Prince Philip funeral: Final preparations under way in Windsor as royals gather for ceremony

Final preparations are under way for the funeral of Prince Philip, who will be laid to rest this afternoon.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s "unwavering loyalty" to the Queen will be praised at the ceremony in Windsor, as well as his "courage, fortitude and faith".

A small group of Philip’s close family and friends will attend a televised funeral service at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle at 3pm.

Live stream and updates from Prince Philip’s funeral

The nation will come to a halt to observe a minute’s silence at the start of the service in memory of the royal.

Due to coronavirus restrictions, the Queen will sit alone during the funeral of her husband, who died at Windsor Castle on Friday 9 April at the age of 99.

Although members of the public have been urged not to gather in Windsor for the funeral, some have been visiting the town, bathed in bright spring sunshine, to pay their respects and leave flowers at the castle gates.

On the eve of the funeral, a touching photograph was released of the Queen and duke giving a glimpse of their lives away from protocol.

The royal couple are pictured as they are rarely seen – relaxing together during a summer break and enjoying the stunning scenery of the Scottish Highlands on the Balmoral estate.

Looking completely at ease and smiling warmly at the photographer, Philip and the Queen relax on the grass at the Coyles of Muick, a beauty spot near the town of Ballater in Aberdeenshire.

The Poet Laureate has published The Patriarchs – An Elegy, which pays tribute to Philip’s distinguished career in the Royal Navy and refers to his generation as "husbands to duty" and "great-grandfathers from birth".

The congregation at Philip’s funeral has been limited to just 30 people due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Among the attendees will be the Prince of Wales and his wife the Duchess of Cornwall, the Queen and Philip’s other children, their grandchildren including the Duke of Cambridge and Harry, three of Philip’s German relatives, three of the Queen’s cousins and Philip’s carriage driving companion Countess Mountbatten of Burma.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will watch the service on a television from Chequers.

Social distancing will be observed, and masks will be worn during the service.

The Prince of Wales and Princess Royal will lead the Duke of York, Earl of Wessex and other family members walking behind the duke’s coffin, carried on a Land Rover hearse he helped design, during the funeral procession which the Queen will join, travelling by car.

Although there is no sermon – as per the duke’s request – the service will be a highly religious one.

Several hymns will be sung by a small chorus of three choristers and a soprano, and Bible passages will be read out.

Among the songs picked out is the hymn Eternal Father, Strong To Save, traditionally associated with members of the navy like the Duke of Edinburgh.

It was also sung at the funeral of his beloved uncle, Earl Mountbatten of Burma, who was murdered by the IRA in 1979.

No members of the Royal Family will give a reading, and attendees have also been forbidden from singing.

In the Bidding, the Dean of Windsor will say: "With grateful hearts, we remember the many ways in which his long life has been a blessing to us."

"We have been inspired by his unwavering loyalty to our Queen, by his service to the Nation and the Commonwealth, by his courage, fortitude and faith.

"Our lives have been enriched through the challenges that he has set us, the encouragement that he has given us, his kindness, humour and humanity."

The order of service is similar to the Queen Mother’s funeral in 2002.

Not having a lingering funeral was also in line with the duke’s wishes.

Earlier this week, Harry said of his grandfather: "I know that right now he would say to all of us, beer in hand, ‘Oh do get on with it!’"

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Harry and William will not walk next to each other during the funeral procession.

The brothers will be separated by their cousin Peter Phillips as they walk behind their grandfather’s coffin, which will be carried by a Land Rover hearse designed by Prince Philip himself.

Nearby Heathrow Airport has said it will not land planes for six minutes to coincide with the period of quiet.

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