The Duke of Edinburgh died at Windsor Castle at the age of 99. Plans for his funeral will be affected by Covid regulations in England, and organizers are said to be “desperately anxious” not to host anything that will attract mass gatherings. This is what we know so far.
What day will the funeral of Prince Philip take place?
A date has not yet been announced but is expected in the next few days. According to pre-pandemic plans, it was scheduled to take place about 10 days after his death. It will not be a state funeral, in accordance with the duke’s wishes. In a statement announcing the death on Friday morning, the palace said more announcements would be made “in due course.”
Where will it take place and what will happen beforehand?
The Duke’s funeral is expected to take place in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, as planned. However, there will be no lies in the state, something that would have involved thousands of members of the public lining up to see his coffin.
It is not yet known whether her coffin will be transported to the Chapel Royal at St James’s Palace, London, as originally planned. Most likely, arrangements will be made for members of the public and others to sign a digital book of condolences.
What arrangements were previously in place?
Under what is called Operation Forth Bridge, thousands of people were expected to flock to London and Windsor to pay tribute. Some people would probably have camped out overnight to get the best views for a military procession of Felipe’s coffin on the day of his funeral.
Hundreds of members of the armed forces were reportedly summoned to line the streets in honor of the duke, along with thousands of police officers to maintain crowd control and protect participating royal family members.
The funeral will continue to have a significant military component, but the number of armed forces is likely to be much smaller. Preparations are expected to focus on Windsor Castle, without a military procession in London or any procession through Windsor.
Which are the Covid-19 regulations on funerals?
Under national confinement restrictions in England, which are gradually softening, funerals can count with a maximum of 30 people. Those present must also distance themselves socially if they do not coexist or share a bubble of support. However, these rules are under review and the government has said that “they may be updated according to changes. [coronavirus] situation”.
What about public attendance?
The biggest change in plans will be the lack of crowds. Officials will want to avoid anything that carries a risk of spreading the coronavirus, including mourners using public transportation. But police will want to avoid the appearance of heavy-handedness by dispersing those who show up at Windsor Castle or Buckingham Palace to pay homage, especially in the wake of controversies over policing the Sarah Everard vigil and the recent protests in Bristol and London.
The public will be able to tune in to a wide range of radio stations, including the BBC. A memorial service could be held at a later date after Britain has faced the worst public health crisis in a generation.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism