Prince Philip’s funeral will be held April 17, palace announces


Britain's Prince Charles paid a personal tribute on Saturday to his "dear papa" Prince Philip, saying the Royal Family missed him enormously and that the 99-year-old would have been amazed at the touching reaction across the world to his death.

Britain's Prince Charles paid a personal tribute on Saturday to his "dear papa" Prince Philip, saying the Royal Family missed him enormously and that the 99-year-old would have been amazed at the touching reaction to his death from around the world.

Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth, who had been at her side throughout her record-breaking 69-year reign, died at Windsor Castle on Friday, at age 99.

"As you can imagine, my family and I miss my father enormously," said Charles, the couple's eldest son and heir to the throne, outside his Highgrove House home in west England.

An infant Prince Charles is pictured with his parents on the Windlesham Moor in Ascot, England, on July 18, 1949. On Saturday, Charles said his father would have been amazed by the touching reaction to his death from around the world. (The Associated Press)

"My dear papa was a very special person who I think above all else would have been amazed by the reaction and the touching things that have been said about him and from that point of view we are, my family, deeply grateful for all that. It will sustain us in this particular loss and at this particularly sad time."

Pandemic-adjusted funeral plans

Buckingham Palace announced that the funeral for Philip would be held on April 17, and that the Queen's grandson, Prince Harry, who now lives in the United States, would attend.

Harry's wife, Meghan Markle, who is pregnant with their second child, will not attend on doctor's advice, according to the palace.

A selection of newspaper front pages photographed on Saturday shows the scope of the coverage of the death of Prince Philip. The Duke of Edinburgh died on Friday at the age of 99.(Kirsty O'Connor/Press Association/The Associated Press)

The palace said long-established plans for the funeral had to be redrawn and scaled down because of COVID-19 restrictions, but they remained very much in line with Philip's wishes.

Philip, who was officially known as the Duke of Edinburgh, will be given a ceremonial royal funeral, not a state funeral, as had been planned before the pandemic.

But there will be no public processions, and it will be held entirely within the grounds of Windsor Castle and limited to 30 mourners.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's office said he will not be among the guests at the funeral in order to make space for as many family members as possible.

The funeral, which will be broadcast on live television, will be held at St. George's Chapel on the castle grounds and will be preceded by a minute's silence across the country.

Charles and other members of the Royal Family will walk behind a specially-modified Land Rover, which Philip helped design. At the conclusion of the service, Philip will be interred in the Royal Vault.

Queen Elizabeth and the late Prince Philip are seen during a 2010 visit to Canada.(Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

Buckingham Palace stressed the service would be held in line with government coronavirus guidelines, meaning members of the Royal Family, including the Queen, would be expected to wear masks.

Philip's children pay tribute

Prince Andrew and Prince Edward, meanwhile, travelled to Windsor Castle on Saturday to visit with their mother. Philip and the Queen had been married for over 73 years.

Britain's Prince Edward and his wife, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, leave Windsor Castle on Saturday, the day after the death of Prince Philip.(Frank Augstein/The Associated Press)

Edward and his wife, Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, spent about an hour at the castle, and Sophie told reporters "the Queen has been amazing" as the couple left Windsor in a Land Rover. Andrew waved at crowds as he left.

Prince Charles visited his mother on Friday, shortly after Buckingham Palace announced Philip's death.

Prince Andrew leaves Windsor Castle on Saturday after visiting his mother, Queen Elizabeth.(Steve Parsons/The Associated Press)

In a tribute program aired by the BBC on Friday, all four of Philip's children remembered him as someone who had encouraged and supported them.

Charles described his father's life as an "astonishing achievement," while Edward said his father had a tough job that was carried out with the most "extraordinary flair."

Princess Anne is seen with her father, Prince Philip, attending an event during the London 2012 Olympic Games in July of that year.(Mike Hutchings/Reuters)

Princess Anne praised the support her father had provided her mother, from her early years as Queen.

"They needed to be a double act for a lot of that time to allow her to take on that role."

In honour of the prince, the armed forces, including artillery units in London, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Belfast and the British overseas territory of Gibraltar, and some warships, fired Death Gun Salutes at noon local time on Saturday.

Royal Navy ships HMS Diamond and HMS Montrose took part in the ceremonies to honour the Duke of Edinburgh, who served as a naval officer during the Second World War and held the office of Lord High Admiral.

Gun salutes also marked the deaths of Queen Victoria in 1901 and Winston Churchill in 1965.

A nation mourns

A man stands with an artwork depicting Britain's Prince Philip outside Buckingham Palace in London on Saturday, a day after the death of the Queen's husband.(Alberto Pezzali/The Associated Press)

The Royal Family asked the public to heed physical distancing rules and avoid visits to its residences, but people still gathered to place cards and bouquets outside Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace and pay tribute to Prince Philip.

Flags at Buckingham Palace and at government buildings across Britain have been lowered to half-mast and billboard operators replaced ads with photographs and tributes to the prince.

Sporting events observed moments of silence in his honour.

With files from The Associated Press and CBC News

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