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Prince Philip dies: What we know about Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral arrangements codenamed Forth Bridge

Written by on 9 April 2021

Palace officials will soon be putting the plans for the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral into action following his death aged 99 at Windsor Castle.

The arrangements are codenamed Forth Bridge, after the Scottish landmark and UNESCO World Heritage Site.

No official details have been released yet about Prince Philip’s funeral, including where it will take place.

But it is understood he will be given a royal ceremonial funeral rather than a state funeral, in line with his wishes.

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The plans for the aftermath of the Duke’s death have been in place for many years, and were often updated and reviewed by Buckingham Palace staff in consultation with the Queen and her husband.

But the situation has been made more complicated by the pandemic, and so Forth Bridge has been altered to take account of the coronavirus crisis.

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At the moment, COVID restrictions in England mean up to 30 family members and friends can attend a funeral.

Members of the public have been urged not to leave flowers as tributes at royal residences to prevent crowds forming during thepandemic.

The government has warned people to continue following coronavirus rules in the wake of the royal death, and not gather at Buckingham Palace or Windsor Castle.

With England gradually being eased out of a national lockdown, the government and the Royal Family are keen to avoid anything that attracts crowds.

But hundreds of people have already travelled to Windsor Castle, while others have left tributes at Buckingham Palace.

Who will lead the funeral arrangements?

In overall charge is the Lord Chamberlain Baron Parker of Minsmere, who oversees arrangements following a royal death and ensures everything is kept to a strict timetable and all goes correctly to plan.

Lord Parker only began the role on 1 April, having taken over from Earl Peel who retired on 31 March after nearly 15 years as Lord Chamberlain.

The Lord Chamberlain’s Office will be working around the clock on the arrangements.

Usually based at Buckingham Palace, the team, headed by the Queen’s Comptroller, Lieutenant Colonel Michael Vernon, is tasked with the practical side of staging the day.

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Crowds gather to pay respects to Prince Philip

Many people will be involved in the days ahead.

They will range from military guards and the clergy, to staff at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, who will ensure the household continues to run smoothly.

Period of mourning for the royals

The Queen and her family will enter a period of mourning for their patriarch, which could last several weeks.

It could be Royal – also known as Court – Mourning. It includes the Royal Family, royal households and the Queen’s representatives in the UK and abroad wearing black and also using black-edged writing paper.

There is also Family Mourning, which was observed after the Queen Mother’s death.

It is undertaken by the Royal Family and their households when they are in personal attendance. Black-edged writing paper is not used and Family Mourning is often shorter than Court Mourning.

It will be up to the Queen to decide which to adopt.

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Flag at half-mast over Buckingham Palace

Union flag at half-mast

Following a royal death and during other periods of national mourning, Union flags are flown at half-mast on royal buildings where the monarch is not in residence.

The Union flag is flying at half-mast at Buckingham Palace in honour of Philip.

But the Royal Standard, flown when the Queen is in residence at a royal palace, is the symbol of the continuation of the monarchy and never flies at half-mast.