At four in the afternoon of this Saturday, Spanish peninsular time, the eight Royal Marines who carried the coffin with the mortal remains of Philip of Edinburgh have paused on the first landing of the central stairs of the Chapel of St. George . The UK was currently observing a minute of national silence. The Windsor sky, a blue as intense as it had not been remembered in recent months, highlighted the stillness of all the figures grouped in a semicircle, in the gardens that surround the chapel. Charles of England, the heir to the throne, led a minimum cortege of eight males from the House of Windsor and one female, Princess Anne of the United Kingdom, which also included his children, Princes William and Henry. Two cannon salvos marked the beginning and end of the duel of silence. Waiting at the gates of the holy precinct were the Dean of Windsor, David Conner, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.
Minutes earlier, Conner had received Elizabeth II by another entry, who had arrived aboard the Bentley Royal minutes before the funeral procession. For the first time in his nearly 70 years as Prince Consort, the Duke of Edinburgh had been able to parade ahead of his wife, not two steps behind, as he never failed to do. In the last section, however, the official car went ahead so that the Monarch could access the chapel, where the rest of the royal family were already waiting.
Few times has an image revealed in all its magnitude the loneliness that the Queen will have to face from now on. In rigorous mourning, with the mandatory mask by the norms established by the pandemic, Elizabeth II entered alone, and alone she presided over the religious service. “It is something very, very deep, in the life of any person, and in that of the entire nation. To those who believe, I ask you to pray for her. To non-believers, please sympathize in your hearts, offer your condolences and trust that you can find the necessary strength in what will undoubtedly be a moment of anguish, “the Archbishop of Canterbury had told the BBC hours before the religious ceremony.
It was the Duke of Edinburgh himself who selected for himself, down to the smallest detail, the music, the military representatives and the religious readings that he wanted for a funeral that has not been of the State, but has been dressed to the maximum of dignity and solemnity. Including the lament intoned by the Piper Major of the Royal Regiment of Scotland, who was slowly leaving the chapel in a farewell image of great symbolism.
The British Government had asked citizens not to go to Windsor, to avoid concentrations that violate the rules of social distancing. Even so, hundreds of onlookers have prowled its surroundings throughout the morning.
One by one, the 30 members of the royal family who have attended the religious service, conveniently separated from each other and each with their respective mask, have slowly left the chapel at the end of a short and simple ceremony, which has served to warn to the British that the death of the prince consort begins the beginning of the end of a long and stable era that began shortly after World War II, with the reign of Elizabeth II.
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