LONDON — Queen Elizabeth II turned 95 last week, four days after burying her husband, Prince Philip, and with him the partnership that guided Britain’s royal family for nearly 70 years. Now, as the queen faces the future alone, her son and heir, Prince Charles, is reshaping the family to carry on after her.
Philip’s death has given new urgency to a transition already underway in the House of Windsor. With the queen’s reign in its twilight, Charles has moved to streamline the royal family and reallocate its duties — a downsizing forced by the loss of stalwart figures like Philip, as well as by the rancorous departure of Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, and the messy internal exile of Prince Andrew.
Buckingham Palace is conducting an after-action report on Philip’s funeral ceremony, people with knowledge of the palace said, applying lessons from it to Operation London Bridge, the long-in-the-works, minute-by-minute blueprint for what will transpire in the days and weeks after the queen dies.
By all accounts, Elizabeth is in good health, bothered only by stiffness in her knees, which makes it hard for her to climb stairs. Royal watchers point out that her mother lived until 101. Buckingham Palace is busy planning her platinum jubilee, a four-day celebration in June 2022 to mark the 70 years since her accession to the throne.
poignant image of an aging, isolated queen, grieving alone in a choir stall at St. George’s chapel during the funeral because of social distancing restrictions, drove home to many a sense of her vulnerability and fragility. It also raised questions about how active she will be, even after the pandemic ebbs.
reconciling the family’s workload with its reduced ranks. He has long favored a slimmed-down monarchy, built around him and his wife, Camilla; Prince William and his wife, Kate; and Harry and his wife, Meghan. Princess Anne, his younger sister, also remains a full-time royal.
But the decision of Harry and Meghan to withdraw from their duties and move to California blew a hole in those plans. There was no sign of a change of heart from Harry, or even much hope for a reconciliation with William, when Harry attended his grandfather’s funeral. The brothers chatted briefly as they left the service, but Harry flew home before the queen’s birthday on Wednesday.
There is also little prospect that Andrew will ever return to the fold. If anything, the palace is girding itself for further embarrassing disclosures this July when his friend Ghislaine Maxwell goes on trial in New York on charges that she trafficked underage girls on behalf of her employer, Mr. Epstein. Andrew has been accused of sexual misconduct by one of Mr. Epstein’s victims, an accusation that he denies.
showcased by the troops at Philip’s funeral — and its diplomatic responsibilities, he predicted that the family would scale back its charity work.
But that would raise a separate set of problems. The modern royal family, experts said, has defined itself and justified its taxpayer support largely through its public works. Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, maintained ties to hundreds of charities until he retired from official duties at the age of 96.
“The key development of the monarchy in the 20th century is the development of the welfare monarchy, without which it won’t survive,” said Vernon Bogdanor, a professor of government at King’s College London who has written about the role of the monarchy in Britain’s constitutional system.
The short-term fix for the workload problem, people with ties to the palace said, is to elevate another royal couple, Prince Edward and his wife, Sophie, also known as the Earl and Countess of Wessex. Edward, 57, the queen’s youngest son, and his wife emerged as prominent figures after Philip’s death, speaking about his legacy and how the family was dealing with its grief.
Super League, which would have pulled in several of the top clubs in Britain.
“There is a difference between the way Charles envisages things and William envisages things,” said Valentine Low, the royal correspondent of The Times of London. But he added, “Charles acknowledges and even welcomes that William should have a role in these conversations.”
LONDON — His coffin borne on a military green Land Rover that he had helped design, Prince Philip was laid to rest on Saturday at Windsor Castle in an austere, meticulously choreographed funeral that captured his steely role in Britain’s royal family and offered a solemn glimpse of its uncertain future.
Queen Elizabeth II bade farewell to Philip, her husband, who died on April 9, two months shy of his 100th birthday, from solitude inside St. George’s Chapel. She was clad in a mask and kept at a distance from her children and grandchildren by pandemic social distancing requirements, which limited attendance to 30 people.
Her grandsons Prince William and Prince Harry were separated as well, by one of their cousins, as they walked behind Philip’s coffin. This quirk of royal protocol dramatized the rift between the brothers that opened after Harry’s marriage to an American former actress, Meghan Markle.
That wedding was held nearly three years ago in the same Gothic chapel on a similarly crystalline Saturday. It was both a joyful contrast and a poignant reminder of the turbulence that has enveloped the House of Windsor since its patriarch faded into retirement and a new generation of royals seized the limelight.
gospel choir and an African-American preacher, Philip’s funeral was a throwback to the monarchy’s traditions. There was no eulogy, despite some reports that Prince Charles would pay tribute to his father.
The archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Justin Welby, and the dean of Windsor, the Right Rev. David Conner, recited the readings, rather than family members. A choir of four, its numbers cut by the pandemic and standing apart on a stone floor, sang hymns selected by Philip, their voices echoing in the chapel’s empty nave.
The royal family listened silently, separated into family bubbles, their faces softly lighted by lamps. Harry sat alone, his head bowed during a hymn.
drew more than 100,000 complaints last week when the BBC pre-empted popular shows to dissect every aspect of Philip’s life. Some likened the wall-to-wall approach to North Korea’s.
the funeral of Queen Elizabeth, the queen mother, in 2002, which drew more than a million people to watch her cortege pass from Westminster Abbey to Windsor Castle.
“There’s an enormous, almost subconscious, feeling about the monarchy in Britain that is not appreciated by the metropolitan media,” said Vernon Bogdanor, a research professor in British politics and government at King’s College London. “It’s inarticulate, but it comes out at these crucial moments.”
Philip’s funeral, however, did not draw the crowds of other royal ceremonies. Because of the pandemic, Buckingham Palace urged people not to come to Windsor, the town west of London that the castle overlooks. On a quiet Saturday, it seemed as though most people had heeded that advice.
The restrictions meant that Philip’s converted Land Rover made a trip of only a few hundred yards, rather than the 22 miles from Buckingham Palace to Windsor. Rather than crowds lining the route, troops from the Royal Navy, Marines, the Highlanders and the knights of Windsor stood at attention as he passed.
Queen Elizabeth, who turns 95 next week, followed the procession in her gleaming aubergine Bentley, not at the head of it, which would have been customary for a sovereign. Charles, her heir, headed the procession, joined by his sister, Princess Anne.
erupted after an interview that Andrew gave to the BBC in 2019, set off a tumultuous period for the royal family. Two months later, Harry and Meghan announced their plans to step back from official duties and leave Britain.
They settled in Southern California, resurfacing last month for an extraordinary interview with Oprah Winfrey, in which Meghan said that a member or members of the royal family had raised qualms about the skin color of the couple’s unborn baby.
Philip retired from his duties in 2017, moving to a cottage on the grounds of one of the queen’s estates, Sandringham, where he painted in oils and pursued his hobby of driving carriages.
There was a quiet nod to Philip’s hobby at the funeral: As his coffin traveled through the quadrangle at Windsor, it passed a polished dark-green carriage with his two beloved ponies, Balmoral Nevis and Notlaw Storm.
Stephen Castle contributed reporting.
Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh and husband of Queen Elizabeth II who died last week at age 99, will be laid to rest on Saturday after a funeral service at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle. His send-off will be highly unusual — in part because coronavirus restrictions meant the ceremony had to be scaled back, but also because it comes just after a very public airing of a family rift.
Pandemic rules in Britain have meant that the funeral will be pared down, with adjustments that include a limit of 30 guests at the church service. The queen and select family members will all be wearing masks and seated six feet apart.
The subdued service will reflect not only the reality of life in a pandemic, but also Philip’s own wishes for the ceremony, Buckingham Palace said in a statement this week. The prince was deeply involved in the organization of the event, which was years in the planning.
Before the ceremony — which will be live-streamed from nytimes.com and in this briefing from about 2:30-4 p.m. London time — Philip’s coffin will be moved on Saturday afternoon from a private chapel in Windsor Castle to the castle’s Inner Hall, where prayers will be said.
his personal flag, which pays tribute to his Greek heritage and his British titles. A variety of other military groups will be represented during the procession, and a team of Royal Marines will carry the coffin into St. George’s Chapel.
Members of the royal family — including Philip’s four children, Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward, and some of his grandchildren, including William and Harry — will walk behind the coffin as it is driven to the chapel. Those with honorary military titles are expected to wear suits displaying their medals rather than uniforms, reportedly in deference to Prince Harry, who was forced to give up his military titles when he stepped away from royal duties.
The queen will arrive at the chapel by car. Before the service begins, there will be a national minute of silence at 3 p.m. local time.
stepping down as a senior royal. The service also comes just weeks after he and his wife, Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, gave a bombshell interview to Oprah Winfrey in which they laid bare their problems with the royal family.
The funeral service will last less than an hour, and Prince Charles is expected to deliver the eulogy. A choir of four will sing music chosen by Prince Philip. They will be located some distance from the seated guests, in line with public health guidelines, Buckingham Palace said.
His body will then be interred in the royal vault in St George’s Chapel. Flags in Britain that have flown at half-staff at royal residences since his death will remain that way until Sunday.
LONDON — Elizabeth and Philip were married the year I was born — 1947 — when Britain’s deference toward its royal family had not yet been exposed to the merciless shredding that was to come. Back then, my own family might almost have seen itself reflected, albeit remotely, in their lives.
Like Prince Philip, whose funeral is on Saturday, my father had served in World War II, on deployments that were so protracted that, my mother recalled, she went three years without seeing him. In London, Buckingham Palace was bombed. So, too, were the rowhouses in Barrow-in-Furness in northwestern England where my aunts, uncles and grandparents lived, close to the shipyards targeted by the German Air Force.
When Elizabeth was crowned Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, we clustered around a small black-and-white television at a neighbor’s home to follow what was billed as the country’s first coronation to be broadcast live. Certainly, it was a moment of pomp that seemed to fete Britain’s re-emergence from postwar deprivation.
British Broadcasting Corporation received about 100,000 complaints about its television coverage of the event when it canceled its scheduled programming in favor of blanket coverage of Prince Philip’s life and his death at the age of 99. Some people likened the obituary programming to what might be expected in North Korea.
Broadcasters “got the tone completely wrong,” Michael Cole, a former BBC royal correspondent, said in an interview with the rival Channel 4 News. Their hushed voices, he said, suggested that they had assumed the somber mantle of “self-appointed chief pallbearers” whose “sepulchral” utterances would have been more appropriate to a personal bereavement.
the kind of Prince Philip more favored by the script writers of “The Crown” than by official biographers. One of his sons, Prince Andrew, called him the “grandfather of the nation.”
But time and familiarity do not always breed fondness, or heal any wounds left by his statements in a country that has become more diverse. Much of the outpouring of sorrow may well have been directed at the queen, a widow facing the rigors of her reign without her “liege man of life and limb,” as her husband swore to become at her coronation.
Throughout the crises that have threatened to upend the institution she has fought doggedly to secure, Philip had been her “strength and stay all these years,” as the queen said in 1997.
It may be that historians will one day penetrate the fog of obfuscation that shrouds Prince Philip’s role in many of the royal family’s crises, part of the blend of aloofness, formality and pageantry by which the monarchy seeks to survive at the titular helm of an ever-shrinking, post-imperial domain.
In these days, few have wished to speak ill of the dead, preferring to focus on the prince’s emblematic place in the chronicles of those, like Meghan and Diana, whose marriages into the House of Windsor challenged them to come to terms with its secretive ways and define their often unscripted roles within, or outside, it.
In a sense, Philip outlasted all of them. Yet his departure may come to be seen as a grim and poignant dress rehearsal, for in those same years the queen has assumed a seemingly immutable position as the nation’s center of gravity. Her reign has overlapped the tenures of 14 British prime ministers and an equal number of American presidents.
In the reverence of the moment, the unspoken question is how she could ever be replaced as the guarantor of her line.
Back in those postwar days of the 1940s and 1950s, British schoolchildren learned by rote the names and lineages of her regal forebears, from Tudors, Plantagenets and Stuarts to Hanoverians, Saxe-Coburgs and Windsors.
In an era of far more divided loyalties and aspirations, the one lesson that may have endured may be found not so much in the names and titles of the past as in the fact that, save for a brief period in the 17th century, the monarchy itself has survived — though rarely without hard choices, stubborn resilience and often reluctant or enforced renewal.
Now is a time of mourning for Philip, who welcomed generations of young royals on their wedding days and who is credited with spurring an earlier period of self-assessment and renewal in the monarchy. That task will fall to others in coming years, in a world that may be less sympathetic than the one that welcomed the young royals on their wedding day.