The Queen’s Mourning Period and Prince Philip’s Funeral Plans

The 99-year-old Duke of Edinburgh passed away “peacefully” at Windsor Castle this morning, Friday, April 9. Buckingham Palace announced, “It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen has announced the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.”

With the country’s affairs of state now on pause in a sign of respect, the queen will also refrain from carrying out royal duties in the days ahead. A further period of royal mourning will continue afterward for an additional 30 days, which will be reflected across royal households where guardsmen are already wearing black armbands on their tunics.

Following in the footsteps of all royal households, national flags on government buildings are now expected to fly at half-mast. In cases where nonofficial flags, such as Pride or military-related flags, are being flown, it is expected that all will temporarily be replaced with the flags of the country until 8 a.m. on the day after the duke’s funeral.

Preparations for Prince Philip’s funeral are already underway. Famous for wanting his final departure to be a simpler affair than the state funeral he is entitled to, officials have already confirmed that the duke will have a royal ceremonial funeral.

Philip—who would have turned 100 in June—was closely involved with the arrangements for his own funeral, which are now being coordinated by the Lord Chamberlain’s Office at Buckingham Palace. Though the majority of the original plans are in place, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic means that many details will need to be modified following consultation with the government.

Rather than lying in state at Westminster Abbey, the Royal College of Arms confirms that Philip’s body—which will not be viewable to the public—will lie at St James’s Palace, where Prince Diana also lay for several days before her 1997 funeral.

It is unknown whether heads of state from Commonwealth countries will be able to attend in the same numbers due to current COVID-19 restrictions, but family and friends will all be in attendance at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle for the military-style funeral. Unlike other British monarchs and consorts who are buried at Westminster Abbey or St George’s Chapel, Philip’s burial will take place at a private location (possibly Frogmore Gardens on the grounds of Windsor Castle).

It is not yet known whether Prince Harry will be able to attend his grandfather’s funeral, but current travel restrictions mean that anyone who is not exempt will need to quarantine for 10 days upon arrival to the United Kingdom from the United States. It is unlikely that Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, will be able to travel, as she is currently in the late stages of pregnancy.

Due to the pandemic and the U.K. currently being under national lockdown, mourners are being “regretfully requested” to not attempt to attend or participate in any of the events that make up the funeral. The royal family has also asked well-wishers to consider making a donation to a charity instead of leaving floral tributes in memory of Prince Philip. Those who wish to leave messages can do so in an online Book of Condolence on the royal website here.

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