Elizabeth II surrounded by her family for the farewell to Prince Philip
Sylvie Claire / April 18, 2021
The United Kingdom marked a minute's silence on Saturday as the royal family gathered for the funeral of Prince Philip, who for more than seven decades tirelessly supported Elizabeth II and the crown.
Limited to 30 people because of the coronavirus pandemic, the ceremony opened at Windsor Castle estate, west of London, shortly before 3:00 pm (4:00 pm B.C.), at which time the United Kingdom, in national mourning for eight days, observed a minute's silence. A few days before his 95th birthday, the queen said goodbye to the man who was, in his own words, his strength and his support, and since his coronation in 1952 has placed himself in the background. Known for his outspokenness and humor - sometimes flirting with racism or sexism - the Prince Consort would have turned 100 on June 10. Covered with the Duke of Edinburgh's personal standard, his sword, his navy cap and a wreath of flowers, the coffin was lifted into the back of a military-green Land Rover that Prince Philip himself had helped design for 16 years.
Led by Charles, the crown prince, and his sister Princess Royal Anne, the procession - which the queen rode in her royal Bentley - followed the coffin to St. George's Chapel for the 50-minute service. In the third line of the funeral procession, behind the children of the Queen and Prince Philip, were their grandsons William and Harry. Between the two brothers, whose relationship is not so good, was their cousin Peter Philips, son of Princess Anne. This choice was widely commented in the press, looking for any sign of reconciliation between the two sons of Prince Charles. In 1997, the two brothers had both followed side by side the coffin of their mother, who died tragically in a car accident in Paris, pursued by paparazzi. This is the first time since his thunderous withdrawal from the monarchy and his departure across the Atlantic that Prince Harry is back in public with the royal family, marked by the shadow of accusations of racism and indifference that he and his wife made during a resounding interview with Oprah Winfrey.
Pregnant with their second child, Harry's wife, Meghan Markle, stayed in the United States on the advice of her doctor. The procession took place to the sound of the Grenadier Guards band, of which Philip was colonel for 42 years, reflecting the military background proudly worn by the Duke of Edinburgh, who fought in the navy during World War II. In St. George's Chapel began a ceremony led by the Dean of Windsor, paying tribute to the unwavering loyalty to the Queen, her courage, fortitude and faith. Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, spiritual leader of the Anglicans, will give the blessing at the end of the service. The coffin will then be lowered into the Royal Vault, a crypt where it will remain until the Queen joins it at her death. The reunited couple will then have their final resting place in the Memorial Chapel of King George VI, father of Elizabeth II.
In terms of dress, the British royal family has tried to present a united front. All are in civilian clothes, a way to avoid distinguishing Princes Andrew and Harry, both very attached to the army but in retreat from the monarchy. Even if he still belongs to the Navy, the appearance in uniform of Prince Andrew, the second son of the Queen and former helicopter pilot, would have been bad form given his friendship with the late financier Jeffrey Epstein, prosecuted for trafficking in minors. Although the public has been asked not to gather in front of the royal residences because of the pandemic, Windsor is buzzing with onlookers and locals with bouquets in hand. After the ceremony, I will leave these flowers near the castle, Maggy Kalpar, 45, told AFP. We were used to his presence, said this resident of Windsor for 18 years, who came to say goodbye to one of his neighbors: It is an incredible man who leaves us, the whole country is so sad. Saluting the dedication of Prince Philip, Santosh Singh, who came to lay tulips at Buckingham Palace, tells her sorrow, and deplores that with time all this will change for another era.