Queen Elizabeth II cut a lonely figure at Windsor Castle today as she said her final goodbye to her husband of 73 years, Prince Philip.
The Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral in St George’s Chapel was being held in accordance with coronavirus restrictions, meaning only 30 family members and close friends were allowed, and they had to practise social distancing.
Shortly before 3pm, local time, Philip’s coffin was carried out of Windsor Castle’s state entrance and placed on an adapted Land Rover of the Prince’s own design for the procession to the chapel.
Several close family members, including Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, Prince William and Prince Harry, walked behind the car.
Her Majesty followed in a Bentley, accompanied by a lady-in-waiting, Susan Hussey.
The Queen then entered the chapel before the rest of the procession.
She sat alone in the quire, while other mourners were separated into family bubbles.
The Queen bowed her head in silence as David Connor, the Dean of Windsor, began the funeral service.
“We are here today in St George’s Chapel to commit into the hands of God the soul of his servant Prince Philip,” said the Dean.
“With grateful hearts, we remember the many ways in which his long life has been a blessing to us. We have been inspired by his unwavering loyalty to our Queen, by his service to the nation and the Commonwealth, by his courage, fortitude, and faith.
“Our lives have been enriched through the challenges that he has set us, the encouragement that he has given us, his kindness, humour and humanity.
“We therefore pray that God will give us grace to follow his example, and that, with our brother Philip, at the last, we shall know the joys of life eternal.”
The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic were evident in other parts of the service as well. Instead of the usual full choir one would expect, there were only four singers, each of them spaced apart.
Guests were not allowed to sing at all.
As Philip’s coffin was lowered into the Royal Vault, where his body will remain until the Queen dies and he is moved to be with her, the Dean spoke again.
“Go forth upon thy journey from this world, oh Christian soul,” he said.
“In the name of God the Father Almighty who created thee; in the name of Jesus Christ who suffered for thee; in the name of the Holy Spirit who strengtheneth thee; may thy portion this day be in peace, and they dwelling in the heavenly Jerusalem. Amen.”
The Queen’s isolation during the service, and the emptiness of the chapel, were a powerful reminder of the ordeal many others have suffered after losing loved ones during the pandemic, as several viewers noted.