Floral tributes and messages of condolence are seen outside Windsor Castle in Windsor, west of London.(AFP)
Floral tributes and messages of condolence are seen outside Windsor Castle in Windsor, west of London.(AFP)

Land Rover SUV redesigned by Prince Philip to carry his coffin

  • Britain’s Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth’s husband who died on Friday aged 99, will have a ceremonial funeral on Saturday without any public access or public procession, Buckingham Palace said.
Agencies | , London
PUBLISHED ON APR 12, 2021 01:02 AM IST

A Land Rover that Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, helped design over 15 years ago will be part of the funeral procession of Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip, and will be flanked by pall bearers drawn from the Royal Marines as it transports the British Royal member’s coffin on April 17.

Britain’s Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth’s husband who died on Friday aged 99, will have a ceremonial funeral on Saturday without any public access or public procession, Buckingham Palace said.

Prince Philip had a role in the design of the vehicle and had always wanted it to be involved in his funeral, a senior aide said, according to UK media reports.

The vehicle is believed to be a modified Defender 130 Gun Bus, which was commissioned for use by the Queen’s late husband in 2005 – three years before the British luxury brands Jaguar and Land Rover (JLR) were taken over by Tata Motors.

Saturday’s funeral will take place at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle after an eight-minute ceremonial procession within the castle’s grounds. There will be no public access, although the service and procession will be televised.

“It will be what’s known as a ceremonial royal funeral,” a Buckingham Palace spokesperson said, adding: “The plans for the funeral are very much in line with the Duke of Edinburgh’s own personal wishes.”

Philip currently lies at rest in the Private Chapel at Windsor Castle. There will be no lying in state. On April 17 the coffin will be moved from the State Entrance to St George’s Chapel for a funeral service.

The service will begin with a national minute of silence. The congregation will adhere to national Covid guidelines. At the end of the service Philip will be interred in the Royal Vault in St George’s Chapel. Prince Philip’s death triggered eight days of national mourning, which ends with his funeral on Saturday.

Well-rehearsed plans for his funeral -- codenamed “Operation Forth Bridge” -- have had to be hastily revised because of coronavirus restrictions.

Public elements of the ceremony have been eliminated to avoid crowds gathering, while the congregation at the chapel is limited to just 30.

That sparked huge speculation about whether the duke’s grandson Prince Harry will attend, after he and his American wife and actor Meghan quit royal duties last year.

Buckingham Palace on Saturday confirmed Harry’s attendance but said Meghan, who is heavily pregnant with the couple’s second child, would not travel on medical advice.

The couple, who now live in the United States, have launched a series of broadsides against the royals, including charges of racism and not looking after Meghan’s mental health.

‘Huge void’

Queen Elizabeth II has been left bereft at the death of her husband, Prince Philip, one of their sons said on Sunday, as prayers were said at memorial services across Britain.

Prince Andrew said his 94-year-old mother was “incredibly stoic” but had been hit hard by the death of the Duke of Edinburgh on Friday. Last year the couple celebrated 73 years of marriage. “She described it (his death) as having left a huge void in her life,” Andrew said after a church service at Windsor Castle, west of London. The Queen and Philip’s second son described his father as “the grandfather of the nation” and said close family were “rallying round” his mother.

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