Prince Philip: Queen leads Royal Family as Duke remembered at poignant funeral service at Windsor Castle

The Queen sitting alone at the service. Credit: PA

The Queen has led the Royal Family as the Duke of Edinburgh's life and legacy was remembered during a funeral service reflecting his naval career, passion for engineering and dedication to his wife.

During the poignant ceremony attended by the Queen and his children and grandchildren, the duke was described as enriching the lives of all those he knew with his “kindness, humour and humanity”.

Because of Covid restrictions, the Queen was seen sitting alone in the chapel, with the 30 invited guests sat socially distanced apart.

In the spring sunshine, the funeral procession made its way through the precincts of the castle. Philip’s children – Prince of Wales, Princess Royal, Duke of York and Earl of Wessex – walked behind his coffin carried by a Land Rover Defender hearse the Queen’s consort helped design.

They were joined by the duke’s grandsons the Duke of Sussex, Duke of Cambridge and Peter Phillips and Vice Admiral Tim Lawrence, the Princess Royal’s husband, and the Queen’s nephew the Earl of Snowdon.

It was followed for part of its final journey by the Queen, who travelled in a Bentley with Lady Susan Hussey, with her trusted lady-in-waiting. Every minute of the procession, which lasted eight minutes, a gun was fired by the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery from the East Lawn of Windsor Castle.

Chris Ship reflects on why the funeral will have resonated with many families over this last year

As the coffin arrived at St George’s Chapel, the nation came to a halt to observe a minute’s silence in memory of the duke.

The Dean of Windsor, in the Bidding, paid tribute to Philip: “With grateful hearts, we remember the many ways in which his long life has been a blessing to us.

“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.

“Our lives have been enriched through the challenges that he has set us, the encouragement that he has given us, his kindness, humour and humanity.”

Prince Charles leads members of the Royal Family walking behind the coffin. Credit: PA

His love of the sea and long association with the Royal Navy permeated the service reduced choir of four singing the hymn “Eternal Father, Strong to Save” – traditionally associated with seafarers and the maritime armed services.

The duke's body was interred in the Royal Vault of St George’s Chapel. His coffin was placed on a catafalque on a marble slab in the Quire and lowered into the vault by electric motor.

The funeral was the first time the Queen, grieving for her devoted companion of 73 years, has been officially seen in public since Philip died eight days ago.

As the Queen first took her seat in the ancient carved wooden stalls of St George’s Chapel, she was entirely alone on the south side of quire, while the other members of her family due to be seated in her row were walking in the procession.

The service, on the grounds of Windsor Castle, was one of the smallest events to mark the death of a senior member of the British monarchy in living memory due to Covid restrictions.

Following the service, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have paid tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh on the day of his funeral, describing him as a “devoted consort to Her Majesty The Queen”.

Just 30 people were allowed at the service in St George’s Chapel which is something that would likely have suited Prince Philip, who never wanted a large affair.

In keeping with his wishes, no sermon was delivered during the ceremonial royal service.

  • Who attended the service?

Members of the Royal Family attending the service alongside The Queen include Prince Philip's oldest son Charles and his wife the Duchess of Cornwall.

Princess Anne and her husband Vice Admiral Sir Timothy James Hamilton Laurence, Prince Edward and his wife Sophie, the Countess of Wessex and Prince Andrew also attended.

Grandson Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge were at the service as was Prince Harry.

The Duke of Cambridge, left, and the Duke of Sussex, right, at Windsor Castle, Berkshire Credit: Alastair Grant/PA

It is understood Harry's wife Meghan, who is heavily pregnant with her second child, had made every effort to join her husband but was not given clearance to travel by her doctor.

Eldest granddaughter of Prince Philip, Zara Tindall and her husband Mike Tindall attended alongside the other grandchildren Peter Phillips, Princess Eugenie, Princess Beatrice, Lady Louise Windsor and Viscount Severn.

The Duchess of Cambridge, the Duke of Cambridge and Earl of Wessex during the Duke of Edinburgh's funeral at St George's Chapel. Credit: PA

Other guests included the Earl of Snowdon, Lady Sarah Chatto and her husband David Chatto, Daniel Chatto, the Duke of Gloucester and the Duke of Kent.

Prince Philip's carriage-driving companion, Penelope “Penny” Knatchbull, also attended.

Prince Donatus was joined by fellow German relatives of the Duke, Bernhard, Hereditary Prince of Baden and Prince Philipp of Hohenlohe-Langenburg.

The Duchess of Cambridge and the Duchess of Cornwall watching the procession at the Galilee Porch of St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, during the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh Credit: Steve Parsons/PA

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

Prime Minister Boris Johnson watched the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral on television from his country residence Chequers, in Buckinghamshire.

He decided not to attend to allow for as many members of the family to attend as possible.

Members of the Royal family attend the funeral service of the Duke of Edinburgh in St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA
  • The Order of Service

During the service, a choir of four singers (three of whom are Lay Clerks of St George’s Chapel Choir) was conducted by James Vivian and the organ will be played by Luke Bond.

Music, chosen by the Duke, included the hymn “Eternal Father, Strong to Save” – traditionally associated with seafarers and the maritime armed services.

Written in 1860 by William Whiting, it was was inspired by the dangers of the sea described in Psalm 107.

The Queen watches as pallbearers carry the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh into St George’s Chapel Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA

It was also sung at the funeral of Philip’s beloved uncle, Earl Mountbatten of Burma, who was murdered by the IRA in 1979.

The music will not be the only reference to Philip's close connection with the armed services.

On the altar, his insignia - medals and decorations together with his Field Marshal's baton, Royal Air Force Wings and insignia from Denmark and Greece - was be positioned on cushions on the chapel's altar.

Members of the military outside St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle Credit: Hannah McKay/PA

No members of the royal family read lessons or gave readings and there was no eulogy.

This is in keeping with the Queen Mother’s funeral in 2002, when the delivery of readings was left to the clergy, and there was no eulogy then either.

It is not common for eulogies to take place at royal funerals or for family members to do readings.

A sermon at the Queen Mother’s service was carried out by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

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  • The burial

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

It was placed on a catafalque on a marble slab in the Quire and lowered into the Vault by electric motor.

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

The coffin on the back of the Land Rover. Credit: PA

But the chapel will not be his final resting place.

When the Queen dies, Philip will be transferred to the gothic church’s King George VI memorial chapel to lie alongside his wife.

After the burial, the Queen, members of the Royal Family and the Duke of Edinburgh's family departed the chapel via Galilee Porch.

The Dukes of Cambridge and Sussex, whose fraught relationship has been characterised by internal rowing, could be seen chatting together after the service concluded.

William paused briefly to walk in step with his wife, the Duchess of Cambridge, and his younger brother, as the mourners made their way out of St George’s Chapel.