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Prince Philip will be buried in low key ceremony

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Prince Philip, the late husband to the UK’s Queen Elizabeth II, will be laid to rest on Saturday next week, in a ceremony that will be colorful and steeped in tradition, but low key by royal standards.

Philip, who was officially the Duke of Edinburgh, died peacefully at Windsor Castle on Friday morning at the age of 99. He was the nation’s longest-serving consort — a term given to the spouse of a reigning monarch — and they had been married for 73 years.

Harry, the Duke of Sussex, will attend his grandfather’s funeral, but his wife, Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, won’t be present, a Buckingham Palace spokesperson said. The couple are living in California and a doctor had advised the duchess, who is pregnant, against traveling to the UK, the spokesperson said.

The couple gave an explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey that aired in March, in which they told their side of the story in their rift with the royal family, making explosive allegations against some of its members and the establishment.

Philip’s long-standing funeral plans had been adapted to respect certain Covid-19 restrictions, with all the usual elements that involve contact with the public removed. The College of Arms, which oversees many ceremonial aspects of the royal family’s work, had earlier confirmed the duke would not lie in state anywhere accessible to the public, which could have seen thousands of people lining up to view his coffin.

Current Covid rules in England limit the number of people who can attend funerals to 30.

In a nod to the duke’s preference for driving himself, without a chauffeur, his coffin will be carried by a Land Rover from Windsor Castle to St. George’s Chapel, for the ceremony.

The procession will begin at 2:45 p.m. (9:45 a.m. ET) and will be led from Windsor Castle by a band of grenadier guards, along with several heads of military units. A Royal Navy piping party will pipe “The Still” whilst the Land Rover is stationed at the foot of the West Steps. There will be a gun salute and a national minute’s silence at 3 p.m. ahead of the ceremony.

The duke’s death has been marked in a somber fashion, as the royal household and UK government have asked the public not to gather or leave flowers at royal residences, with the country still under strict Covid-19 restrictions.

But gun salutes were held across the nation, as batteries fired 41 rounds, at one round per minute, at Windsor Castle, the Tower of London in the capital and at Edinburgh Castle in Scotland, among other locations. Australia, a Commonwealth nation, also paid its respects with a gun salute outside Parliament House in the capital, Canberra, on Saturday morning.

Tributes have flooded in from the UK and abroad for the duke, who had recently spent a month in two London hospitals, undergoing heart surgery and treatment for an infection, before returning in mid-March to Windsor Castle. – CNN

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