Prince Philip
A pedestrian walks past a picture of Britain's Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh displayed in the window of an estate agency in Windsor, west of London, on April 16, 2021, following the April 9 death of Britain's Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, at the age of 99. Final preparations continued Friday in Britain for the funeral of Queen Elizabeth's husband Prince Philip on Saturday. Image Credit: AFP

Windsor: Final preparations were being made on Friday for the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II’s husband Prince Philip, with the ceremony pared back due to coronavirus restrictions but still reflecting his long life of military and public service.

Police patrolled the Long Walk outside the stately walls of Windsor Castle, where the funeral will be held on Saturday, as a steady stream of well-wishers left floral tributes.

Broadcasters from around the world set up position outside the historic residence west of London for the most high-profile funeral of a senior royal since that of the Queen’s mother in 2002.

The coronavirus pandemic has forced hasty revisions to the long-rehearsed plans for the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral, with government guidelines limiting guests to just 30.

But Buckingham Palace said it will still reflect the former Royal Navy commander’s lifelong association with Britain’s armed forces.

Soldiers in ceremonial dress have spent days rehearsing.

Windsor Castle prince philip
Armed police officers and wardens guard the entrance to Windsor Castle in Windsor, west of London, on April 16, 2021, following the April 9 death of Britain's Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, at the age of 99. Image Credit: AFP

“It will reflect military precision and above all, I think, it will be a celebration of a life well-lived,” said the chief of the defence staff, General Nick Carter.

“It will also show, I think, how much the armed forces loved and respected him,” he told BBC radio.

William and Harry

Philip, who was married to the queen for 73 years, died on April 9 aged 99 just weeks after a month-long stay in hospital for treatment to a heart condition and an infection.

The palace on Thursday released details of the stripped-back guest list, and revealed his grandsons Prince William and Prince Harry will not walk side-by-side behind his coffin.

The funeral, expected to be watched by millions on television, is the first time the brothers will have been seen in public since Harry moved to the United States last year.

The pair have reportedly fallen out over Harry’s departure from the royal frontline, and he and his wife Meghan’s stinging criticism about the royal family, including of racism.

Their cousin Peter Phillips - son of Philip’s daughter Princess Anne - will walk between them, fuelling speculation the rift persists, even if they have walked separately at previous family funerals.

Once a specially designed Land Rover hearse carrying the duke’s coffin reaches St George’s Chapel, William will move ahead of his younger brother as the royal mourners enter.

The Daily Telegraph said Harry is also expected to sit next to Phillips in the church.

The Times wrote that the separation of the brothers was “either a quirk of planning or a deliberate attempt to keep them apart”.

But a palace spokesman told The Sun tabloid: “We’re not going to get drawn into perceptions and drama. The arrangements have been agreed and represent Her Majesty’s wishes.”

Queen to sit alone

The ceremony, which begins with the procession at 2:40 pm (1340 GMT) and a national minute’s silence at 3:00 pm, will be a royal funeral like no other because of the global health crisis.

All guests, including the Queen, who is 95 next week, are required to wear face masks, sit apart and observe social distancing rules in line with government regulations.

The Queen will be accompanied to the historic 15th century Gothic chapel in the state Bentley by a lady-in-waiting, before sitting alone inside.

A small choir of four will sing pieces of music he chose during the 50-minute service.

The 30 guests include heir to the throne Prince Charles, his second wife Camilla, and the monarch’s three other children, and eight grandchildren, as well as all their spouses.

Others include the children of the queen’s late sister Princess Margaret, and three of Philip’s German relatives.

Mourners will wear formal day clothing, which reports said was to avoid awkwardness over which princes are entitled to military uniform.

Former British Army captain Harry - who served in Afghanistan - has been stripped of his honorary military titles.

‘Action stations’

Send-offs for senior British royals are typically very public, pomp-filled affairs, but Philip’s request for a no-fuss funeral paired with the pandemic has kept it minimal.

“The ceremonial aspects of the day and the funeral service itself are in line with The Duke’s wishes and will reflect His Royal Highness’s personal and military affiliations,” the palace said.

Ahead of the service, the coffin will be covered with Philip’s personal standard flag and surmounted with his sword, naval cap and a wreath of flowers.

Members of the Queen’s Company, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, will serve as pallbearers, while his coffin will be lowered into the Royal Vault afterwards.

In honour of his life-long association with the Royal Navy, and service during World War II, buglers from the Royal Marines will sound so-called “Action Stations” during the service.

The bugle call, played on a warship to signal all hands should go to battle stations, sometimes features at funerals of naval men.

Philip was a rising star in the British navy and reached the rank of commander by the time Elizabeth ascended to the throne in 1952.

He shelved his personal ambitions to support his wife in the role.

List of mourners attending the funeral of Prince Philip

Coronavirus restrictions mean only 30 mourners will attend the funeral of Prince Philip on Saturday at St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle.

Here is the full list of mourners who will attend the funeral:

1. Queen Elizabeth II

2. Prince Charles, eldest child of the queen and Prince Philip

3. Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Charles' wife

4. Princess Anne, second child of the queen and Prince Philip

5. Vice Admiral Timothy Laurence, Anne's husband

6. Prince Andrew, third child of the queen and Prince Philip

7. Prince Edward, youngest child of the queen and Prince Philip

8. Sophie, Countess of Wessex, Edward's wife

9. Lady Louise Windsor, Edward and Sophie's daughter

10. James, Viscount Severn, Edward and Sophie's son

11. Prince William, eldest son of Charles and the late Princess Diana

12. Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, William's wife

13. Prince Harry, younger son of Charles and Diana

14. Peter Phillips, son of Princess Anne and her first husband Mark Phillips

15. Zara Phillips, daughter of Princess Anne and Mark Phillips

16. Mike Tindall, Zara's husband

17. Princess Beatrice, elder daughter of Prince Andrew and ex-wife Sarah, Duchess of York

18. Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, Beatrice's husband

19. Princess Eugenie, younger daughter of Prince Andrew and Sarah

20. Jack Brooksbank, Eugenie's husband

21. Lady Sarah Chatto, daughter of the queen's late sister Princess Margaret

22. Daniel Chatto, husband of Lady Sarah Chatto

23. David Armstrong-Jones, Earl of Snowdon, son of Princess Margaret

24. Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester, a cousin of the queen

25. Edward, Duke of Kent, a cousin of the queen

26. Princess Alexandra, a cousin of the queen

27. Bernhard, Hereditary Prince of Baden, a German great-nephew of Prince Philip

28. Prince Donatus, Landgrave of Hesse, a German cousin of Prince Philip

29. Prince Philipp of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, a German great-nephew of Prince Philip

30. Penelope Knatchbull, Countess Mountbatten of Burma, a friend of Prince Philip, married to the grandson of Philip's uncle Lord Mountbatten