Today Queen Elizabeth Bids a Formal Farewell to Her Husband of 73 Years

Caroline de Braganza

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(Image by Kiefer on Flickr - licence CC BY-SA 2.0)

The British Royals are not immune to rifts in family relationships.

Even during grief, Queen Elizabeth has continued her lifetime work of public service.

In addition, she has shown her commitment to harmony as a mother, grandmother, and head of the Royal Family, by ensuring Prince Philip’s funeral at Windsor Castle today will not highlight the divisions between Prince William and Prince Harry.

Prince Charles and Princess Anne will lead the 15-member procession followed by Peter Phillips, cousin to William and Harry, walking between them as they escort the coffin into St. George’s Chapel.

This will minimize any uncomfortable moments between the brothers, as Harry’s departure from royal duties last year had marred their relationship. The recent explosive interview of Harry and Meghan by Oprah Winfrey increased tensions between the two brothers.

For the record, Prince Harry intended to gain financial independence while he and his wife, Meghan Markle, continued their royal duties on behalf of the Queen. This followed the example set by Harry's uncle Prince Edward and his wife Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, who balanced their private careers in TV production and PR respectively with royal duties until 2002, when they rejoined the family full-time.

But the palace advised that though Harry and Meghan could keep their titles as Duke and Duchess of Sussex, they could not continue their royal duties without public funds.

Today’s funeral will remind Prince William and Prince Harry of their grief as young boys walking behind their mother Princess Diana’s coffin in 1997 in London.

Another example of the Queen’s family role is the decision that senior royals will wear civilian clothes to the funeral.

This means that Harry won’t be the only member of the royal family not in uniform. Harry lost his honorary military titles when he had to give up royal duties last year, thus cannot wear a uniform.

This decision does away with another potential problem after reports of the queen’s second-oldest son’s intention to wear an admiral’s uniform to the funeral. He was forced to step away from royal duties after a disastrous interview with the BBC involving his acquaintance with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, though he kept his military titles.

Maintaining harmonious family relationships is a lifetime challenge, and the Royals are no different to any other person in that respect.

A widow has lost the love of her life after 73 years together. She and close family members are grieving for a husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather.

The world mourns the Duke of Edinburgh - a man much admired for his 12 years of service in the Royal Navy and devoting much of his to philanthropy. He was associated with 992 charities either as president, patron, or honorary member.

Possessing a piercing intelligence, his interests covered scientific and technological research and development, the welfare of young people, education, conservation, the environment and sport.

He established the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award in 1956, available to young people aged 14 to 24, regardless of their background, culture, physical ability, skills and interests.

“The Award is now a cornerstone of non-formal education and learning, with more than a million young people involved, in 130+ countries and territories around the world. For more than sixty years, millions of young people have participated and received awards, with millions more benefiting from its impact in communities around the world.”

Because of coronavirus restrictions, only 30 people will attend, wear masks inside the chapel, and adhere to the rules of social distancing.

The funeral takes place at 15.00 BST, 10.00 am ET and 7.00 am PT, preceded by a national minute of silence.

Where you can watch the live broadcast:

  • CBS - 9.30 am ET
  • Fox News - 9.00 am ET
  • CNN - 9.00 am ET
  • NBC News - 9.30 am ET
  • MSNBC - 9.00 am ET
  • ABC News - 9.30 am ET
  • BBC World News - live in U.S.and other territories including Canada, Australia, India, Germany, and South Africa

This tribute to Prince Phillip includes Poet Laureate Simon Armitage reciting an Elegy written in his honor:

Rest in Peace.

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