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.