Royal family fans around the world are preparing this week to honor Prince Philip, who died at age 99 on April 9, as he’s laid to rest on April 17.
The Duke of Edinburgh, husband of Queen Elizabeth II for more than 70 years, offered a steady presence behind her at thousands of public events, becoming as familiar to the British people as the queen, if not always as beloved.
His death was marked with 41-gun salutes at locations across the United Kingdom, including the Tower of London and Edinburgh Castle, as well as in Gibraltar and on Royal Navy ships at sea.
Here’s what to expect from Prince Philip’s funeral, code-named Operation Forth Bridge, as well as answers to some pressing questions:
What time is Prince Philip’s funeral?
The funeral will take place Saturday at Windsor Castle in a family service that will be closed to the public, Buckingham Palace said. It will begin with a nationwide moment of silence at 10 a.m. EDT/7 PDT (3 p.m. in England).
Prior to the service, Philip’s coffin will be placed on a Land Rover at 9:40 a.m. EDT for a small ceremonial procession from the State Entrance of Windsor Castle to St. George’s Chapel starting at 9:45 a.m. Members of the royal family will walk behind Prince Philip’s coffin, which will be carried by a custom Land Rover the Duke of Edinburgh helped design himself.
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Where can I watch Prince Philip’s funeral on TV?
Coverage plans for U.S. broadcast and cable networks include (all times EDT):
ABC: “World News Tonight” anchor David Muir will lead coverage starting at 9:30. ABC News Live will stream coverage.
CBS: “CBS This Morning” host Gayle King will anchor a special report starting at 9:30. CBSN will stream coverage.
NBC: Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb will anchor a special report beginning at 9:30 from their “Today” studio in New York. NBC News NOW will stream network coverage across platforms, including Peacock.
Fox News: “The Story” anchor Martha MacCallum will lead live coverage from 9 to noon from Fox headquarters in New York. Fox News Digital will stream funeral proceedings.
MSNBC and CNN are also expected to provide funeral coverage.
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Will Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attend?
Prince Harry has arrived in England and is following COVID-19 protocol, according to People and BBC. He’s set to attend the service, along with other members of the royal family. But his wife, Duchess Meghan, who is pregnant with the couple’s second child, has been advised by her doctor not to make the long journey from Southern California, where the family has been living, The Associated Press reported. Harry shared a tribute “in loving memory” of his grandfather on the couple’s Archewell website.
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How will the COVID-19 pandemic affect Prince Philip’s funeral?
The coronavirus pandemic means Prince Philip’s funeral will be a more low-key farewell than has marked many royal deaths. Palace officials have said the ceremony will be conducted strictly in line with government COVID-19 guidelines, which restrict the number of funeral attendees to 30. They declined to say whether the royal family would be required to wear masks.
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What are the funeral plans?
The College of Arms, the body that oversees ceremonial protocol, announced that the duke’s body will lie at rest in Windsor Castle, where Philip spent his final weeks with the queen. His funeral will be held in St. George’s Chapel, the site of centuries of royal burials. The 800-capacity church is located on the grounds of Windsor Castle, which also hosted the May 2018 wedding of Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan.
At the end of the service, Prince Philip will be interred in the chapel’s Royal Vault, according to the palace.
As the consort to the sovereign, Philip is entitled to a ceremonial funeral, the same type used to honor the Queen Mother and Princess Diana. But he reportedly didn’t want that kind of fuss made over him. That means he passed on the usual service at Westminster Abbey or St. Paul’s Cathedral and won’t lie in state at Westminster Palace.
Members of the public are asked to avoid gathering in crowds and consider making a donation to charity in lieu of floral tributes, according to a statement from Buckingham Palace. There will also be an online Book of Condolence for those who wish to leave messages on the royal website.
How did Prince Philip die?
Philip’s cause of death was not immediately known. Buckingham Palace’s announcement on April 9 said the prince “passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle.”
Philip had recently returned to Windsor Castle after the longest hospitalization of his life. He was admitted to a London hospital on Feb. 16 after feeling unwell. He was later transferred to another London hospital where he underwent a heart procedure, and then returned to King Edward VII Hospital where he stayed until his release on March 16. He was also hospitalized in December 2019 to treat a pre-existing condition.
In December 2011, he was rushed to the hospital when he suffered chest pains during the royal family’s annual Christmas holiday. He underwent an emergency stent procedure to correct a blocked artery and was released four days later. He also was hospitalized in 2012 for what was described as a sudden bladder infection.
Contributing: Jayme Deerwester, Maria Puente and Bill Keveney, USA TODAY, and The Associated Press