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 — 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.
Prince William and Prince Harry joined other members of the royal family in releasing statements honoring their grandfather, Prince Philip, who died at Windsor Castle three days ago, as a man of service and a fun and loving relative.
The princes paid tribute on Monday to the Duke of Edinburgh’s devotion to his wife, Queen Elizabeth II, but also nodded to their private memories of a grandfather they described warmly as sharp-witted, mischievous and affectionate to their children.
“My grandfather’s century of life was defined by service — to his country and Commonwealth, to his wife and Queen, and to our family,” William said in his statement. “I feel lucky to have not just had his example to guide me, but his enduring presence well into my own adult life — both through good times and the hardest days.”
“I will never take for granted the special memories my children will always have of their great-grandpa coming to collect them in his carriage and seeing for themselves his infectious sense of adventure as well as his mischievous sense of humor!” William said in his statement, adding that he would continue to support the Queen in the years ahead.
Harry said in his statement. “But to me, like many of you who have lost a loved one or grandparent over the pain of this past year, he was my grandpa: master of the barbecue, legend of banter, and cheeky right ’til the end.”
Harry said his grandfather would be sorely missed and thanked him for his service, his dedication to “Granny” and for always being himself.
He signed off his statement, “Per Mare, Per Terram” a Latin phrase meaning “by sea, by land” and the motto of the Royal Marines, hinting at he and his grandfather’s shared connection as they had both held the force’s ceremonial position of Captain General.
mending a monthslong rift that has emerged between the two brothers that Harry most recently talked about in an interview with Oprah Winfrey last month.
Harry, who has been living in California with his wife, Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, since spring last year, has returned to Britain to join the royal family in mourning and in anticipation of Philip’s funeral on Saturday. Meghan, who is pregnant, stayed in California after her doctor recommended that she should not travel.
Since Philip’s death on Friday at age 99, other members of the royal family have released their own personal tributes.
Prince Charles, the first in line to the throne, said that his father was a “much loved and appreciated figure” who over the last 70 years had “given the most remarkable, devoted service to the Queen, to my family and to the country, but also to the whole of the Commonwealth.”
After Prince Philip’s death, Britain entered eight days of national mourning, during which flags are being flown at half-staff.
Britain has only just started lifting coronavirus restrictions after its third national lockdown, and the ceremonial royal funeral of Philip, set to be held in St. George’s Chapel in the grounds of Windsor Castle on Saturday, will be in line with the government’s rules on social distancing.
announced on Friday.
Prince Andrew, the Queen and Philip’s third child who stepped back from public life in 2019 over his ties to the disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, said, “We are all feeling a great sense of loss.” He said the Queen is an “incredibly stoic person” and told news media that the monarch had described Philip’s death as having “left a huge void in her life.”
As they mourned the death of Prince Philip, who through 73 years of marriage to Queen Elizabeth II helped preserve a monarchy that many people saw as out of place in the modern world, the royal family and the nation grappled with how to pay him final honors amid a pandemic when mass gatherings are prohibited.
Tributes and condolences poured in from around Britain and the world, and small crowds collected outside Windsor Castle, where the 99-year-old prince died, and outside Buckingham Palace in London, despite rules barring outdoor gatherings of more than six people. Many of those gathered laid bouquets at the perimeter gates.
Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, will not lie in state for public viewing. His funeral will be held at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, rather than a much larger and more public venue like Westminster Abbey in London, and because of the pandemic it will not be open to the public. More details are expected to be released on Saturday.
His death follows a traumatic 13 months in which Covid-19 has killed more than 150,000 Britons — by far the highest official toll in Europe — and social distancing requirements have deprived millions of survivors of the usual commemorations. Now it is the nation’s most prominent family dealing with the same issue. Britain currently allows no more than 30 people to attend a funeral.
insulting and bigoted comments, and the image of him as a cold father, made Philip a somewhat problematic public figure for the queen, now 94, and the royal family. But by the 1990s his controversies were overshadowed by those of his children, and his advancing age made his sharp tongue charming to many people, or simply more irrelevant than offensive.
“The Crown,” which has depicted him as maturing into a wise and dedicated, if emotionally distant, figure.
Again and again, people paying tribute on Wednesday cited Philip’s commitment to duty.
“I just have so much respect for Prince Philip and all he’s done,” Britta Bia, 53 said outside Buckingham Palace, headquarters of the royal household. “I have so much respect for the royal family. I think they’ve done so much for charitable causes, and I think they’ve been upstanding citizens of the commonwealth.”
gave an interview to Oprah Winfrey, explaining their clashes within the palace and their decision to move to California. Philip, Harry’s paternal grandfather, was not mentioned as a factor, but defenders of the royals attacked the young couple for adding strain to the family at a time when Philip was hospitalized and appeared to be in failing health.
The decision not to give Philip a state funeral and have him lie in state is in accordance with his wishes, according to the College of Arms, a part of the royal household that helps organize state occasions. The last consort of a monarch who died, Queen Mary, mother of Queen Elizabeth and widow of King George VI, did lie in state after her death in 2002.
“It is regretfully requested that members of the public do not attempt to attend or participate in any of the events that make up the funeral,” the College of Arms said in a statement.
The palace said Philip had died peacefully and did not cite a specific cause, but said he did not have the coronavirus. He had been hospitalized several times over the past decade, including once for treatment of a blocked coronary artery and, in increasingly frail condition, he had stepped back from public duties in 2017.
hospitalized for four weeks, and underwent surgery on March 3 for what the palace described only as a pre-existing heart condition. He was also treated for an unspecified infection. He was released on March 16, just 24 days before his death.
Elian Peltier, Stephen Castle, Derrick Bryson Taylor, Geneva Abdul, Alex Marshall and Daniel Victor contributed reporting.