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Wednesday, 12 May 2021 07:15 GMT

Prince Philip: Small Funeral to Bid Farewell to Duke of Edinburgh


(MENAFN - Daily Outlook Afghanistan) Queen Elizabeth II and close members of the royal family will bid a final farewell to Prince Philip on Saturday at a funeral restricted by coronavirus rules.
The ceremony, from behind the stately walls of Windsor Castle, west of London, will be watched by millions on television, with the public urged to stay away because of the pandemic.
The Duke of Edinburgh – described by royals as 'the grandfather of the nation – died aged 99 on April 9, just weeks after spending more than a month in hospital for treatment of a heart condition and an infection.
Britain's longest-serving royal consort was an almost constant presence at the queen's side during her record-breaking reign that began in 1952, as Britain rebuilt from World War II and as its global empire began to unravel.
His death, after 73 years of marriage, has left a 'huge void in her life, the couple's second son, Prince Andrew, said last weekend.
At the service that is due to last 50 minutes, the dean of Windsor, David Conner, will pay tribute to Philip's 'unwavering loyalty to the queen, who turns 95 next week, the country and the Commonwealth, as well as his 'courage, fortitude and faith.
Many elements of the funeral follow military and royal protocol, from the armed forces personnel lining the funeral route to the artillery salutes and Philip's naval cap and sword atop the coffin.
More than 700 military personnel are set to take part, including army bands, Royal Marine buglers and an honour guard drawn from across the armed forces.
The eight-minute procession will begin amid a backdrop of ceremonial gunfire and the tolling of the bell inside the castle's Curfew Tower.
His coffin will be borne to Windsor's historic St George's Chapel on a bespoke Land Rover hearse which he designed himself, repainted in military green.
A gunshot will mark a minute's silence which will be observed across the country on the stroke of 3pm (14:00 GMT) before the funeral service begins.
End of an era
The queen will lead just 30 mourners, as they pay their respects to the man she once called her 'strength and stay, and whose death closes a remarkable chapter for Britain's most famous family and the country's recent history.
The congregation will mostly be close family, including the couple's four children: heir to the throne Prince Charles, 72, Princess Anne, 70, Prince Andrew, 61, and Prince Edward, 57.
Also present will be Charles's eldest son William, 38, who will be joined by younger brother, Harry, 36, after he jetted back last weekend from the United States, where he now lives.
All eyes will be on the brothers – whose mother was Charles's first wife, Princess Diana – after a reported falling out over Harry's move to California with his American wife, Meghan, and their stinging criticisms of the royals.
Meghan, heavily pregnant with her second child, was advised not to travel on medical grounds.
The brothers, who as young boys walked behind their mother's coffin at her funeral in 1997, will follow the procession on foot, but not side-by-side.
Between them will be their cousin, Princess Anne's son Peter Phillips, 43, which will likely fuel further rumours of the rift, even if it reflects royal protocol.
All guests – in mourning black – are required to wear black face masks before, during and after the ceremony. Harry has had to quarantine since arriving from Los Angeles.
Royal officials and the government have urged the public not to congregate at palaces to pay their respects, although a steady stream of well-wishers have ignored the calls. (Aljazeera)

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