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Queen Elizabeth’s Prince Philip laid to rest

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Queen Elizabeth and her family paid their last respects to Prince Philip at a funeral on Saturday that celebrated his naval past, his international heritage and seven decades of service in which he helped guide the queen through repeated crises.

Elizabeth, dressed in black and in a white trimmed black mask, stood alone as her husband of 73 years was lowered into the Royal Vault in a service attended by senior royals including heir Prince Charles and his sons Princes William and Harry.

The queen was placed alone in the ceremony at St George’s Chapel with her children, grandchildren and a select group of royal mourners, separated due to COVID-19 rules.

“We remember before thee this day Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, rendering thanks unto thee–for his resolute faith and loyalty, for his high sense of duty and integrity,” Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said in a prayer.

Philip, officially known as the Duke of Edinburgh, died aged 99 on April 9. The queen in 1997 described Philip as her “strength and stay” over their decades of marriage.

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The archbishop praised Philip’s “life of service to the nation and Commonwealth, and for the courage and inspiration of his leadership.”

After the nation observed a minute’s silence in brilliant sunshine, Harry and William took up their places on opposite sides of the chapel in Windsor Castle, with the final resting place of Tudor monarch Henry VIII dividing them.

Philip’s naval cap and sword lay on top of the coffin, which was covered with the Duke of Edinburgh’s personal standard featuring the Danish coat of arms, the Greek cross, Edinburgh Castle and the stripes of the Mountbatten family.

A wreath of white roses, lilies and jasmine from the 94-year-old queen also adorned the coffin.

ROYAL MOURNERS

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The four-person choir sang a sailors’ hymn, “Eternal Father, Strong to Save”, and shortly before he was lowered into the Royal Vault, the Russian “Kontakion of the Departed”, a hymn of the Orthodox and Eastern churches, echoed around the ancient church. There were no eulogies.

Philip’s coffin was borne to the chapel on a bespoke Defender TD 130 in military green as a minute gun fired eight times.

Before the procession, military bands spaced out across the quadrangle of Windsor Castle to play the prince’s chosen music, including “I Vow To Thee My Country,”, “Jerusalem” and “Nimrod”.

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Philip, who married Elizabeth in 1947, helped the young queen adapt the monarchy to the changing world of the post-World War Two era as the loss of empire and the decline of deference challenged the world’s most prominent royal family.

She has now been widowed just as she grapples with one of the gravest crises to hit the royal family in decades – allegations of racism and neglect by it from her grandson Harry and his American-born wife Meghan.

Much media attention will focus on the royals’ behaviour towards Harry, who was making his first public appearance with the family since the couple gave an explosive interview to Oprah Winfrey last month.

Reuters

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