Funeral plans for Prince Philip have been announced. Just eight days after his death at the age of 99, the royal family will gather to honor their patriarch with a private memorial, “regretfully” not open to the public due to the pandemic. An official announcement from wife Queen Elizabeth II has yet to come, but BBC reports that the Duke of Edinburgh’s memorial will take place on Saturday, April 17 at St. George’s Chapel. The event will be televised from Windsor Castle, where the chapel is located. Under current pandemic restrictions in England, only 30 people may attend a funeral — including his grandson Prince Harry, 36, marking his first visit to the UK since his controversial interview.
Pregnant Meghan Markle will remain in California after being “advised by her physician not to travel,” a palace spokesperson confirmed on April 10. Due to COVID-19, the Royal Family has set up an online memorial for the public and urging people not to leave flowers or other items outside of Buckingham Palace. Other tributes for Prince Philip have also been confirmed: the UK government announced that union jacks and national flags will fly at half-mast on all government buildings the day after his funeral. Gun salutes to the Duke also took place on Saturday, April 10 by the military — guns fired 41 rounds at one round in Edinburgh, Cardiff, London, Hillsborough Castle in Northern Ireland and other places every 40 minutes.
The College of Arms previously released information regarding Prince Philip’s funeral plans, stating to BBC hours after his April 9 death that he will likely lie at rest in Windsor Castle. The college stated that Philip would also receive a ceremonial funeral at St. George’s Chapel, attended by his closest loved ones. Queen Elizabeth ordered flags to be flown at half mast on government buildings shortly after her husband’s death; they will do so until 8:00pm BST on the day after Philip’s funeral.
While the last three sovereign’s consorts laid in state, including the Queen Mother in 2002, the College of Arms said that Philip declined the honor. The palace will honor “His Royal Highness’s wishes.” An aide once said that Philip didn’t “see himself as important enough” for a state funeral, according to BBC. But that’s not the way his family sees him. Queen Elizabeth announced her husband of 73 years’ death via a statement in the early hours of April 9:
“It is with deep sorrow that her Majesty the Queen announces the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh,” the statement said. “His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Palace. Further announcements will be made in due course. The Royal Family will join people around the world in mourning his loss.”
The Duke of Edinburgh’s health had been failing in recent years, with Philip in and out of the hospital with a variety of ailments. In February 2021, Philip was hospitalized at the advice of his doctor after complaining of “feeling unwell.” He was treated for an unspecified infection and underwent a heart procedure for a preexisting condition. Philip remained in the hospital for two weeks before being released at the beginning of March.