The procession that accompanies Prince Philip’s coffin left on Saturday the courtyard of Windsor Castle, the royal residence in west London where Elizabeth II’s husband died eight days ago, to St George’s Chapel, where he will be buried.
The eight-minute procession began with the transfer of the coffin in a Land Rover that the prince helped design, followed by the closest members of the royal family, including their four children, on foot, followed by the queen in A car.
Queen Elizabeth II thus gives the last goodbye to the man with whom she was married for 73 years, her “strength and support”, Prince Philip.
Funeral of Prince Philip
Queen Elizabeth II leads the ceremony
The ceremony began with a minute of silence before the start of the religious service in St. George, the 15th century Gothic chapel located in the almost thousand-year-old Windsor Castle, some 50 km west of London.
The four children and several of the royal couple’s grandchildren walked there in the Land Rover specially designed by Felipe to carry his coffin during a brief funeral procession through the castle gardens.
The queen followed them in a car, an official Bentley, with a lady-in-waiting.
Queen Elizabeth II arrives at the Royal Bentley for the funeral of her husband, Britain’s Prince Philip. Photo: AFP.
However, the monarch, who turns 95 on Wednesday, sat alone in the chapel to say goodbye to her husband, the man she married while still a princess in 1947 and whose death leaves her alone in the twilight of her reign.
Numerous royal experts assure that it was Felipe who managed with an iron hand a family marked by crises, helping the queen to weather the scandals.
All eyes were on Princes Harry and William, whose relationships are strained, looking for some sign of reconciliation.
William and Harry fired their grandfather, Prince Philip. Photo: dpa
This was the 36-year-old Harry’s first public appearance with royalty since he and his wife Meghan, who did not travel to the UK because she was pregnant, abandoned their royal duties and moved to California.
Enrique did not walk with his 38-year-old brother, however. Among them was his cousin Peter Phillips, fueling speculation about a persistent dispute.
Following the funeral, presided over by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, spiritual leader of the Anglicans, the Duke is to be buried in private in the royal vault of St George’s Chapel.
Due to the coronavirus, the British were asked not to travel to Windsor. Even so, some decided to make the trip while the majority of the country followed the act on television.
“People are not supposed to come, but this is a great event, the only one in a generation, the Duke was special so we waited for a lot of people,” Mark, 57, one of dozens of agents, told AFP. security deployed on the streets of Windsor.
In the vicinity of the castle, onlookers were also silent, such as Kaya Mar, a 65-year-old painter who arrived on the first train from London with a large portrait of Felipe under his arm.
“It was very important for me to be here today,” he said, considering that “he was a good man” and “the country will miss him.”
Covered with his sword, his naval cap and his personal banner, the duke’s coffin had been transferred in the morning by bearers of the First Battalion of Grenadiers – of which Felipe was a colonel for 42 years – from the private chapel of the royal family to another castle hall.
Preparing for the procession, the royal guards in their tall black bear-hair caps and dozens of representatives of other military corps positioned themselves, perfectly aligned, on the impeccable lawn of the castle’s central courtyard as the fanfare sounded.
Heads of service at the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral at Windsor Castle. Photo: EFE.
Under a bright sun, the duke’s personal carriage arrived at the scene, drawn by his two ponies and wearing the deceased’s cap and gloves.
On the steps leading to the chapel, the representatives of the cavalry were positioned, dressed in full dress, with their metallic torsos and helmets with long plumes.
The prince consort, who died in Windsor on April 9, two months before his 100th birthday, was a constant presence with Elizabeth II since, at just 25 years old, she was crowned in 1952, when the United Kingdom was rebuilding after the World War II and his empire was beginning to crumble.
The monarch posted a poignant personal photograph of them relaxing and smiling on Saturday in 2003 in Scotland’s Cairngorms National Park.
And images of key moments of the marriage were disseminated on the royal family’s social networks.
The funerals of British royalty are usually of great scope, perfected over years and attended by monarchs and leaders from around the world.
But the restrictions imposed by the coronavirus forced to modify the plans for Felipe’s burial, which were limited to 30 intimate guests with masks and safety distances.
With information from AP.
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