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Prince Philip news – live: Funeral guests unveiled with William and Harry to walk apart and Queen to sit alone

Follow for the latest developments

Kate Ng,Sam Hancock
Thursday 15 April 2021 22:51 BST
Military rehearses Prince Philip funeral in Windsor

The guest list for Prince Philip’s funeral has been unveiled, with only close relatives to attend the royal ceremonial service in Windsor on Saturday.

It comprises his and the Queen’s four children, as well as some but not all of their many grandchildren. Other members of the royal family, such as the Queen’s cousin Princess Alexandra, will also be in attendance. It was revealed last week that the service would not be a state affair due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

Another revelation made earlier is that Prince William and Harry, the Dukes of Cambridge and Sussex respectively, will not walk shoulder to shoulder in their grandfather’s funeral procession, following speculation they could do so.

The brothers, who have been reunited in person for the first time following the explosive Oprah interview last month, will walk separately, either side of their cousin Peter Phillips - Princess Anne’s son - as they trail their grandfather’s coffin at St George’s chapel in Windsor.

It was also confirmed on Thursday that the Queen will be forced to sit alone during the service to avoid coming into contact with anyone she does not live with. It is so the monarch can adhere to social distancing guidelines as much as possible during the day.

Meanwhile, Prince Charles earlier made his first public appearance with Camilla since the death of his father to view flowers and tributes left in his memory. The pair are believed to have looked visibly upset by the messages left for the late duke.

Read more:


That’s it from us on the royals blog today, thanks for following along!

Sam Hancock15 April 2021 22:51

Everything that has been rescheduled ahead of Philip’s funeral

The UK is in a period of national mourning after Prince Philip died at the age of 99 on Friday, with his funeral taking place this Saturday at St George’s Chapel in Windsor.

Many have been left wondering if there will be a bank holiday to mark his death, or indeed if sporting fixtures will be rescheduled as a sign of respect - or even shops closed.

So what has been rescheduled to mark Philip’s life on Saturday afternoon? Joe Middleton takes a closer look.

Will there be a bank holiday for Prince Philip’s funeral?

A number of sports have already moved fixtures to not clash with the funeral

Sam Hancock15 April 2021 21:20

Who is Countess Mountbatten of Burma?

One of the 30 guests invited to the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral is Countess Mountbatten of Burma, the wife of Earl Mountbatten, Norton Knatchbull - the grandson of Prince Philip’s uncle the 1st Earl Mountbatten.

Earl Mountbatten was murdered by the IRA in 1979.

Philip began teaching carriage-driving to Countess Mountbatten of Burma almost 30 years ago. The 67-year-old countess, Penelope “Penny” Knatchbull, previously known as Lady Romsey and later Lady Brabourne, became one of Philip’s closest confidantes during his life.

They were often pictured together at the Royal Windsor Horse Show, sometimes riding mini motorcycles around the carriage driving course.

Countess Mountbatten was a regular visitor at the duke’s Wood Farm cottage at Sandringham after his retirement, and she is understood to have formed a close friendship with the Queen and Philip after her daughter Leonora died aged five from cancer in 1991.

Such was her bond with the royal couple, according to the PA news agency, that palace staff were said to have nicknamed her “and also”, because she was automatically added to guest lists.

Sam Hancock15 April 2021 20:45

Questions around whether Queen will address nation on Friday

It is not yet clear if the Queen will address the nation on Friday, the eve of Prince Philip’s funeral, as she did the night before her own mother’s funeral.

The Queen spoke to the country then to thank people for their support, saying she had been deeply moved by the outpouring of affection and the overwhelming numbers of people paying their respects since the Queen Mother’s death on 30 March 2002.

Speaking from Windsor Castle on the eve of her mother’s funeral, the Queen said in a televised address: “I thank you for the support you are giving me and my family as we come to terms with her death and the void she has left in our midst.”

She continued: “I thank you also from my heart for the love you gave her during her life and the honour you now give her in death.

“Over the years I have met many people who have had to cope with family loss, sometimes in the most tragic of circumstances. So I count myself fortunate that my mother was blessed with a long and happy life.”

An average of 5.1 million people watched BBC1’s coverage of the Queen Mother’s funeral, while 2.7 million tuned into ITV.

But the 2002 event took place on a Tuesday morning, whereas the duke’s funeral is on a Saturday so may attract a bigger audience.

Sam Hancock15 April 2021 20:06

Census staff forced to take unpaid leave over duke’s death

England and Wales’ Census staff have been forced to take unpaid leave due to the death of Prince Philip, according to new reports.

Thousands of temporary workers at the Office for National Statistics (ONS), many earning just over £10 an hour, were told their work would halt out of respect for the Duke of Edinburgh but they would have to “make up their hours”.

In an email, sent to field staff and seen by the Guardian, they were told they should stop working immediately and go home.

“Following the sad news of the death of HRH the Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, in line with civil service protocol we are recalling all staff from the field with immediate effect. Please return home. Some pre-planned activity can continue,” it reportedly read.

Employees were told they would need to “make up” their hours for the week over the next few days, and were advised that if they were unable to do this they should speak to their manager, the newspaper claims.

Further guidance was then promised to workers in due course, which ONS said would outline the process during the mourning period between the day of Philip’s death and the funeral - taking place on Saturday.

Field staff call at all residential addresses where there is no record of a census return (PA Wire)
Sam Hancock15 April 2021 19:38

A timeline of Prince Philip’s funeral on Saturday

As more details emerge about the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral on Saturday, here is a timeline of key events known so far.

11am: The coffin, which will be covered with Prince Philip’s personal standard along with his sword, naval cap and a wreath of flowers, will be moved from the private chapel to the inner hall of Windsor Castle.

2pm: The lord chamberlain, the constable and governor of Windsor Castle and the dean of Windsor will be present in the inner hall.

2.10pm: The dean will say prayers before leaving by car to St George’s Chapel.

By 2.15pm: Representatives from the services are in place in the quadrangle to show Philip’s special military relationships. The area will also be lined by the Household Cavalry and The Foot Guards.

2.17pm: The band of the Grenadier Guards will be in Engine Court.

Between 2.20pm and 2.27pm: Members of the royal family and Philip’s relatives who are not taking part in the procession will leave Windsor Castle and make their way to the chapel.

2.27pm: The Land Rover on which the coffin will be placed enters the quadrangle while bands at the site begin to play music.

2.38pm: The coffin is lifted in the inner hall.

2.40pm: Members of Philip’s household take up their positions in the procession and the bands stop playing music.

2.41pm: The coffin emerges from the state entrance and is met by members of the royal family who are walking in the procession. A royal salute is given and the coffin is placed on the Land Rover.

2.44pm: The Queen, accompanied by a lady-in-waiting, leaves from the sovereign’s entrance in the state Bentley as the national anthem is played.

2.45pm: The procession, which is planned to take eight minutes, sets off.

The firing of minute guns by The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery and the sound of the curfew tower bell will sound as members of the royal family who are already at St George’s Chapel stand to view the procession.

The Queen will be received by the dean of Windsor who will show the mourners at the service to their seats.

2.53pm: The Land Rover arrives at the foot of the west steps of the chapel. A Royal Navy piping party will sound once the Land Rover stops and the pall bearers take their positions.

The coffin will be carried up the steps and halt on the second landing as members of the royal family take their positions on the steps.

3pm: The national minute’s silence, signalled by a gun fired by The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery, takes place.

After the minute’s silence, the coffin is placed on the catafalque in the quire and members of the royal family who have walked in the procession will take their places for the service, which is set to last 50 minutes and will be conducted by the dean of Windsor.

By 4pm: After the service, the Queen and members of the royal family and Philip’s relatives will leave the chapel via the galilee porch.

Sam Hancock15 April 2021 19:20

Twitter reacts to news Prince William and Harry will walk apart

Sam Hancock15 April 2021 19:00

Philip’s funeral to include traditional naval send-off

Action Stations, sounded on naval warships to signal all hands must go to battle stations, will be played at Prince Philip’s funeral - at his request.

Buglers of the Royal Marines will perform the wartime alert, a tradition sometimes associated with naval funerals, in honour of Philip’s active service in the Royal Navy during the Second World War. The Last Post will also be played to signify “a soldier has gone to his final rest”.

A senior 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 duke wanted the call to echo around the vast 15th century St George’s Chapel as his family gathered for his ceremonial royal farewell on Saturday, the palace said.

“I think it just goes to show the level of detail that the duke went into around his own funeral service,” the official said.

It is a fitting testimony to remind many people who might not realise that the duke saw active service in the Second World War aboard a ship in the Royal Navy.

Sam Hancock15 April 2021 18:45

Staunch royalist Piers Morgan hits out at funeral’s ‘heartbreakingly sad’ Covid restrictions

Sam Hancock15 April 2021 18:30

‘Is the world ready for Harry’s awkward family reunion?’

Comedy writer Ali-Asghar Abedi gives his version of the potentially awkward reunion between Prince Harry - who has flown home for his late grandfather’s funeral - and his family:

“It will have escaped few readers that the world’s most controversial redhead is meeting his family for the first time since his and Meghan Markle’s explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey in March.

And yes, once he lands back on British soil, one assumes he’ll be able to benefit from that free security he and Meg complained had been taken away once they upped sticks to the West Coast of the US of A. Small mercies.”

Is the world ready for Harry’s awkward family reunion at Prince Philip’s funeral? | Ali-Asghar Abedi

As Britain mourns the death of one 99-year-old man during a pandemic that has killed nearly 3 million, our controversial redhead will have to make nice with a less-than-happy family

Sam Hancock15 April 2021 18:15

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