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.
LONDON — She was married to the spirited strains of a gospel choir, her veil embroidered with the flowers of Britain’s former colonies, a rare image among rows of white princes and princesses of the post-racial, immigrant society that some imagined Britain to be.
And then that vision came apart at the seams.
Meghan’s account of racism in the royal family, delivered last week from a wicker chair outside a California mansion, did more than open new wounds at Buckingham Palace. It also called into question whether the family or, indeed, the country were as embracing of Black people as her 2018 wedding had signaled they could be.
The revelations have rippled across the so-called Commonwealth family, a group of largely nonwhite ex-colonies headed by Queen Elizabeth II, prompting calls for a re-evaluation of royal ties and, in Australia, for casting off the British crown entirely.
At home, among Britons who identified with Meghan and her son, Archie, biracial newcomers in a very white family, the interview has had a different resonance, spotlighting the hard limits of the country’s racial progress.
novelist from London, recalled his white mother being disowned by her family for marrying his father, a Black man.
the largely white, royal-obsessed British tabloid press, and for its potential to undo much of the monarchy’s work of rebuilding from the fallout of Princess Diana’s death in 1997.
But among other things, the controversy over the interview has been a particularly trans-Atlantic tug of war — between an American habit of talking bluntly about race and a British one of papering over it, historians said.
Held in an American backyard, with one of the country’s most powerful Black celebrities, the interview exposed British dealings with race to an American glare — one that historians say has been honed by decades of segregation and racial violence to detect the less overt racist acts that Britons sometimes pretend are not there.
“There is, in Britain, a very big silence around race that, in fact, there isn’t in the United States,” said Priyamvada Gopal, a professor of postcolonial studies at the University of Cambridge. “You could not have had a comparable conversation on prime-time U.K. television. There is no one with Oprah’s profile. And the idea that a talk-show host would sit down with a royal couple or anyone and discuss race at length — that’s not actually imaginable in the U.K.”
When Meghan married Harry, some Black and biracial Britons saw versions of themselves, outsiders climbing the country’s most elite institution.
“do you still throw spears at each other,” and some years before that cautioned a British student in China that he would “go home with slitty eyes” if he stayed too long. Harry himself, as a young cadet at the Sandhurst military academy, used an ethnic slur for a Pakistani fellow cadet.
Far from washing that history from Britons’ memories, Meghan has splashed it on the front pages.
“Black Britain probably feels a lot more connected to Meghan Markle today than it did three years ago,” said Kehinde Andrews, a professor of Black Studies at Birmingham City University.
Mark Leonard, the director of the European Council on Foreign Relations, who has written about modernizing the institution.
Far from the royal palaces, Britain is nevertheless reinventing itself. As of 2011, nearly one in 10 people living in a couple in England and Wales was part of an interethnic relationship. London neighborhoods are less segregated than many cities in the United States. Elements of other cultures are slowly being absorbed into the British identity.
Not everyone is pleased with that transition; one of the appeals of Brexit was the promise of limiting immigration.
two-thirds of its deaths during the pandemic.
Senior leaders are overwhelmingly white, a phenomenon once described as the “snowy white peaks of the N.H.S.,” and nonwhite staff members are likelier to enter disciplinary proceedings.
Like the royal family, the British media, too, has often seemed to many Black Britons like it was made for a white audience. This week, television hosts have wondered aloud why asking about Archie’s skin was any different from speculating about a white baby’s hair.
Izabelle Lee, 23, said the coverage had an effect. An actress born to a white British mother and a Black Trinidadian father, she said that articles stoking fear of illegal migrants preoccupied her white grandparents.
golliwog, a racist caricature, enraging her mother. Watching Meghan speak this week, Ms. Lee said she recognized the look in her mother’s eyes when she spoke of how relatives reacted to her marrying a Black man.
“I think she felt an unfairness, and a tension,” Ms. Lee said of her mother, “that if she had a child with a white man, she wouldn’t have felt.”