The funeral of Queen Elizabeth II’s husband, Prince Philip, will take place next week, Buckingham Palace said on Saturday, but will not be attended by two high-profile individuals expected to participate- Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex; and Boris Johnson, the UK Prime Minister.
The Duke of Edinburgh – the 94-year-old queen’s husband of 73 years — died peacefully on Friday just two months short of his 100th birthday, triggering eight days of national mourning in the UK.
Royal officials said his funeral, which will be televised, will take place at 1400 GMT on Saturday, April 17, in St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, west of London.
Government guidelines restrict mourners to just 30 people and close attention has been paid to the pared-down guest list for the funeral, particularly whether the duke’s grandson Harry would attend.
Palace officials confirmed he would but his American wife, Meghan, who is pregnant with their second child, had been advised against travelling from the United States on medical grounds.
The couple, who quit frontline royal duties last year, has launched a series of broadsides against the royals, including accusing them of racism, and of failing to treat Meghan’s mental health.
British Prime Minister, Johnson, will also not be attending the funeral because of Covid restrictions, Downing Street said.
“The Prime Minister has throughout wanted to act in accordance with what is best for the Royal household, and so to allow for as many family members as possible will not be attending the funeral on Saturday,” a spokesperson said.
Funeral arrangements for next weekend, which Buckingham Palace said “very much” reflect Prince Philip’s wishes, have been adapted in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
The televised service will be a ceremonial event rather than a large state affair usually associated with the death of a monarch.
Additional reporting from AFP and BBC