WINDSOR (AP): Queen Elizabeth II is sitting alone in the quire of St. George’s Chapel during the funeral of Prince Philip, the man who had been by her side for 73 years.
Philip, who died April 9 at the age of 99, was being laid to rest in the Royal Vault at Windsor Castle after a funeral service ste-eped in military and royal tradition — but also pared down and infused with his own personality. People ac-ross Britain have observed one minute of silence in honor of Philip just before his royal ceremonial funeral got under way.
Following strict social distancing rules during the pandemic, the queen set an example even in grief, sitting apart from family members arrayed around the church. Just 30 mourners were allowed to attend the service at St. George’s on the grounds of Windsor Castle, where the queen has stayed to avoid getting Covid-19.
Other royals who are in family bubbles are sitting together.
The service began with Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby entering the chapel ahead of the coffin, followed by Philip’s children and three of his eight grandchildren, as a four-member choir sang “I am the resurrection and the life.”
Inside the Gothic chapel, the setting for centuries of royal weddings and funerals, the service was to be simple and somber. There will be no sermon, at Philip’s request, and no family eulogies or readings, in keeping with royal tradition. But Dean of Windsor David Conner will say the country has been enriched by Philip’s “unwavering loyalty to our queen, by his service to the nation and the Commonwealth, by his courage, fortitude and faith.”
Philip spent almost 14 years in the Royal Navy and saw action in the Mediterranean Sea, the Indian Ocean and the Pacific during World War II. Several elements of his funeral have a maritime theme, including the hymn “Eternal Father, Strong to Save,” which is associated with seafarers and asks God: “O hear us when we cry to thee/For those in peril on the sea.”
Along with Philip’s children and grandchildren, the 30 funeral guests include o-ther senior royals and several of his German relati-ves. Philip was born a pri-nce of Greece and Denmark and, like the queen, is related to a thicket of European royal families.