Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, husband of Queen Elizabeth II, and the longest-serving consort of any British monarch has been laid to rest in an intimate funeral at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle on Saturday (April 17). He passed away peacefully on Friday (April 9) morning at Windsor Castle at the age of 99.
He had returned to Windsor on March 16 to be reunited with the Queen after spending a month in hospital – his longest stay. He initially received care for an infection but then under went heart surgery for a pre-existing condition. Prince Philip was married to the Queen for more than 70 years, and was just weeks from his milestone 100th birthday on June 10.
Born in Corfu, Greece, in 1921, Prince Philip was the youngest child and only son of Prince Andrew of Greece, an officer in the Greek army, and Princess Alice of Battenberg. A great-great-grandchild of Queen Victoria, who once described himself as “a discredited Balkan prince of no particular merit or distinction”, Prince Philip played a key role in the development of the modern monarchy in Britain.
He devoted many hours to supporting British institutions and was a passionate advocate for the environment. He had taken up more than 22,000 solo engagements, 637 overseas visits, delivered an estimated 5,493 speeches and worked as a patron to almost 800 organizations. He announced his retirement from public duties in 2017. Often Prince Philip received little public recognition for his endeavours. In part this was due to his uncomfortable relationship with the press, whom he labelled “bloody reptiles.”
People across Britain held a moment of silence before the funeral, and the service reflected Prince Philip’s dedication to military service. His coffin was draped in his personal flag-which pays tribute to his Greek heritage and his British titles- his Admiral of the Fleet Naval cap and sword and military bands played tribute to him.
With her head bowed, the Queen sat alone as she made her final farewell to her husband during the sad event. The Archbishop of Canterbury personalised a prayer for Prince Philip, paying tribute to his loyalty and sense of duty. The Dean of Windsor gave a commendation as the coffin was lowered, into the Royal Vault-where will be laid to rest alongside other members of the Royal family- saying “Go forth upon thy journey from this world, O Christian soul.”
The Royal Marines then played “Action Stations,” normally a call for battle stations on a ship, as the prince had requested. The service ended with a rendition of “God Save the Queen,” sung by the four-strong choir.
The 50-minute service was attended by just 30 guests but watched by millions on television.
The end of the funeral ends an eight-day period of national mourning for Prince Philip. Parliament will resume passing laws and scheduling on the British Broadcasting Corp. will return to normal.
Flags in Britain that have flown at half-staff at royal residences since his death will remain that way until Sunday (April 18).
The queen will stay at Windsor Castle and she and her family remain in mourning until April 22.
With reporting by Sky News, the WSJ and agencies