After Prince Philip’s death, the royal family will be officially deposited at the weekend. It is a historic day for Windsor and Great Britain as a whole – and a special challenge in the time of Corona.
It’s not an easy job for John Story these days. The The Mayor of Windsor pleads with the British to turn away from his community. On Saturday, Prince Philip, who died last week, will be buried in the immediate family circle at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle. Ceremonies, including the royal funeral procession, will be held completely behind the walls of the royal palace. It’s a historic day in the UK, but John Story’s motto is: There’s nothing to see here, just keep walking – or better yet, don’t come here.
The reason, of course, is Corona. “We should ask everyone to put their health and safety and the safety of others high on the list of priorities and not come to Windsor,” warned Mayor Story. Just a few hours after the death of Prince Philip, who slept peacefully last Friday at the age of 99, the palace and the authorities tried to prevent large gatherings of mourners – there are no bouquets of flowers in the residences, please keep your distance at the mourning, they said an official request of Highest authority. It is not easy to implement this when the monarchy has just lost one of its most important representatives.
Even Johnson should watch TV
Other times, hundreds of thousands of people gather on the country’s streets and squares to attend major royal events at the House of Windsor – be it funerals, weddings, or celebrations to the throne. There are moments that give many Britons, for a moment at least, a sense of community that has been largely lost in everyday life since Brexit at the latest. Now, however, people must stay home and mourn in front of the TV. Even Boris Johnson wants to watch what’s happening in front of the screen. The prime minister resigned from his seat at the funeral to allow another family member to proceed.
Instead of 800 as planned, only 30 guests are allowed to attend the funeral due to Corona. In the guest list published by the palace on Thursday, there were three German nobles, as well as children, grandchildren, and other close relatives – surprisingly to some -. The Duke of Edinburgh, as Philip was often called in Great Britain, was linked through his sisters to Bernard, Prince of Baden, Heinrich Donatus of Hesse and Philip Prinz zu Hohenloh-Langenburg. The fact of their invitation was taken by the British media as evidence of how attached Prince Philip was to this relationship – even if he preferred to keep it calm, especially in the immediate post-war period.
“I think it will be very, very crowded”
But judging by the fact that no one but the small crowd of guests will arrive, you don’t want to go to Windsor. At the start of the week, several days before the funeral, special police units were already searching mailboxes, garbage bins and phone booths for suspicious things. Street policemen are preparing for their patrols on Saturday. A cafe worker is already preparing to open his shop to a crowd on Saturday morning from 3am. However, he was instructed not to set up any tables outside that day. “I think it will be very crowded,” the owner of the restaurant told the Palestinian News Agency.
Behind the castle walls, Prince Philip’s coffin, adorned with his personal flag, is supposed to travel a little in the Land Rover that Prince Philip helped design during his lifetime. Representatives of the Royal Navy, Navy and other military personnel will accompany the march with music and pay their respects to the Duke of Edinburgh for one last time. On Wednesday, the military training centers were already busy with exercises on the big day. BBC broadcaster Sgt James Ritchie said it was “an honor and a privilege” to be able to play for Prince Philip and his family.
Harry is in quarantine
While the Queen had her first official date after the death of her husband on Tuesday, Prince Harry was feeling lonely days after returning to his old home. Since entering the United States for the first time in a year on Sunday, according to current Corona rules, he must first serve in quarantine before meeting the entire family on Saturday.
After Harry and Meghan withdrew from the royal family, differences widened between them and the rest of the family – at least since the couple accused the royal family of racism and lack of support in a TV interview. Harry’s brother William vehemently denied the allegations. Royal family insiders are now speculating about the rapprochement at the funeral – with Duchess Kate as a potential mediator between the two brothers.