PRINCE Philip's funeral plans are being revised due to Covid – and the public are not allowed to attend.
The Duke of Edinburgh, who was married to the Queen for 73 years and described as her constant strength, passed away "peacefully" at Windsor Castle this morning.
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The pandemic will have a major impact on the carefully laid funeral arrangements, made in consultation with the duke decades ago.
With lockdown restrictions still in place, the public elements of the final farewell will not be able to take place in their original form.
As the consort of the Queen, Prince Phillip is entitled to a state funeral.
But he will not have one. Instead his body will lie at rest in Windsor Castle ahead of a private service at St George's Chapel.
The decision is "in line with custom and with His Royal Highness' wishes", an official College of Arms statement said today.
It was previously reported the duke asked not to be given a state funeral in keeping with his no-fuss public image.
People have been urged to stay away from Windsor and London.
"It is regretfully requested that members of the public do not attempt to attend or participate in any of the events that make up the funeral," the College of Arms added.
Under the earlier arrangements for the coming days, codenamed Forth Bridge, thousands of people would have been expected to flock to London and Windsor.
Some may have even camped out overnight to get the best vantage points for a military procession of Philip's coffin on the day of his funeral.
Hundreds of members of the armed forces would have been called upon to line the streets in honour of the duke, along with thousands of police officers to keep control of crowds and protect the members of the royal family taking part.
Organisers are said to be "desperately anxious" not to stage anything that attracts mass gatherings and risks the spread of the virus, one source said.
The duke's funeral is still expected to be televised but it will look rather different.
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From the onset of the pandemic, planners have been busy behind the scenes working out a contingency strategy in case the duke died during the coronavirus crisis.
Preparations are expected to centre on Windsor Castle, without the military procession in London or any processions through Windsor.
But the exact final arrangements will depend on how the UK is coping with the outbreak.
England is still in its third national lockdown, with the nation progressing through the easing of restrictions.
The duke, who was vaccinated against coronavirus in January, spent much of 2020 and the start of 2021 at Windsor Castle after moving from the Sandringham estate in Norfolk to stay with the Queen ahead of the start of the first lockdown.
Current rules on funerals in England mean only a maximum of 30 people may attend, and they must socially distance if they do not live together or share a support bubble.
This means the Queen will have to decide which members of her large family should be invited.
The monarch, her children and other relatives present may have to wear face coverings and stay two metres away from one another if they are not from the same household.
It is likely there will be some military involvement to honour the duke's service to the armed forces.
This will most likely be socially distanced and in the confines of Windsor Castle's grounds.
World leaders and Commonwealth representatives, as well as foreign royals, former and current politicians and military chiefs, would have been among those due to be invited to gather at the funeral, but such arrangements will now be impossible.
Much depends on the guidance issued to the Royal Household from the Government over the next few days.
The fact that there will be no lying-in-state for the duke – which would have involved thousands of members of the public queuing to view his coffin – eases some of the potential problems for officials.
For the Queen Mother, who had a lying-in-state, some 11,887 police staff and 1,306 civil staff were deployed from the day of her death to the funeral, a Metropolitan Police report on the cost of policing public order events during 2002 disclosed.
The police will now have the task of ensuring crowds do not gather to pay their respects.
The Forth Bridge plans have been in place for many years, and were updated and reviewed regularly by Buckingham Palace staff in consultation with both the Queen and Philip.
A memorial service – not something the duke wanted – could be held at a later date after the nation has dealt with public health crisis.
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