Britain's Queen Elizabeth stands alone as royal family bids farewell to Prince Philip

Queen Elizabeth is seen during the funeral of Prince Philip at St George's Chapel in Windsor, on April 17, 2021.
Queen Elizabeth is seen during the funeral of Prince Philip at St George's Chapel in Windsor, on April 17, 2021.PHOTO: REUTERS
The coffin of Britain's Prince Philip is laid onto a modified Land Rover Defender ahead of the ceremonial funeral procession to St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle.
The coffin of Britain's Prince Philip is laid onto a modified Land Rover Defender ahead of the ceremonial funeral procession to St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle.PHOTO: AFP
The hearse is a specially modified Land Rover.
The hearse is a specially modified Land Rover.PHOTO: REUTERS
The procession of senior royals included Prince Charles and his sons WIlliam and Harry.
The procession of senior royals included Prince Charles and his sons WIlliam and Harry.PHOTO: REUTERS
Members of the Royal family walk behind a land rover carrying the coffin of Britain's Prince Philip, during the ceremonial funeral procession to St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle.
Members of the Royal family walk behind a land rover carrying the coffin of Britain's Prince Philip, during the ceremonial funeral procession to St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle.PHOTO: AFP
The Landrover Defender carrying Prince Philip's coffin is driven during the ceremonial funeral procession to St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle.
The Landrover Defender carrying Prince Philip's coffin is driven during the ceremonial funeral procession to St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle.PHOTO: AFP
The coffin of Britain's Prince Philip is taken into St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle for the funeral service.
The coffin of Britain's Prince Philip is taken into St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle for the funeral service.PHOTO: REUTERS
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (left) and her son Prince Charles (right) attend the funeral service of Prince Philip inside St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle.
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (left) and her son Prince Charles (right) attend the funeral service of Prince Philip inside St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle.PHOTO: AFP
London Black Cab taxi drivers observe a minute's silence in London during the funeral of Britain's Prince Philip.
London Black Cab taxi drivers observe a minute's silence in London during the funeral of Britain's Prince Philip.PHOTO: REUTERS
People look at a screen in London's Piccadilly Circus displaying images of the funeral of Britain's Prince Philip.
People look at a screen in London's Piccadilly Circus displaying images of the funeral of Britain's Prince Philip.PHOTO: REUTERS

WINDSOR (REUTERS) - Queen Elizabeth and her family paid their last respects to Prince Philip at a funeral on Saturday (April 17) that celebrated his naval past, his international heritage and seven decades of service in which he helped guide the queen through repeated crises.

Queen Elizabeth, dressed in black and in a white trimmed black mask, stood alone as her husband of 73 years was lowered into the Royal Vault in a service attended by senior royals including heir Prince Charles and his sons Princes William and Harry.

The Queen was placed alone in the ceremony at St George’s Chapel with her children, grandchildren and a select group of royal mourners, separated due to Covid-19 rules.

“We remember before thee this day Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, rendering thanks unto thee–for his resolute faith and loyalty, for his high sense of duty and integrity,” Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said in a prayer.

Prince Philip, officially known as the Duke of Edinburgh, died aged 99 on April 9. The Queen in 1997 described Prince Philip as her “strength and stay” over their decades of marriage.

The archbishop praised Prince Philip’s “life of service to the nation and Commonwealth, and for the courage and inspiration of his leadership”.

After the nation observed a minute’s silence in brilliant sunshine, Prince Harry and Prince William took up their places on opposite sides of the chapel in Windsor Castle, with the final resting place of Tudor monarch Henry VIII dividing them.

Prince Philip’s naval cap and sword lay on top of the coffin, which was covered with the Duke of Edinburgh’s personal standard featuring the Danish coat of arms, the Greek cross, Edinburgh Castle and the stripes of the Mountbatten family.

A wreath of white roses, lilies and jasmine from the 94-year-old Queen also adorned the coffin.

Royal mourners

The four-person choir sang a sailors’ hymn, Eternal Father, Strong To Save, and shortly before he was lowered into the Royal Vault, the Russian Kontakion Of The Departed, a hymn of the Orthodox and Eastern churches, echoed around the ancient church. There were no eulogies.

Prince Philip’s coffin was borne to the chapel on a bespoke Defender TD 130 in military green as a minute gun fired eight times.

Before the procession, military bands spaced out across the quadrangle of Windsor Castle to play the Prince’s chosen music, including I Vow To Thee My Country, Jerusalem and Nimrod.


Queen Elizabeth II takes her seat for the funeral service of Britain's Prince Philip inside St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle. PHOTO: AFP


Members of the Royal family follow the hearse, a specially modified Land Rover, during the funeral of Britain's Prince Philip. PHOTO: REUTERS

Prince Philip, who married Queen Elizabeth in 1947, helped the young queen adapt the monarchy to the changing world of the post-World War II era as the loss of empire and the decline of deference challenged the world’s most prominent royal family.

She has now been widowed just as she grapples with one of the gravest crises to hit the royal family in decades - allegations of racism and neglect by it from her grandson Harry and his American-born wife Meghan.

Much media attention was focused on the royals’ behaviour towards Prince Harry who was seen walking with his brother Prince William and talking with him and the latter's wife Kate after the funeral.

It was Prince Harry's first public appearance with the family since he and his wife gave an explosive interview to Oprah Winfrey last month. 

In the interview they accused one unnamed royal of making a racist comment, and said Meghan’s pleas for help when she felt suicidal were ignored.

The couple, who moved to Los Angeles and quit royal duties last year, laid bare their perceptions of the family’s attitudes in what amounted to a critique of the old-fashioned customs of an ancient institution.


The coffin of Britain's Prince Philip is taken from the hearse, a specially modified Land Rover, to be carried into St George's Chapel for the funeral service. PHOTO: REUTERS


A military hat rests on the coffin of Prince Philip as it is transported by the hearse, a specially modified Land Rover, to St George's Chapel. PHOTO: REUTERS

Meghan said she had been silenced by “the Firm” while Prince Harry said his father, Prince Charles, had refused to take his calls. Prince Harry said both Prince Charles and his brother William were trapped in the royal family.

Meghan watched the funeral at her home in California after she was advised by her doctor not to travel while pregnant, a source familiar with the situation said. US networks showed the funeral live as did British TV stations.

Mourners eschewed the tradition of wearing military uniforms, a step newspapers said was to prevent embarrassment to Prince Harry, who despite serving two tours in Afghanistan during his army career, is not be entitled to wear a uniform because he was stripped of his honorary military titles.


Britain's Prince William and Prince Harry walking in the funeral procession at Windsor Castle. PHOTO: REUTERS


Britain's Prince Charles walks behind the coffin of his father, Prince Philip, during the ceremonial funeral procession to St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle. PHOTO: AFP


Britain's Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, stand outside St George's Chapel before the ceremonial funeral procession. PHOTO: AFP

Prince Andrew, who stepped down from public duties in 2019 over controversy surrounding his what he termed his “ill-judged” association with late US financier Jeffrey Epstein, had wanted to wear an admiral’s uniform at the funeral, media reported.

Prince Andrew sat closest to the Queen.

A family occasion

The palace emphasised beforehand that while the occasion would have the due pageantry that marks the passing of a senior royal, it remained an occasion for a mourning family to mark the passing of a husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather.

There were just 30 mourners inside the chapel for the service because of continuing coronavirus restrictions in Britain.

Prince Philip’s dedication to his duty earned him widespread popularity in Britain, but he was also criticised by some for a number of off-the-cuff racist or abrupt comments which shocked princes, priests and presidents.


Pall bearers carry the coffin of Britain's Prince Philip in St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle. PHOTO: REUTERS


Britain's Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, stand outside St George's Chapel before the ceremonial funeral procession. PHOTO: AFP

“He was authentically himself, with a seriously sharp wit, and could hold the attention of any room due to his charm and also because you never knew what he might say next,” Prince Harry said of his grandfather.

Prince Philip was a decorated Royal Navy veteran of World War II and his funeral, much of which was planned in meticulous detail by the Prince himself, had a strong military feel, with personnel from across the armed forces playing prominent roles.