The world is devastated by the news that Britain’s Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, has died at the age of 99. Palace media confirms that the Duke has expired mid-day today, April 9th. The announcement did not contain any specifics on the cause of death. The United Kingdom will enter a state of national mourning until the duke’s funeral. All flags around the country, except for the Royal Standard, will be lowered to half-mast.
Changes in Operation Forth Bridge
Especially for such a high-ranking royal as the Prince, there is a meticulously planned and strict procedure that must be followed if a royal dies. In this case, it is known as Operation Forth Bridge. Although the funeral has been planed, slight changes might take place due to the pandemic. Although very little detail was released, it is to be expected that the Prince made sure that his funeral will be low-key.
What are we expecting from Prince Philip’s funeral?
As consort to the Queen, he is entitled to a full state funeral at Westminster Hall. This is something that Prince Philip has outrightly refused. There are guesses that a military-style funeral will be held at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle or St. James’ Palace eight days after his death. The funeral is also expected to be televised to the nation since mass gatherings are restricted.
With restrictions on mass gatherings, the Queen is also expected to select which members of the family will be able to attend the funeral. Social distancing and face coverings are also going to be expected for the event as the Queen has been living away from relatives and family since the start of the pandemic. The expected presence of world leaders and representatives might be impossible at the moment as well. There is also a question of whether or not Prince Harry will be able to attend the funeral in person due to the quarantine requirements in the UK.
There are also guesses that Prince Philip will be buried at the Royal Burial Ground on Frogmore Estate. This is where Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, and Edward VIII are buried.
Stepping back from royal duties
Mid of last year, both the Queen and the Prince have stepped back indefinitely from their royal duties primarily because of the impending threats of the Coronavirus pandemic. Both are confined to Windsor Castle, which is a rare event in the Queen’s reign. Before this, the Prince has officially retired from his royal duties in August of 2017.
Prince Philip’s failing health
The Duke of Edinburgh has been suffering from ailments since the end of last year. It was reported that he was hospitalized for a couple of days last December. He was treated for a condition that was not revealed to the public. Then, he was admitted again to a hospital in London last February after feeling unwell, fortunately not related to COVID-19. At the beginning of March, he was again taken to the hospital due to an infection and treatment for a pre-existing heart condition. It is widely known that the Prince has had heart issues in the past. He was previously treated for a blocked coronary artery back in 2011.