Queen Elizabeth bade farewell to Prince Philip at a funeral today (Sat) that celebrated his seven decades of service and gave grandsons William and Harry the chance to talk in public for the first time since claims of racism threw the family into crisis.
Elizabeth, dressed in black and in a white trimmed black face mask, stood alone, head bowed as her husband of 73 years was lowered into the Royal Vault of St George’s Chapel in a service attended by senior royals including heir Prince Charles.
Prince Harry, who flew from the United States to attend the funeral, walked and talked with his brother William and wife Kate at the end of the service – the first time they have spoken in public since Harry and his wife Meghan gave an explosive interview to Oprah Winfrey last month.
That crisis came as Philip lay in hospital. Officially known as the Duke of Edinburgh, Philip died aged 99 on April 9.
Philip, who married Elizabeth in 1947, helped the young queen adapt the monarchy to the changing times of the post-World War Two era as the loss of empire and the decline of deference challenged the world’s most prominent royal family.
In 1997, the queen described Philip as her “strength and stay” over their decades of marriage. Now 94, she has reigned for 69 years.
Her husband’s coffin was borne to the chapel on a bespoke Land Rover Defender TD 130 in military green that Philip himself helped to design, as a minute gun fired eight times.
Philip’s children and grandchildren followed behind on foot, evoking memories of the 1997 funeral of Diana when William and Harry – then just 15 and 12 – walked behind their mother’s coffin.
His 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 queen also adorned the coffin.
There were just 30 mourners inside the chapel because of continuing coronavirus restrictions in Britain. As the service began at 3 p.m.(1400 GMT), British Prime Minister Boris Johnson observed a minute’s silence, along with millions of Britons.
Before the procession, military bands spaced out across the quadrangle of Windsor Castle in brilliant sunshine to play the prince’s chosen music, including “I Vow To Thee My Country”, “Jerusalem” and “Nimrod”.