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.”