal Highness’s personal standard and surmounted with his sword, naval cap and a wreath of flowers, will be moved privately from its present location in the private chapel at Windsor Castle to the Inner Hall of Windsor Castle. After prayers are said by the Dean of Windsor in the Inner Hall, the coffin will be carried to the State Entrance by a bearer party found by the Queen’s Company, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards."

At 2.40 pm, the Duke's coffin emerged from the State Entrance of Windsor Castle into the Quadrangle.

It was followed by a procession led by Charles and Anne followed by Andrew and Edward, William, Princess Anne's son Peter Phillips and Harry, Princess Anne's husband Sir Timothy Laurence, and the Earl of Snowdon. Several members of the Duke's staff joined the procession.

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Prince William, Peter Phillips and Prince Harry.

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The Queen departing the Sovereign's Entrance in the State Bentley.

Her Majesty was accompanied in the car by her lady-in-waiting, Lady Susan Hussey. Part of the 'HMS Windsor Bubble' during the pandemic, Susan is Prince William's godmother and close to the Prince of Wales.

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Following the Royal Salute, the coffin was placed onto a purpose-built Land Rover. Philip began the project almost two decades ago -- with an open top section to carry the coffin made to his specifications.

The hearse was built using a Land Rover Defender TD5 130 chassis cab vehicle, which was made at Land Rover’s factory in Solihull in 2003 and subsequently modified. The original colour was changed from "belize green" to a dark bronze green, echoing the hue of military vehicles. The final changes were made just two years ago.

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The Palace continued:

'The Duke used Land Rovers throughout his adult life and granted his Royal Warrant to Land Rover over 40 years ago. He visited Jaguar Land Rover’s manufacturing facilities on numerous occasions over the decades and accompanied the Queen when she opened Jaguar Land Rover’s new Engine Manufacturing Centre in Wolverhampton in 2014.

Thierry BollorĂ©, Jaguar Land Rover’s Chief Executive said: “We are deeply privileged to have enjoyed a very long and happy association with the Duke of Edinburgh over many decades. We are also honoured that the Land Rover which the Duke designed will be used at the funeral on Saturday. 

"The Duke was a tremendous champion for design, engineering and technology. During his visits to our sites he engaged with hundreds of employees and demonstrated his impressive knowledge and deep interest in vehicle design, engineering and manufacturing. The Duke was a truly remarkable man and will be greatly missed.”

The Duke's fell ponies, Balmoral Nevis and Notlaw Storm, pulled a carriage designed by Philip. Accompanied by two of his grooms, they stood in the Quadrangle as the coffin was carried past. Carriage driving was a great love for the Prince over the past fifty years and he competed in events for decades. In the days following the Duke's passing, his granddaughter Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor was seen carriage driving - undoubtedly in honour of her grandfather.

Members of the Windsor household say goodbye.

It was a beautiful day at Windsor.

Members of the Royal family arriving at St George's Chapel.

It was important to the Duke that his military affiliations were included for the funeral. As the procession continued, the route was lined by representatives from the Royal Navy, the Royal Marines, the Royal Air Force, the 4th Battalion Royal Regiment of Scotland and the Highlanders. The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery fired Minute Guns from the East Lawn of Windsor Castle for the duration of the procession.

Her Majesty arrives at the chapel.

Scenes as the procession continued.

Attendees bowed as the procession passed.

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Below Mike and Zara Tindall.

Princess Eugenie and her husband Jack Brooksbank.

Princess Beatrice and her husband Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi.

Kate bows.

The Duchess of Cambridge, the Duchess of Cornwall and the Countess of Wessex and her children.

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Prince Charles had tears in his eyes as he led the procession.

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A moving scene.

The Bearer Party carried the coffin up the West Steps of the Chapel.

Before pausing for a National Minute's Silence at 3pm.

A moment of pause for Princess Anne who was incredibly close to her father.

Harry with the Earl of Snowdon and Sir Timothy Laurence.

Solemn scenes inside.

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The service was conducted by the Dean of Windsor.

Philip's navy cap and sword along with flowers and a note written by Her Majesty. 

Seeing Her Majesty sitting alone painfully evoked the loneliness families all over the world have endured during the pandemic.

A deeply solemn picture.

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Edward and Sophie with their children Louise and James.

Prince Andrew, Princess Anne, Sir Timothy Laurence and Prince Harry. 

Her Majesty seated at the top of the row beside Andrew, Timothy, Anne and Harry.

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Philip also personally selected medals, decorations and insignia to be displayed at the funeral conferred on him by UK and Commonwealth nations and his Royal Air Force Wings and Field Marshal's baton.

The Brilliant Star of Zanzibar, the Brunei Esteemed Family Order, and the Singapore Order of Darjah Utama Temasek.

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The Garter Collar and Greater George, and the Garter Breast Star and Lesser George sewn onto a velvet cushion.

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The British Empire Collar and Grand Masters Badge, and the British Empire Breast Star and Badge.

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In a nod to his heritage, he selected insignia from Denmark and Greece to lie on the altar. Below, the Order of the Elephant (Denmark) and the Order of the Redeemer (Greece).

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More from Wales Online:

'Stephen Segrave, Secretary of the Central Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood, said: “There will be nine cushions with insignia placed on pre-positioned around the altar at St George’s Chapel in Windsor. They represent British and Commonwealth orders and decorations, and the final cushion with orders from Greece and Denmark, for obvious reasons.

“The Duke of Edinburgh had, I think, 61 decorations and awards from 53 different other countries, and there simply just wasn’t the space to have them all on display at the funeral.”

And he certainly had a hand in planning his arrangements, so he would have made the decision himself.” Mr Segrave said the chosen insignia would have “absolutely” meant a great deal to Philip.'
In tribute to the Prince, the Dean of Windsor said, "With grateful hearts we remember the many ways in which his long life has been a blessing to us. We have been inspired to his long loyalty, by his service to the nation and the Commonwealth, by his courage, fortitude and faith."

The Archbishop of Canterbury read the Second Lesson, which is taken from the Gospel of John: "I am the resurrection and the life."

More from the Telegraph:
'This is the bare minimum necessary to sing four-part settings of the key elements of the Burial Service. They include the Funeral Sentences by William Croft, first sung at Handel’s funeral in 1759 and used for every Royal funeral since. They are plain and solemn and will sound just as beautiful sung by four voices as by a choir, if not more so. Even more sturdily plain is the setting of the Lord’s Prayer by Robert Stone, himself a singer at the Chapel Royal, which dates from around 1550, and the Responses by William Smith – about 80 years later in date but hardly different in style.

That note of solemn, sturdy simplicity is echoed in the Anthem, the Russian orthodox chant known as the Kontakion of the Departed, and the Duke of Edinburgh’s favourite hymn, Eternal Father Strong to Save, which everyone predicted would be part of the service because of its naval associations. Only the setting of Psalm 104 by William Lovelady and Benjamin Britten’s Jubilate, both composed at the Duke of Edinburgh’s request, will strike a more cheerful note.'
A small choir of four sang pieces chosen by the Duke. In line with Covid guidance, they were located in the Nave away from the congregation, and all guests wore face masks throughout the service.
Naval battle cry 'Actions Stations' was chosen by the Duke. The traditional alert is associated with navy funerals and marked Philip's service in the navy during World War II. Philip carried his navy service with him throughout his life. A Palace official said, "Action Stations is a naval tradition and it is an announcement that would be made on a naval warship to signify that all hands, all those serving, on that warship should go into battle stations."

'The Last Post' was also played - symbolising a soldier gone to his final rest.

Following his training at Dartmouth, he became one of the youngest first lieutenants. The Duke was present in Tokyo Bay when the Japanese signed the surrender on 2 September 1945.

At the end of the service, the Duke's coffin was lowered into the Royal Vault followed by a blessing from the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Afterwards Her Majesty led the Royal family back to Windsor Castle.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry departing.

William, Kate and Harry made the walk back together.

Click here to watch BBC's coverage of the funeral.

A Buckingham Palace spokesperson said, "While this is naturally a time of sadness and mourning for the Royal Family and the many others who knew or admired the Duke of Edinburgh, it is hoped that the coming days will also be seen as an opportunity to celebrate a remarkable life. Remarkable both in terms of his vast contribution and lasting legacy. If you consider that in his lifetime he was a decorated veteran of World War Two, of his love and passion for the skills of science, engineering, design and art, his dedication to the military, his support for the Commonwealth, his promotion of Outward Bound Trust, the World Wildlife Fund and The Duke of Edinburgh Award you can see why his influence is so much greater than many may imagine the role of a consort to be."

The Queen has been "touched" by tributes from all over the world. I was particularly taken by the miniature Land Rover and thoughtful card Charles and Camilla had the opportunity to view at Marlborough House Gardens.

This beautiful drawing from five-year-old Sophia was seen by the Earl and Countess of Wessex and their daughter Lady Louise in Windsor.

Floral tributes from members of the public outside St George's chapel.

Messages from members of the family have been especially moving. Yesterday, Mike Tindall shared a beautiful photo of Mia with her great-grandfather taken by the Duchess of Cambridge. "It’s been a very sad week but it has given us time to reflect on great memories and stories both personal and shared. A devoted family man who we will forever miss but always love."

Above all, over this past week, I've been reminded of the Queen and Duke's enduring relationship. In 1946, Prince Philip wrote to the then Princess Elizabeth, according to author Philip Eade, "To have been spared in the war and seen victory, to have been given the chance to rest and to re-adjust myself, to have fallen in love completely and unreservedly, makes all one's personal and even the world's troubles seem small and petty."

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During her Golden Anniversary speech, the Queen 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."

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In a message written following 9/11, the Queen echoed Colin Murray Parkes "Grief is the price we pay for love".

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Amidst the loss of her beloved husband, the Queen will be comforted by a lifetime of treasured memories. 'People Will Say We're in Love' from Oklahoma! was a treasured favourite of the couple since the early days of their romance.

His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh 1921-2021.


  1. Beautiful post! I wish we had known more about PP's personal side. He had such a full life and met so many people, but his ability to tend to his grandchildren and their children was a surprise. In just the last year, although he no doubt did not feel well, he managed to zoom with Harry and his family and see Archie, even though he probably did not agree with their decision to leave. Very supportive with love. I am struck by the role he played with Charles' and Andrew's children -- the four of them seemed to relied a lot on PP. I hope Harry and William can reach a point of mutual respect and love for each other and each other's family. Harry's family is his world, like William, and I hope now that William has heard what he apparently had not been told, it will be easier for him to understand. When Charles is gone and all the children are grown, H & W will want someone in addition to their wives to be close to.

  2. Could you tell us more about other members of the family wreaths? Which one was from the C? What flowers did it have? Thank you.

    1. Hello,

      Unfortunately I haven't seen any additional information yet. If it becomes available, I'll update immediately.

    2. I’ve read about other monarchies wreaths that were placed outside Windsor. So is there only information about the S one?

  3. Prince Philip, RIP –

    Wishing a healing comfort to The Queen and the family. It is an end of an era – indeed a century.

    I watched it as it happened on BBC. The first thing I remembered after it ended, was
    The Queen seated in solitude, the carriage with his belongings on the seat, and the green Landover. It looked uniquely more like a departure than a funeral and nicely symbolized with what he liked in life.

    Charlotte – it was an interesting coincidence to find the carriage seat as your first image.

  4. What a beautiful farewell! And that final photograph here, Charlotte, just an amazing shot and selection.

  5. I found the carriage, his ponies and the cap and hat on the seat very poignant. I saw the jar he used to store the sugar cubes he gave his ponies on there as well.

    I also thought it was very gracious of the queen to allow Penny Romsey to attend.

    1. That is a characteristic of Her Majesty, and her decisions surrounding this funeral show her graciousness and respect on many levels.

  6. A lovely funeral, as funerals go. Touching images were, for me: the Queen sitting alone but riding with a lady-in-waiting, his carriage and horses standing at the turn outside, Anne & Charles walking side by side, Harry flanked by Kate & William at the end, Harry & William walking on together talking.

    But if grandsons were walking in the procession (and no granddaughters), why was James left out? It was an odd thing to me, but of course there are any number of reasons and we'll never know.

    1. James is not an adult. In my family when it was our grandparents the age was determined to be 16 to walk or do a reading. And we did walk in the order of age. So the Peter, William, Harry order makes perfect sense to me.

    2. I understand that the family procession was organized according to age, therfore Charles and Anne; Andrew and Edward. PP had four grandsons, but James seems to be almost a generation younger than his cousins because his father was the youngest. I thought that James would be about 10, but I heard that he was 13, so older than Harry was when he walked behind his mother's coffin. However, Harry has said that the experience was very traumatizing, so perhaps the family decided to spare James. However, if he were to have walked with his cousins, he would have walked with Harry, as the two youngest, and Harry would be a perfect walking companion for the young James. I don't know whether this is true or not, but I also read that because there were three grandsons walking, they all walked together, with the oldest in the middle, youngest to the left, and the next eldest to the right, which is what it looked like. It certainly makes excellent sense for a family funeral.

      It was a beautiful service and the music was wonderful. I love the picture of PP with the butterflies, the touching one with his grandaughter Mia, and the mini Land Rover and the fell ponies pulling the carriage with the hat and crop and blanket brough a tear to my eye. I was also tickled to see that at the end of the service, the Queen had plopped her handbag on the chair beside her, the handles standing up.

    3. Anon 01:02, that is the most plausible and reasonable explanation for the order of grandsons to walk in the procession. With the change to mourning suits from military, it makes perfect sense that the Queen would have chosen a format that had some meaningful relationship and purpose to family, vs. family drama. Funerals are when respect is first and foremost, above all else. Thank you for sharing.

    4. I was also surprised not to see James there in the procession. I know about what Harry said about the walk behind his mother's coffin being traumatizing, but that was quite a different situation - mother unexpectedly dying at a young age, vs grandfather passing away of old age.

    5. My thought is that we hardly ever see James and know nothing about him. No doubt his privacy was an issue. No doubt being in the public eye like that was disturbing to him.

  7. This was such a lovely post Charlotte thank you. I watched the funeral service with tears. It was beautiful and nice to see Harry, Kate and Wills chatting at the end of the funeral.

    I don't know if you have seen this or your readers but Canada put on a beautiful tribute service to Prince Philip today and you can watch it on youtube.

    He took over 70 visits to Canada with his last one in 2013.

    May he rest in peace and comfort to the royal family and especially to Her Majesty. God Save the Queen.

    1. Thank you for sharing the link. Excellent. RIP Prince Philip.

  8. The media in Australia are reporting that the Queen's card with the flowers said 'In Loving Memory' with the signature obscured by the flowers.

    1. It was ‘In loving memory, Elizabeth.’

  9. What at a beautifully researched and written tribute. The ITV video was lovely. I hope the human side of the family we’ve witnessed since Prince Philip’s passing will continue. I think the Institution needs to share more of that.

    1. However it is a strain to be always in the public eye and I am sure that is the reason that when they have free time at Windsor, Sandringham and Balmoral they usually don't admit the news media or the general public. It means that they can relax and be themselves with no worries of being seen. It is noteworthy that these latest personal family photographs are taken by members of the family.

    2. The pictures released these last days show that all theories circulating around that family members do not get along with each other are just lies. They spend time together that we don’t know about, that’s their private lives.

  10. Beautiful post, Charlotte. Solemn occasion but good to have celebrated Philip's long life. Seeing the Queen alone was poignant. -op

  11. Susan in Florida19 April 2021 at 03:51

    Thank you for all the research you did to explain the service. It was a meaningful and sad day.

  12. Thank you Charlotte for this beautiful post!

    The picture of Philip and all the butterflies is amazing.

    I thought the intimacy and the reduced numbers of people around the whole ceremony made it so special and focused.
    I am sorry for everybody who could not participate in processions and the church service yet I feel that watching it on TV it was very easy to relate and feel connected. The BBC did a very good job to include the people and causes Philip worked with. The tabloid Reporters would have been dispensable for my taste. I would have liked more historic expertise and explanations.
    Windsor Castle and Estate could not have been more beautiful. The Ponies- the carriage, - so touching and not being swamped by huge crowds The Piper was such a moving element. Philip planned it all so well. I hope this is comfort to his wife now.

  13. I don't know how everyone else is feeling, but I don't like how it feels like the shift has been made to Charles. Not that I dislike Charles, but it's jolting. I read, perhaps incorrectly, that Charles and William would discuss the way forward at a "summit." That made me realize that I am certain that I would not enjoy having relatives control my work! It must be hard on Harry now with tons of memories and emotions.

  14. The shift to Charles has been happening for a while. The Duke of Edinburgh retired a couple of years ago and the Queen gave up visiting Commonwealth Countries mainly because of her age. Senior members of the family started to deputise for her at investitures. Charles and Camilla now appear with her at the State opening of Parliament. Of course they are planning for the transition to Charles - it would be irresponsible to do otherwise. Obviously Harry and Meghan were to be part of the transition with responsibilities for the wider Commonwealth, but as they have decided to step down as senior royals this is no longer possible. This is not about relatives controlling their work, but is really the only practical way to run a constitutional Monarchy. You can't have a chaotic regime with everyone operating independently and them all making their own independent decisions about what should be done. We can see that other European monarchies are making similar decisions to prune their numbers of working royals, so it is not unique to Britain.

  15. Anon 1:19 I think you are correct. The monarchy is much more than people deciding they like a certain charity. I guess there are decisions at the top and those are put into play by the huge "team." The family is remarkably lucky, so lucky, that they have Kate. She is absolutely perfect for the family and for the "job." William is very lucky that she loves him and is willing to adapt to the demands of the institution. Remembering back 10 years, some things did change for Kate, such as having her family a main part of her life. After Meghan's interview, I believe that the RF are a little like pawns. News comes from "insiders" or "palace sources" rather than actual RF members. I believe that at least for many years, the Queen has been focused on her family. She appear to love her family and that does not waver. When W&K's children are old enough to participate, and I suppose they will, H&M would have been severely demoted further. I actually don't know, now, how H&M could have hung in there; the setup is so contrary to how Meghan wants to live her life. I don't see H&M being like Sophie and Edward. Other European royals are being pruned and even moving to the US. I understand that Charles is putting the monarchy ahead of his family, but not only is that unnecessary, it is unacceptable.


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