The royal family said their final goodbyes to Prince Philip on Saturday at an intimate funeral service attended by only 30 people at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. Philip died on April 9 at age 99.
The slimmed-down royal funeral, which was not a state funeral per the prince’s wishes, started with a unique, personal touch.
The late Duke of Edinburgh’s coffin was driven to St. George’s Chapel in a modified Land Rover that he helped design for that very purpose. The royal drove Land Rovers for much of his life, and the palace said he suggested changes for the vehicle up until 2019.
Some family members headed to the chapel, while Princess Anne; Princes Charles, Edward, Andrew, William and Harry; Peter Phillips, the Earl of Snowdon; and Vice-Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence walked behind the hearse during the ceremonial procession.
It was the first time the public has seen William and Harry reunite in over a year, since the Duke of Sussex’s step back from his duties as a working royal, due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Upon the advice of her physician, Meghan Markle was not able to travel to attend the ceremony, a spokesperson confirmed to HuffPost last weekend. A representative for the couple said Saturday that the Duchess of Sussex would be watching the funeral service from her home in California. She also contributed a handwritten note alongside a personalized wreath she and Prince Harry provided.
Queen Elizabeth was taken to the church in a state Bentley, alongside her lady in waiting.
Images of Her Majesty, seated alone at the service in accordance with COVID-19 guidelines, provided a particularly moving visual.
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, who helped conduct the service on Saturday, spoke about the queen ahead of the funeral.
“She’s the queen, she will behave with the extraordinary dignity and extraordinary courage that she always does. And at the same time, she is saying farewell to someone to who she was married for 73 years,” said Friday while asking for prayers for the monarch.
“I think that must be a very, very profound thing in anybody’s life, and I hope that the whole nation, if they believe in that, then they pray for her,” he added. “If they don’t then they sympathize and, in their hearts, offer their condolences to her, and the hope for her to find strength in what must be an anguished moment.”
During his lifetime, Philip played a large part in planning his own funeral service, which reflected “The Duke’s close military affiliations, and personal elements of His Royal Highness’ life,” according to a statement shared by Buckingham Palace on Friday.
Though 800 mourners were planned for the service in non-pandemic times, COVID-19 restrictions limited those who could come to only 30, making it even more the sort of no fuss event the duke would’ve wanted.
The duke chose the music for the program, which included an adaptation of Psalm 104, the hymn “Eternal Father, Strong to Save,” and a song Philip commissioned himself: “Jubilate in C.” A choir of only four people ― standing away from those in the pews ― was allowed to sing. The rest of those in attendance were encouraged not to join in.
The ceremony had no sermon, eulogy or readings. At the end of the service, Prince Philip’s coffin was lowered into the Royal Vault, while a pipe major from the Royal Regiment of Scotland played a lament on the bagpipes.
The Buglers of the Royal Marines then sounded “Action Stations,” which the palace said “is traditionally an announcement that would be made on a naval warship to signify that all hands should go to battle stations, and was requested by His Royal Highness.”
After the Archbishop of Canterbury said a blessing and the small choir sang the national anthem, those in attendance filed out of the chapel.
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