Prince Philip’s funeral will take place on Saturday April 17 at Windsor Castle

The British royal family will bid farewell to Prince Philip, husband of Elizabeth II, on Saturday, April 17, on the occasion of a private funeral to be held at Windsor Castle, in the presence of Prince Harry, but without his wife, Meghan, as announced this Saturday, April 10 at Buckingham Palace.

The funeral will take place at 3 p.m. local time (4 p.m. in France) in Saint George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, some 40 miles west of London, where the Duke of Edinburgh, staunch supporter of the sovereign for seven decades, died “Peacefully”, Friday morning, at the age of 99.

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Only thirty people – which will obviously include her four children (Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward) and her grandchildren – will be present, under the rules imposed by the current health situation. Prince Harry, who for a year and his shattering withdrawal from the monarchy resides in California, will be present. On the other hand, his wife, Meghan, who is currently pregnant, will submit to the medical opinion of contraindication to air travel which has been given to her and will remain in the United States, as a spokesperson for the palace said.

In order to “Allow as many family members as possible to attend the funeral”, Prime Minister Boris Johnson will not attend, said his services.

The British public will be invited to observe a minute of silence at 3 p.m. at the start of the ceremony. This event will be held just four days before the 95e birthday of the Queen, whom Prince Philip married in 1947, over seventy-three years ago.

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National mourning

The country has entered into national mourning, which will last until the day after the funeral. Tributes have also started. From the Tower of London, on the banks of the Thames, from the castles of Edinburgh or Belfast, in the British enclave of Gibraltar, or on the ships of the Royal Navy (body in which Prince Philip served during the second world war), the sound of cannons sounded on Saturday noon. This salvo, the first in a series of forty-one (one per minute), paid homage to the one who had become the patriarch of the British royal family after being born Prince of Greece in Corfu.

It was in silence that Elizabeth II received the visit of her sons, Princes Andrew and Edward, at Windsor Castle this Saturday. “The queen was fantastic”, visibly moved, Sophie, the wife of Prince Edward, told reporters as she left the castle by car.

“As you can imagine, my family and me miss him dearly”, for his part confided Prince Charles on the occasion of a short televised statement. The heir to the crown praised the “Remarkable and dedicated service [qu’il a rendu] to the queen, to [sa] family and country ” over the past seven decades. “My dear daddy was a very special person, who I think would have been amazed by the reactions and the touching things that were said about him”, added the prince.

This Saturday, the royal family’s Twitter account shared several photos of the Queen with her husband on the occasion of various landmark moments in their lives. As in 1997, for their 50e wedding anniversary, when the one he nicknamed “Lilibet” had confided: “He has been just my strength and my support all these years. “ Their children shared their memories in a pre-recorded program broadcast by the BBC. His daughter Anne thus described a father who was ” still there ” : “If you had any problems, you could always go to him, knowing that he would listen and try to help you. “

To avoid gatherings that would violate current health rules, the public has been urged not to go to the royal residences, but to sign a book of condolences online.

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Tireless dedication

Known for not having his tongue in his pocket, Prince Philip has sometimes been noted for his provocative remarks sometimes tinged with racism or sexism. But the British also remember his tireless dedication to a monarchy that he helped to modernize and humanize, as well as his presence, withdrawn but flawless, alongside the sovereign.

Prince Philip has participated in more than 22,000 official public engagements since his wife’s accession to the throne in 1952. Since 2009, he has held the record for longevity for a prince consort.

Elizabeth II must now face alone the crises which shake the British royal family, such as the recent criticisms of her grandson Harry and Meghan Markle towards “the Firm”, the nickname given by the latter to the monarchy, which they accuse of racism and lack of support for Markle. In early March, the latter had also confided, in a shock interview conducted by the American star Oprah Winfrey, to have had suicidal thoughts. The couple had mentioned the racism of a member of the royal family in particular, who would have questioned the color of the skin of their unborn child, specifying off camera that it was neither the queen nor her husband .

Harry, 36, also thought ” really disappointed “ by the lack of support from his father, Prince Charles, who had stopped answering the phone for a while. He also revealed that he had moved away from his brother William, who for his part assured that the royal family was not “Not at all racist”.

The World with Reuters