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Final farewell Plans for Prince Philip’s funeral expected over weekend amid ongoing Covid-19 restrictions

Philip’s funeral is expected to take place at St George’s Chapel in Windsor, but the ongoing Covid-19 lockdown in England will impact plans

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The Duke of Edinburgh pictured in 2004 (Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA)

The Duke of Edinburgh pictured in 2004 (Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA)

The Duke of Edinburgh pictured in 2004 (Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA)

Details of the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral are expected to be released this weekend after his death on Friday at the age of 99.

Buckingham Palace said Philip died peacefully in his sleep at Windsor Castle, leaving the Queen and the royal family “mourning his loss”.

His death triggered a flood of tributes from across the globe – with world leaders, foreign royal families and charities hailing his life and legacy.

Philip’s funeral is expected to take place at St George’s Chapel in Windsor, but the ongoing Covid-19 lockdown in England will impact plans.

Under the current rules, services can only be attended by a maximum of 30 people.

Helping to draw up the details of the occasion himself, the duke was known to have wanted a minimum of fuss at his funeral.

It has long been known that it will be the Queen who has the final say over the plans to lay to rest her husband of more than 70 years.

Buckingham Palace has said: “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. Details will be confirmed in due course.”

An online book of condolence was opened on the royal family’s official website for the public to post personal tributes.

A steady stream of mourners left tributes and messages to the duke outside both Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle on Friday.

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The Palace asked members of the public not to gather in crowds, saying: “Those wishing to express their condolences are asked to do so in the safest way possible, and not to gather at Royal Residences.”

The monarch may give a televised address in memory of her late husband – the longest-serving consort in British history – but details of any possible broadcast have yet to be confirmed.

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The Queen and Philip were married for more than 70 years (Chris Radburn/PA)

The Queen and Philip were married for more than 70 years (Chris Radburn/PA)

The Queen and Philip were married for more than 70 years (Chris Radburn/PA)

Philip, famously described by the Queen as her “constant strength and guide”, passed away just two months before his 100th birthday.

Buckingham Palace announced his death just after midday on Friday, issuing a statement that spoke about the royal family joining with people across the world to grieve.

A man known as much for his keen interest in engineering and science as his outspoken comments and gaffes – he was central to the monarch’s life.

The palace said in a statement: “It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty the Queen announces the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness the Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

“His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle.”

It added: “The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss.”

No further details were released about the circumstances of the duke’s death.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex paid tribute to Philip on the website of their foundation Archewell, replacing its homepage with a memorial site and the words: “In loving memory of His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh 1921-2021

“Thank you for your service… You will be greatly missed.”

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Flowers left outside Windsor Castle (Victoria Jones/PA)

Flowers left outside Windsor Castle (Victoria Jones/PA)

Flowers left outside Windsor Castle (Victoria Jones/PA)

Harry, who laid bare his rift with members of his family during his Oprah Winfrey interview, is likely to attend his grandfather’s funeral, but it is not known if he will be joined by wife Meghan – who is pregnant.

In a tribute recorded for ITV News before Philip’s death, the Princess Royal said about her father’s legacy: “Without him life will be completely different.

“But from society’s perspective he was able to keep pace with the kind of technological changes that have such an impact… but above all that it’s not about the technology, it’s about the people.”

The Prince of Wales visited his mother the Queen during Friday afternoon travelling from his Gloucestershire home to Windsor Castle, sources said.

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(PA Graphics)

(PA Graphics)

(PA Graphics)

The announcement of Philip’s death reflected tradition and modern times, with the statement tweeted on the royal family account and a framed notice attached to the railings of Buckingham Palace for a short period.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson was one of the first national figures to pay tribute to the duke.

Speaking from Downing Street, Mr Johnson said the duke was “a champion of the natural world long before it was fashionable”.

He said Philip would be remembered for his Duke of Edinburgh awards scheme, that had “shaped and inspired the lives of countless young people”, as well as his “steadfast support” for the Queen.

US President Joe Biden highlighted the duke’s “decades of devoted public service”, Second World War service and environmental efforts in remembering his legacy.

During coronavirus lockdowns, Philip stayed at Windsor Castle with the Queen for their safety, alongside a reduced household of staff dubbed HMS Bubble.

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A tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh, which will be shown for 24 hours, on display at the Piccadilly Lights in central London (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

A tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh, which will be shown for 24 hours, on display at the Piccadilly Lights in central London (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

A tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh, which will be shown for 24 hours, on display at the Piccadilly Lights in central London (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

The couple are thought to have spent more time together during the past 12 months, shielding from the virus, then they would in a normal year – a throwback to the early years of their marriage.

Union flags were flown at half mast at all royal residences as a mark of respect and Westminster Abbey – where the Queen and Philip married on November 20, 1947 – tolled its tenor bell once every 60 seconds, 99 times, during Friday evening.

A period of mourning is expected and any planned official royal events that fall within this period are likely to be postponed.

Tributes poured in from around the world, including from Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Irish Premier Micheal Martin, the Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

European royal families remembered Philip as a “great friend” who “never ceased to leave an unforgettable impression”, with King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden hailing the duke as “an inspiration to us all”.

Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, said Philip was an “outstanding example of Christian service”, adding that he was “always struck by his obvious joy at life, his enquiring mind and his ability to communicate to people from every background and walk of life”.

The Cabinet met at 5pm on Friday to pay tribute to the duke, and Parliament will be recalled from its Easter recess on Monday, a day earlier than its scheduled return.

Philip – father to the Prince of Wales, the Princess Royal, the Duke of York and the Earl of Wessex – had returned to Windsor Castle on March 16 to be reunited with the Queen after spending a month in hospital – his longest ever stay.

He initially received care for an infection, but then underwent heart surgery for a pre-existing condition.

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