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Prince Philip’s funeral arrangements complicated by pandemic

Details of Prince Philip’s funeral are to be confirmed “in due course”, Buckingham Palace has said, following the death of the Queen’s consort at the age of 99.

But while he will be laid to rest with all the honours due to a prince of the United Kingdom, the COVID-19 pandemic has complicated well-prepared arrangements somewhat.

“During the coronavirus pandemic, and in light of current government advice and social distancing guidelines, modified Funeral and ceremonial arrangements for His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh are being considered by Her Majesty The Queen,” Buckingham Palace said in a statement.

The palace will announce later when the funeral will be held, and how many people will attend.

Funerals are currently restricted to 30 people or fewer under England’s coronavirus rules.

What happens next?

Flags on government buildings and royal residences have been lowered to half-mast, and will remain there until 8 am the day after the funeral, according to the College of Arms, the body that oversees ceremonial protocol.

British TV networks interrupted their scheduled programming, and then canceled it, allowing for special news coverage.

His death will be marked with 41-gun salutes at noon on Saturday at locations across the country, including the Tower of London and Edinburgh Castle, as well as in Gibraltar and on Royal Navy ships at sea.

But people have been urged by the palace and the government not to gather or lay flowers outside the royal residences to honor him.

The palace instead invited well-wishers to sign a book of condolences — but only online, to avoid crowds and queues.

When the Queen Mother Elizabeth died in 2002, her coffin lay in state at Parliament’s Westminster Hall, and thousands of people filed past to pay their last respects.

But Prince Philip’s body will not lie in state, as per his wishes, nor will it be a state funeral.

The College of Arms the duke’s body will lie at rest in Windsor Castle, where he spent his final weeks with the Queen.

His funeral will be held in St George’s Chapel at the castle, the site of centuries of royal burials, and royal weddings – including Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding in 2018.

Harry is expected to try to travel from his home in Montecito, California, to say goodbye to his grandfather but he may have issues with Britain’s coronavirus rules.

Travelers from the US need a negative COVID-19 test before they get on the plane and face a 10 day quarantine, which can end early if a test taken after five days comes back negative.

Meghan, pregnant with their second child, is not expected to make the trip.


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