/Prince Philip funeral will be moment of anguish for Queen, says archbishop

Prince Philip funeral will be moment of anguish for Queen, says archbishop

The Queen may behave “with extraordinary dignity and extraordinary courage” but the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral at Windsor Castle on Saturday will be an “anguished moment” for her, the archbishop of Canterbury has said.

Justin Welby spoke as Buckingham Palace revealed there will be no sermon and no eulogy to Prince Philip, who for seven decades played a prominent role in the nation’s public life.

Eulogies are not common at royal funerals and neither are family readings, which are also absent from the order of service published on Friday night. It includes readings and music chosen by Prince Philip, and the lack of sermon is at his request.

The only words touching on the impact he made as the Queen’s consort of 73 years will be delivered by clergy in the bidding and prayers.

The monarch, who marks her 95th birthday on Wednesday, would require the support of the nation at this difficult time, said Welby, who will give the blessing at St George’s chapel, where the Queen is expected to sit alone.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.
The archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA

People should not judge her on “external” appearances on the day, he said. “She is the Queen. She will behave with the extraordinary dignity and extraordinary courage that she always does.”

But he told the BBC: “She is saying farewell to someone to whom she was married for 73 years … I think that must be a very, very profound thing in anybody’s life and I hope the whole nation, if they believe in that, they pray for her, and if they don’t, they sympathise in their hearts, offer their condolences to her, and they hope for her to find strength in what must be an anguished moment.”

The deeply religious service encompasses very personal touches. Benjamin Britten’s Jubilate in C will be sung, a piece specially commissioned by Philip for the St George’s chapel choir, which has been sung in the chapel for many years.

It will also feature psalm 104, which Philip many years ago requested be set to music by William Lovelady, and which was first sung in honour of Philip’s 75th birthday.

The hymn Eternal Father, Strong to Save reflects his strong attachment to the Royal Navy, and is traditionally associated with seafarers and the maritime armed services.

The dean of Windsor, the Rt Rev David Conner, will pay tribute to Philip’s “kindness, humour and humanity”. “With grateful hearts, we remember the many ways in which his long life has been a blessing to us,” he will say of the duke, who died last Friday aged 99. “We have been inspired by his unwavering loyalty to our Queen, by his service to the nation and the Commonwealth, by his courage, fortitude and faith.”

Welby will give thanks in the prayers “for his resolute faith and loyalty, for his high sense of duty and integrity, for his life of service to the nation and Commonwealth, and for the courage and inspiration of his leadership”.

For a penniless prince, forced to flee Corfu and sleep in an old orange box at 18 months, with only the worthless title Prince Philip of Greece, the duke amassed a very long list of styles and titles, which will be read out at the service by the garter king of arms.

Only 30 mourners are permitted, and all will wear masks and sit 2 metres apart during the 50-minute service, which ends with a bugler of the Royal Marines sounding Action Stations as the coffin is lowered into the royal vault beneath the altar. The warship bugle-call command to scramble for battle stations was specifically requested by the duke, a Royal Navy commander, and a second world war veteran.

Wreaths arriving at St George’s chapel included one from the prime minister, Boris Johnson, with the message: “In grateful memory of a man to whom the nation owes more than words can say.” With the public asked to stay away, Johnson will watch the service on television at Chequers, his country residence.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh attend a garden party in Paris.
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh attend a garden party in Paris. Photograph: Owen Humphreys/PA

A Royal Navy tribute read: “In gratitude for an exceptional life from all ranks of the Royal Navy. Fair winds and following seas.”

Mike Tindall paid tribute to the duke as a “devoted family man who we will forever miss but always love”.

The former England rugby player, who is married to the Queen and Philip’s granddaughter Zara Tindall, posted a picture from the royal family’s personal photograph albums of the duke with the Tindalls’ eldest daughter, Mia. Taken by the Duchess of Cambridge, it shows Mia and her great-grandfather eating as they sat together on a bench in front of a wooden cabin.

The Queen released a private photograph of her and Philip, taken in 2003 by the Countess of Wessex on the grass at the Coyles of Muick, a beauty spot near the town of Ballater in Aberdeenshire. The couple are smiling, and look completely at ease.

The Queen was spotted driving her Jaguar X-type through the grounds of Windsor Castle towards Frogmore Gardens on Friday, with her two new puppies, a corgi called Muick, named after Loch Muick on the Balmoral estate and a dorgi called Fergus, named after her uncle Fergus Bowes-Lyon, killed in action in the first world war.

A wreath sent by Boris Johnson is among floral tributes outside St George’s chapel at Windsor Castle.
A wreath sent by Boris Johnson is among floral tributes outside St George’s chapel at Windsor Castle. Photograph: Steve Parsons/AFP/Getty

She also conducted audiences by telephone with the governor general of Australia, David Hurley, and the prime minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, who offered their condolences.

Heathrow airport said no planes would land or take off for six minutes to coincide with the national minute’s silence at 3pm at the start of the funeral.

The security operation surrounding the funeral was likely to be on a “substantially smaller scale” than previous ceremonies, according to a former counter-terrorism chief. Nick Aldworth said the security operation may be “probably the easiest that we are likely to ever see for a royal funeral” as the event has been pared back amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The life of Prince Philip, the Queen’s ‘strength and stay’ – video obituary
The life of Prince Philip, the Queen’s ‘strength and stay’ – video obituary
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