Prince Philip funeral: British royal family mourns as life remembered at service

People across UK observe minute’s silence as funeral takes place in Windsor Castle

People across the UK have observed a minute's silence for the Duke of Edinburgh in unison with mourners at his funeral.

As members of the royal family fell silent at 3pm at St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle, members of the public across the country — and British prime Minister Boris Johnson — did the same.

The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery fired a gunshot to signal the start of the silence at Windsor, with the pallbearers carrying Philip’s coffin and members of the royal family following it pausing in their positions, while those already inside the chapel also fell silent.

Queen Elizabeth emerged from Windsor Castle to lead the British royal family in mourning at the funeral of her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip.


Dressed in a face mask and in sombre black, it was the first time the monarch, grieving for her companion of 73 years, has been officially seen in public since Philip died eight days ago.

Accompanied by her lady-in-waiting Lady Susan Hussey, the queen arrived as the British national anthem was played, to join part of the funeral procession.

Philip’s coffin, draped in his 12ft personal standard and decorated with a wreath of flowers specially chosen by the monarch, and his admiral of the fleet naval cap and sword, was ready and waiting.

It had been lifted into place by grenadier guardsmen onto the rear of the dark bronze green Land Rover Defender hearse the duke designed himself.

Walking behind the coffin, in morning suits and day dresses but not uniform, were Philip’s eldest children the Prince of Wales and Princess Royal, followed by their siblings the Earl of Wessex and Duke of York.

In the third row was the Duke of Sussex and Duke of Cambridge but between the two royal brothers — their troubled relationship well documented — was their cousin Peter Phillips.

Vice admiral Tim Lawrence, the Princess Royal’s husband, and the queen’s nephew Earl of Snowdon were the final family members taking part.

At the Galilee Porch to watch the coffin process through the grounds to the west steps of St George’s Chapel were other members of the royal family, clad in face masks, including the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duchess of Cambridge, the Countess of Wessex, Princess Beatrice and Eugenie and their cousin Zara Tindall.

Covid-19 regulations have reduced the scope of the service with public elements cancelled, mourners reduced from around 800 to just 30, and all guests wearing face masks and sitting apart.

The 50-minute service follows precise instructions left by Philip, who died peacefully eight days ago at the age of 99.

Naval hymns and the Action Stations warship battle cry by buglers will sound out around the 15th-century church.

In the grounds of Windsor Castle, stand more than 700 members of the British armed forces, honouring the duke’s long association with the military and his distinguished service in the British navy during the second World War.

A British national minute’s silence will be held at 3pm in honour of their longest serving consort.

Philip’s death left the monarchy grieving in private, but they made public appearances to recognise the support and condolences they received throughout the week from British people.

Gun salutes took place at the same time performed by royal regiments at sites including Hillsborough Castle in Northern Ireland, Cardiff Castle and Edinburgh Castle, as well as on Royal Navy warships deployed in Portsmouth, Devonport and overseas.

Outside Windsor Castle and the nearby Long Walk, hundreds of mourners who had lined the streets clutching Union flags and flowers fell quiet.

Artist Kaya Mar, 65, who stood alongside an oil painting of Philip which he made last week, was among those who paused to remember the duke as armed officers stationed above surrounding buildings watched on.

Meanwhile, a crowd gathered at the gates of Buckingham Palace also observed the silence.

Boris Johnson, who has said his “thoughts are with Her Majesty and her family”, observed the silence while watching the funeral on television from his country residence in Chequers.

The British prime minister was unable to attend in person due to coronavirus restrictions limiting the guestlist to just 30 people.

In the Republic, the tricolour was flown at half-mast on all State buildings to mark the death of the duke. Aras an Uachtarain (the residence of the President of Ireland) and Iveagh House (the headquarters of the Department of Foreign Affairs) were among the buildings where the flags were lowered.

The UK ambassador to Ireland Paul Johnston thanked the Irish Government for what he described as “this very special gesture”. Under Ireland’s national flag guidelines, the flag can be flown at half-mast on “all prominent buildings” on the death of a national or international figure under the advice of the Taoiseach.

Northern Ireland First Minister Arlene Foster took part in the silence from Enniskillen Castle in County Fermanagh, while her Scottish counterpart Nicola Sturgeon paused on the steps of Bute House in Edinburgh.

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford, who sent a flower wreath to the duke’s funeral on behalf of the people of Wales, also marked the silence. – PA