Funeral arrangements for the late Prince Philip are underway in the UK but little is known so far about how the Duke of Edinburgh will be honored. According to initial reports, he will not lie in state and there will be no state funeral because he had insisted that he did not want the "fuss" after his death.
However, Prince Philip, who died at the age of 99 on Friday, is expected to get a royal ceremonial funeral but in a socially-distanced service in St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle. Also, no public viewings are expected, because of two reasons — first because of the pandemic and then the Duke of Edinburg had earlier expressed his desire to have a quite funeral.
Create No 'Fuss'
As the consort of Queen Elizabeth II, Philip is entitled to a state funeral, which would have involved a military procession to Westminster Abbey and his casket lying in state. However, that's not happening. Although, the death of Prince Philip will see days of public mourning, the Duke of Edinburgh himself has been quoted as saying he didn't want fuss after his death. So, it is unlikely that he will be laid in state.
So, instead of being placed in Westminster Hall, his body is expected to lie in St James's Palace where Diana, Princess of Wales, was laid for several days after her death in 1997. Moreover, no public viewings are expected. A service would then been held either at Westminster Abbey or St. Paul's Cathedral, with the burial at St. George's Chapel.
However, his ceremonial royal funeral will be televised and broadcast to the country and across the world with crowds anywhere to be discouraged. Buckingham Palace is expected to announce the details and arrangements for the duke's funeral in the next day or so as the Queen enters eight days of mourning.
What are the Royal Funeral Categories?
There are three royal funeral categories that are observed by the British Royal Family going by the ranks and positions of the deceased. A state funeral is observed for the sovereign or high ranking people that in the past had included the likes of Lord Nelson and Winston Churchill.
The other is the ceremonial funeral for members of the Royal family who had at some point held a high military rank, for the sovereign's consort and heir to the throne. Prince Philip was definitely part of this given that he had joined the Royal Navy at the age of 18 and had also graduated from the Britannia Royal Naval College as a top cadet. He saw active duty from the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean, and in 1945 at the end of World War II, he was in Tokyo Bay when the Japanese surrendered.
And in the third category, a private family funeral for all other members of the Royal Family, their spouses and children is given, which too he automatically qualifies for.
However, in keeping with the wishes of Prince Philip he won't lie in state. The last royal family member to lie in state was the Queen Mother, who died in 2002. She and Princess Diana, who passed in 1997, had ceremonial and not state funerals.
What's Expected of the Final Journey?
According to a report in The Sun, Prince Philip could be honored with a military funeral and private service at St. George's Chapel in Windsor. His burial could also take place at Frogmore Gardens instead. In that case, the event won't be broadcast as TV cameras will not be allowed inside the service. The service will include a military presence, given his career in the Royal Navy.
That said, the burial in all likelihood is expected to take place at St. George's Chapel. Lord Chamberlain, the most senior officer of the royal household, will be in charge of arrangements. On the day of the burial, the gun carriage holding the coffin would pass around the Queen Victoria Memorial, Buckingham Palace and up Constitution Hill to Wellington Arch.
A statement within a wooden frame is expected to be pinned to the railings outside Buckingham Palace in London, with a series of gun salutes also possible.
Union flags will fly at half-mast on royal buildings where the Queen is not in residence, although the royal standard never flies at half-mast. For the public, there will be a memorial website where people can leave their condolences.
The Queen is also expected to broadcast a televised message to the nation at some stage over the next few days but nothing has been finalized yet. Also, members of the military would be leading the procession, with the royal family and household following them but the Queen is expected to go straight to Windsor.