Official communications on Prince Philip’s funeral on Saturday are expected tomorrow in St George Chapel of Windsor Castle, but many anticipations about the funeral are circulating in the Kingdom starting with the certainty that it will be a ceremony respectful of the anti-Covid rules. So with restrictions that are complicating the organization of the event considerably, starting with the drafting of the list of participants “in presence”: they must not be more than 3o therefore, inevitably, some members of the royal family will be excluded. Then, mandatory masks, a two-meter spacing between people, rules of behavior, details to be followed in order to respect the prince’s wishes.
Elizabeth in the Windsor Bull
Probably Queen Elizabeth will sit alone in the church, distanced from other family members because, as he explains today The Times, the sovereign has been living for over a year in what is called “the Bull of Windsor Castle” which included her, her husband and a very small circle of collaborators and servants, about fifteen people in all. In short, the only person authorized to sit next to her could be thePhilip’s personal secretary, Archie Miller-Bakewell, whose presence is taken for granted, but not one of his four children.
Separated spouses will be excluded
Who will participate in the family? Inevitable exclusions in the overall list of relatives (which alone would count 36 people). Carlo and Camilla they will be close, but distant from Elisabetta separated from the other three children of the queen (Anna, Andrea, Edoardo) and from the eight grandchildren: each will sit with his or her family. For numerical issues, divorced wives and husbands of family members will likely be excluded, although a question mark remains on Sarah Ferguson, who divorced Prince Andrew in 1992, so she is no longer part of the royal family, but she and the Duke of York have been living together for several years now. The only spouse “in charge” absent among close relatives will therefore be Meghan Markle who, pregnant with her second child, remained in the United States.
Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, 1021-2021
Just prince George for his 10 great-grandchildren?
There will probably not even be the 10 great-grandchildren of Elizabeth and Philip. Some are definitely too small, like little August of Eugenie of York born in February 2021. He could be there George, eldest son of William and Kate: he is seven years old but above all the third in the line of succession to the throne, after his father and grandfather. The presence of Elisabetta and Filippo’s grandchildren is almost obvious, that is the son and daughter of the sister of the sovereign Margaret with their respective spouses, and of the counts of Mountbatten, Norton Knatchbull with his wife Penelope: the latter was very good friends with Filippo and shared his passion for the gig and for painting.
No German relatives, like in 1947
As for the members of the royal family who will not participate, it is almost certain the absence of the spouses dukes of Kent, cousins and close friends of the royal couple (Philip and Elizabeth themselves were third cousins), and so were the duke’s younger brothers. However, the “excluded” of rank like them would have been granted a private viewing of the ceremony in streaming, according to reports from the Telegraph.
Then there is the theme of the Prince’s Greek and German relatives: before marrying Elizabeth and becoming Duke of Edinburgh, Philip was prince of Greece and Denmark. According to the royal biographer Ingrid Seward, the former king of Greece Constantine II, who still lives in the country, was a close friend of Philip and would have been a safe presence if the pandemic had not occurred with the relative difficulties in moving. As well as almost certainly they will not participate the surviving German relatives, or the children of Philip’s sisters, all deceased. Curious twist of fate: Philip’s sisters and their noble German families could not even participate in his wedding, in 1947: the war had recently ended and the British government did not consider it appropriate to invite princes who had had military positions during the regime Nazi.
The premier no but the secretary s
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has made it known that he will not attend: since it is not a state funeral he preferred to leave his place to one of the family members or close friends such as the private secretary of the prince. But among the 30 could be included, at the behest of the Duke of Edinburgh, some representatives of some of the entities of which he had had the patronage and certainly a personality of the Royal Navy, such as Admiral Tony Radakin.
Everyone, from the queen downwards, will have to observe the same rules: they will have to wear a mask and will not be able to sing: a task that will be allowed to a single cantor. Police will take care of security outside the church and in the streets of Windsor Castle, closing roads and fencing off space to avoid crowds and prevent vehicle access.
That threat to the Archbishop of Canterbury
Finally, a curious detail could concern the duration of the sermon delivered by the officiant, the Archbishop of Canterbury: to truly comply with the will of the Duke of Edinburgh it should not last more than eight minutes. This was revealed in an interview with the Times by former Archbishop Rowan Williams: Philip had told him, jokingly but not too much, that his sermons should not have lasted more than eight minutes, otherwise, says Willliams, he would have sent me to the Tower of London. . To carry the prince’s body will be, as per his specific will, a Range Rover Defender transformed into a hearse. He had made it clear to Elizabeth: When I die, put me behind in the Range Rover and take me to Windsor.
Philip with the former Archbishop of Canterbury Williams