What we know about Prince Philip's funeral, the days ahead and how the Covid pandemic has changed plans

ITV News Reporter Chloe Keedy gives a rundown of what will happen at Prince Philip's funeral

In normal times, royal funerals in the UK can match the scale of royal weddings, but the Duke of Edinburgh’s ceremony will be one of the smallest send-offs of a senior member of the British monarchy in living memory.

Just 30 people will be permitted in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle due to Covid-19 restrictions – something which is likely to suit Philip, who never wanted a large affair.

There will be no lying in state and no state funeral for Philip, in accordance with his wishes, but coronavirus rules mean even more traditions will not be followed.

The funeral will take place on Saturday, April 17, at 3pm inside the grounds of Windsor Castle, it was confirmed by Buckingham Palace.

Here's how the day will unfold:

It will be a royal ceremonial funeral as expected and will be televised.

The public have been told not to attend Windsor on the day, or any of the other Palaces in the days leading up to the funeral, and only the Royal Family will be in attendance at St George's Chapel.

The Queen will have the final say over the Duke of Edinburgh's funeral Credit: Press Eye

Here's what we know about the funeral and events which might take place over the coming days:

  • Forth Bridge

The Lord Chamberlain has finalised the long-held master plan – codenamed Forth Bridge – for the Duke’s funeral and the days leading up to it with the Queen and set in motion the carefully orchestrated programme of events.

Prince Philip helped draw up the details himself and was determined there should be a minimum of fuss.

Behind the scenes, aides and household staff will already have a contingency plan for use during the coronavirus outbreak, but will be busy adjusting it in line with current advice.

  • Procession


The duke’s coffin, accompanied by the Dean of Windsor and the Lord Chamberlain, will be moved to the state entrance of Windsor Castle by a Bearer Party of The Queen’s Company, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards.

The coffin will emerge and the Bearer Party will place it onto a specially modified Land Rover, which Philip helped to design, to transport it to St George’s Chapel.

St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle Credit: Victoria Jones/PA


The Queen, accompanied by a lady-in-waiting, leaves from the Sovereign’s Entrance in the State Bentley as the national anthem is played. The Bentley will pause as it reaches the rear of the procession so the front section of the procession can turn to face the direction of travel.


The procession from the state entrance to the West Steps of the chapel sets off, it is planned to take eight minutes.

The Prince of Wales and members of the royal family will take part in the procession on foot, immediately behind the Duke’s coffin, together with staff from Philip’s household.

The route of the procession will be lined by representatives drawn from the Royal Navy, the Royal Marines, the Highlanders, 4th Battalion Royal Regiment of Scotland and the Royal Air Force.

Minute guns will be fired by the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery from the east lawn of Windsor Castle for the duration of the procession, and the Curfew Tower Bell will toll.

The Queen will be received by the Dean of Windsor who will show the mourners at the service, including those who have been watching the procession, to their seats.

A royal salute is given by the Windsor Castle Guard as the coffin passes the Parade Ground.


A Guard of Honour and Band from The Rifles will receive the coffin at the foot of the West Steps, with the national anthem being played as the coffin enters Horseshoe Cloister.

A bearing party of Royal Marines will carry the coffin up the steps and pause for the minute’s silence at 3pm, as members of the royal family take their positions on the steps.

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A national minute’s silence will be held at 3pm before the funeral service begins, signalled by a gun fired by The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery.

Following the minute’s silence, the Dean of Windsor, together with the Archbishop of Canterbury, will receive the coffin at the top of the West Steps.

In keeping with coronavirus guidelines to limit guests inside the chapel, most of the procession will not enter the chapel, except for 30 members of the royal family and guests.

The funeral service will begin as the coffin enters St George’s Chapel.

  • The funeral service

The service will include a congregation of 30 seated guests in The Quire at St George’s Chapel.

All guests, including the Queen, will have to sit apart and wear face masks during the service.

No member of the Royal Family will wear their military uniform at the funeral, they instead will be wearing Morning Coat with medals or Day Dress. This is to avoid embarrassment following Prince Harry’s departure and Prince Andrew’s stepping down.

After the national minute's silence, the Duke's coffin will be placed on the Catafalque in the Quire and members of the royal family who have walked in the procession will take their places for the service which is set to last 50 minutes and will be conducted by the Dean of Windsor.

A small choir of four will sing pieces of music chosen by the Duke of Edinburgh, but no member of the congregation will be allowed to sing, this is in accordance with Covid restrictions.

At the conclusion of the service, the Duke's coffin will be lowered into the Royal Vault in St George's Chapel and the national anthem will be sung by the choir.

After the burial, the Queen, members of the Royal Family and the Duke of Edinburgh's familt will then depart the chapel via Galilee Porch.

  • Burial

The Duke will be buried in the Royal Vault in St George’s Chapel on the same day as the funeral.

This interment service will be private, attended by the Queen and senior members of the royal family.

  • No memorial service

In accordance with Philip’s wishes, there will be no official memorial service.

  • What has been cut out due to the pandemic?

There will be no public element to the funeral. It will take place entirely in the grounds of the castle.

Original long-held plans for military processions through London or Windsor have been scrapped, and the royal family is asking the public not to gather at the Castle or other royal residences.

  • Guests

Just 30 people will attend, instead of 800 as originally planned.

The full guest list has been announced by Buckingham Palace, and will be formed of the Queen, the monarch and Philip’s children and grandchildren, and their respective spouses.

Also included on the guestlist are members of the Duke's family, they are Bernhard, Hereditary Prince of Baden; Prince Donatus, Landgrave of Hesse; and Prince Philipp of Hohenlohe-Langenburg.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s carriage-driving companion – one of his closest confidantes – Countess Mountbatten of Burma will join mourners at Philip’s funeral.

As will the Queen's first cousins, Princess Alexandra, the Duke of Gloucester and the Duke of Kent, who loyally supported the monarch and Philip by carrying out royal duties over the decades.

But missing from the list of the monarch’s cousins is Prince Michael of Kent, 78, who is not a working royal.

Sophie dressed in black after visiting the Queen Credit: Steve Parsons/PA

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will not attend to allow for the attendance of as many family members as possible during coronavirus restrictions, No 10 has said.

The Royal Family has asked members of the public consider making a donation to a charity instead of leaving floral tributes in memory of the Duke.

An online Book of Condolence for those who wish to leave messages is available on the Royal website.

  • Face masks

The Queen and her family will be required to wear face masks during the funeral service, and must socially distance from one another if they are not part of the same household, according to current guidelines.

The Queen in a face mask in London’s Westminster Abbey last year Credit: Aaron Chown/PA
  • Harry and Meghan

The pregnant Duchess of Sussex has been advised by her doctor not to travel to the UK for the funeral, but the Duke of Sussex will be attending.

Prince Harry is currently quarantining after travelling from the US to the UK, a provision in the law will allow him to leave quarantine on "compassionate" grounds, which includes funerals.

  • A minute’s silence

A national minute’s silence will take place at 3pm on Saturday before the start of the funeral service.

  • Royal mourning

The Queen and the Royal Family have entered two weeks of royal mourning, starting from the day of Philip’s death.

Royal mourning will be observed by members of the family and their households, together with troops committed to ceremonial duties.

  • Some official engagements will continue

During this period, the royals will continue undertaking engagements appropriate to the circumstances.

The Queen returned to royal duties on Tuesday - four days after the death of her husband the Duke of Edinburgh - to host a ceremony to mark the retirement of her household’s most senior official, former Lord Chamberlain Earl Peel.

Mourning bands will be worn where appropriate.

  • Clergy

The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Dean of Windsor will take part in the funeral service.

  • Televised address

It is not yet known whether the Queen will decide to give a televised address in tribute to Philip.

But Prince Charles has delivered a moving televised message on behalf of his family to his “dear Papa”, highlighting his “remarkable, devoted service to the Queen”.

  • Coffin at rest

The Duke’s coffin will remain at rest in the private chapel of Windsor Castle until the day of the funeral and will not lie in state.

This has long been reported as the plan but, amid the Covid-19 pandemic, has the added benefit of freeing the government and the Royal Household from a series of logistical nightmares.

The Queen Mother – the last sovereign’s consort to die – lay in state in Westminster Hall, allowing hundreds of thousands of people, who queued for hours, to file past to pay their respects.

But Philip always insisted he did not want this honour.

The monarch and the royal family will pay their respects in private, as will household staff.

Philip’s children are likely to hold a private vigil at some stage around the coffin if restrictions permit.

  • The Land Rover procession

Just before the funeral, Philip’s coffin will be moved onto a specially modified Land Rover he helped to design.

It will process slowly through the castle grounds, where military will be present in tribute, followed by heir to the throne Charles and other members of the royal family on foot.

The Duke of Edinburgh owned Land Rovers throughout his life Credit: PA
  • Details honouring the Duke

Philip’s coffin will be draped with his personal standard, and decorated with a wreath of flowers and his Naval cap and sword.

The Duke’s insignia – medals and decorations conferred on him by the UK and Commonwealth countries; his Field Marshal’s baton; Royal Air Force Wings; and insignia from Denmark and Greece will be prepositioned on cushions on the altar in St George’s Chapel.

  • Military

The Duke’s funeral had been due to have a strong military presence in recognition of his naval career and his links with the armed forces.

But the prospect of creating a spectacle that could potentially attract hundreds of thousands of people means there will no longer be a military procession in London or any processions through Windsor.

A military involvement is expected to take place within the grounds of Windsor Castle.

The Duke had a long association with the military service. Credit: PA

Those servicemen and women taking part will rapidly begin their preparations, from practising routines to polishing helmets and swords.

Royal dressers will be fastidiously choosing and preparing black mourning ensembles.

The Metropolitan Police will be tasked with dealing with the security needed in the days ahead, and preventing mass gatherings.

  • Flags

Union flags on royal buildings where the monarch is not in residence will fly at half-mast.

The Royal Standard never flies at half-mast because it represents the sovereign and the United Kingdom, and is a symbol of the continuation of the monarchy.

If the Queen is in residence at a royal palace or castle, the Royal Standard will fly there full-mast as is the tradition.

Flags will fly at half-mast until the Duke is laid to rest. Credit: PA

The Union flag does not fly there at the same time.

The Union flag will fly at half-mast over the Houses of Parliament and other key sites.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is in charge of lowering flags on government buildings.

  • Parliament

The House of Commons was recalled a day earlier than scheduled to honour the Duke of Edinburgh in a special session on Monday, opening with a sombre minute's silence.

MPs took turns to remember Prince Philip and recounted hilarious tales involving the Duke and his resounding sense of humour.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson thanked the Duke for his "service and loyalty" to the United Kingdom.

"A practical man who could take something very traditional, whether a machine or a great national institution and find a way, by his own ingenuity, to improve it, to adapt it for the 20th and 21st century," the prime minister said.

Mr Johnson also nodded to perhaps Prince Philip's most impactful exploit, the Duke of Edinburgh Awards, whose recipients are among the "millions" the PM said had been "touched" by his work.

Watch Prince Philip - A Royal Funeral from 1.15pm on Saturday 17 April on ITV and itv.com/news