LONDON (AP) – Prince Charles of England paid a heartfelt tribute to “dear Papa” on Saturday as Buckingham Palace presented an outline of the royal funeral that the family will attend and broadcast around the world.
As Queen Elizabeth II and other relatives mourned, Charles offered a private video message saying the royal family was “ very grateful ” for the outpouring of support they received after the death of her 99-year-old father, Prince Philip, on Friday. The heir to the throne said he was touched by the number of people around the world who have shared the loss and sorrow of their families.
“My dad is a very special person who I think, above all, will be amazed by the reactions and touching things that have been said about him,” said Charles, speaking from his home in Highgrove in southwest England. “And from that point of view we, my family, are very grateful for all of that. It will sustain us in this special loss and in these very sad times. ”
Philip’s royal ceremonial funeral will take place April 17 at Windsor Castle – a leaner service amid the COVID-19 pandemic that is completely closed to the public. The palace insists the royals will strictly adhere to national virus guidelines, steps that would in theory require the use of masks in confined spaces and social distancing. The palace declined to comment specifically.
Philip, the husband of the 73-year-old queen who is also known as the Duke of Edinburgh, co-planned her own funeral and focused on family according to her wishes. Duke also took part in designing a modified Land Rover that would carry his coffin.
“Despite the reduced ceremonial arrangements, the occasion will still celebrate and acknowledge the life of the duke and more than 70 years of service to the Queen, England and the Commonwealth,” a palace spokesman said Saturday while speaking on condition of anonymity. with policy.
Prince Harry, Philip’s grandson who resigned from royal duties last year and now lives in California, will attend services in Windsor along with other members of the royal family. His wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, is pregnant and has been advised by her doctors not to travel far to England.
Another absentee was Prime Minister Boris Johnson, whose office said he would not attend because current coronavirus restrictions limit funerals to 30 people, so staying away would “ allow as many family members as possible. ”
The Palace advised the public not to gather in Windsor or at Buckingham Palace in London to pay tribute to Philip – advice that many ignore.
Earlier on Saturday, military teams across Britain and on ships at sea unleashed 41 guns to mark Philip’s death, honoring a former naval officer they considered one of them.
Batteries in London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast – the capitals of the four nations that make up Great Britain – as well as other cities around Great Britain and the Mediterranean outpost at Gibraltar open fire at one-minute intervals starting at noon. The ships including HMS Montrose, a frigate that patrolled the Persian Gulf, paid their respects of their own.
“The Duke of Edinburgh served among us during the Second World War, and he remains in the service of the Royal Navy and the Armed Forces as a whole,” General Nick Carter, chief of defense staff, said in a statement. “A life well lived. His Majesty left us with a legacy of unshakable passion, fortitude and an unshakable sense of responsibility. “
Members of the Commonwealth, a group of 54 nations led by the queen, were also invited to honor Philip. The Australian Defense Force began saluting at 5 pm outside Parliament House in Canberra, and New Zealand plans to pay its own tribute on Sunday.
Philip joined the Royal Navy as a cadet in 1939 and had a promising military career. In 1941, he was honored for his services during the battle of Cape Matapan off the coast of Greece, when control of spotlights aboard the HMS Valiant allowed warships to pinpoint enemy ships in darkness. Philip rose to the rank of commander before he retired from active duty.
Two years after the war ended, Philip married Elizabeth at Westminster Abbey when he was 21 and she was 26. Philip’s naval career came to an abrupt end when King George VI died in 1952 and his wife became queen.
At the queen’s coronation in 1953, Philip vowed to become his wife’s “living and limb” and remain in the life of supporting the king. The couple has four children – Charles, heir to the throne, Anne, Andrew and Edward.
Prior to retiring from official duties in 2017, the prince conducted more than 22,000 solo public meetings and supported more than 780 organizations, including the Duke of Edinburgh Award for youth.
Community members continue to honor Philip’s service life, leaving flowers on Saturdays outside Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle.
“I think everyone wants to pay their respects,” said Maureen Field, 67, outside Windsor Castle. “Because of the virus, a lot of people have to stay away. He didn’t want a big funeral. He wanted some very private time with his family to say goodbye. So, we all have to respect that. “
Mike Williams, 50, traveled from his home in Surrey, southwest London, to Buckingham Palace in honor of the prince.
“He’s been a huge loss for the country and the world, I think, so we want to come and pay our respects,” said Williams. “I don’t know what was accomplished, but it feels like the right thing to do.”
Associated Press writers James Brooks and Tom Rayner contributed.
Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.