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Queen Elizabeth bids farewell to Prince Philip at funeral

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By Tony Nwankwo, with agency reports

Queen Elizabeth II said a final goodbye to Prince Philip, her husband of more than seven decades, during an intimate funeral on yesterday.

The Queen sat 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 steeped in military and royal tradition — but also pared down and infused with his own personality. People across 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 were in family bubbles sat 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.”

Military bands played and Queen Elizabeth II joined a procession, yesterday, at Windsor Castle ahead of a funeral where her husband Prince Philip was being remembered as a man of “courage, fortitude and faith.” The service was saluting both his service in the Royal Navy and his support for Britain’s monarch over three quarters of a century.

Philip, who died April 9 at the age of 99 after 73 years of marriage, was being laid to rest in the Royal Vault at Windsor Castle after a funeral service steeped in military and royal tradition — but also pared down and infused with his own personality. Coronavirus restrictions mean that instead of the 800 mourners included in the longstanding plans for his funeral, there will be only 30 inside the castle’s St. George’s Chapel, including the widowed queen, her four children and her eight grandchildren.

READ ALSO: Britain’s Prince Philip leaves hospital after one month

Meghan Markle  sent a handwritten card to accompany a wreath she and Prince Harry have had made to remember his grandfather.

Meghan has had to miss the funeral in Windsor because she is pregnant and could not get medical permission to fly.

However it was confirmed on Saturday afternoon that she would watch the ceremony from their home in California, where it began at 6.30am Pacific time.

Meghan and Harry used the florist who put together the flowers for the evening reception of their wedding in May 2018 for the wreath, and chose flowers related to the duke’s life.

They chose Acanthus mollis (Bear’s breeches), the national flower of Greece, to represent the Duke of Edinburgh’s heritage and Eryngium (Sea Holly), to represent the Royal Marines.

They also requested campanula to represent gratitude and everlasting love, rosemary to signify remembrance, lavender for devotion, and roses in honour of June being the duke’s birth month.

Harry arrived in the UK earlier in the week to attend the ceremony but has had to remain in quarantine because there are no travel corridors open at the moment.

He has been living at Frogmore Cottage, the Windsor home which was given to him and Meghan after their wedding by the Queen.

He  shared his own tribute after his grandfather’s death, saying: “My grandfather was a man of service, honour and great humour. He was authentically himself, with a seriously sharp wit, and could hold the attention of any room due to his charm – and also because you never knew what he might say next.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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