Operation Forth Bridge: When will Prince Philip's funeral be held and where will he be laid to rest?
The Duke's funeral is a well-planned event, but protocols are set to change due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Here's what's new and a timeline of the events to follow
Buckingham Palace has a series of planned protocols in the event of the passing away of a member of the Royal Family. Unfortunately, the pandemic has forced them to rethink and change up their plans. On April 9, the Palace released its new set of guidelines for the death of Prince Philip, who passed away earlier on Friday. The Duke's funeral, dubbed 'Operation Forth Bridge', will be like no other royal event in recent history.
It's not just the pandemic, but also the Duke's wishes that have to be taken into account. Traditionally, he would have received a state funeral with full honors, but the Duke reportedly requested not to have one. The last time the UK held a state funeral was in 1965 when former Prime Minister Winston Churchill passed away. The last royal to receive a state funeral was King George VI in 1952.
So what can you expect from the funeral of Prince Philip? Here's a detailed look at protocols as laid out by Buckingham Palace, of 'Operation Forth Bridge' under COVID guidelines.
Operation Forth Bridge protocols
On the Duke's passing away, the nation will observe eight days of national mourning. That began on Friday, with Union Flags across the nation lowered to half-mast. The College of Arms said that the Duke will not 'lie in state'. Usually, those who receive a state funeral or even a traditional ceremonial one will have their bodies on display for the public to pay their respects. This is something he did not want, according to the College.
Instead, the Duke's body will lie in Windsor Castle, with the funeral to take place at St. George's Chapel at the Castle. Further details, including the exact date of the funeral, are yet to be decided. It is likely that the Duke will be interred at Windsor Castle, alongside Queen Mother, King George VI, and the Queen's sister Princess Margaret.
When will the funeral be held?
The ceremonial royal funeral will be held at St George's Chapel in the grounds of Windsor Castle on Saturday, April 17 at 10 AM. The funeral will be televised, and it is also possible the Queen will make a televised address.
Lord Chamberlain, as the most senior officer of the royal household, will lead proceedings for the funeral. The nation will be in a state of mourning till the funeral is completed. In the meantime, other events have already taken place. Westminster Abbey, where the Queen and Duke were married, began tolling its bell 99 times, once every minute, at 6 pm local time. Gun salutes will also take place from 12:00 PM (local time) on April 10, with 41 rounds being fired for 40 minutes. The salutes will take place all across the UK, as well as from all deployed Royal Navy ships at sea.
Political campaigning has been suspended, and the House of Commons will return on Monday for a special session. Reportedly, the session will see Members of Parliament remember the Duke and talk about their meetings with him.
Traditionally, Prince Philip's body would 'lie in state' and funeral events would have a military procession in London. The events usually draw in thousands of viewers, with streets filled with members of the public. However, due to the coronavirus, those plans have had to change. London is no longer expected to host any events, though that could change. The Royal Family has urged the public not to gather in crowds at any of the Royal Residences.
How to make donations?
The public has also been asked to not leave floral tributes at the gates of Buckingham Palace, and instead make a donation to charity. The Royal website also has an online condolence book for those wishing to leave messages.
Royal's funerals are named after bridges under traditional plans. The Duke's is named after Forth Bridge in Edinburgh, Scotland which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Queen's is named London Bridge, while Prince Charles' is reportedly named Menai Bridge. Expect exact details of the funeral to be made public by April 10 or 11.