Queen leads royals as they bid farewell to the Duke of Edinburgh at his funeral

17 April 2021, 15:21 | Updated: 17 April 2021, 16:54

The Queen sat alone during the service
The Queen sat alone during the service. Picture: PA

By Harriet Whitehead

The Duke of Edinburgh has been laid to rest at an intimate family funeral in Windsor, as the Queen bid goodbye to her husband of 73 years.

Dressed in black and wearing a face mask, the Queen sat alone while the congregation wore masks and socially distanced in line with Covid rules.

The Dean of Windsor paid tribute to Prince Philip's "kindness, humour and humanity" during the ceremony.

Elizabeth II has reigned for 69 years and faces the remainder of her time on the throne without her husband at her side.

Queen Elizabeth II takes her seat in St George's Chapel, at Windsor Castle, Berkshire, for the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh.
Queen Elizabeth II takes her seat in St George's Chapel, at Windsor Castle, Berkshire, for the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh. Picture: PA

The Queen was one of 30 attendees to say farewell to Philip at St George's Chapel in the grounds of Windsor castle.

Coronavirus restrictions have limited the size and scope of the ceremony, with public elements cancelled, mourners limited to 30 - down from 800 - and all guests required to sit apart and wear face coverings.

The nave, which was packed with family and friends at three royal weddings in recent years, was an empty space filled only with the sunlight streaming in through the magnificent stained glass windows, four singers, a conductor, Royal Marine buglers and state trumpeters.

There were no rows of pews packed with mourners, but instead the sparse floor lay bare, allowing for the handful of singers and musicians to carry out their roles in a socially distanced manner.

The singers - three men (who are lay clerks of St George's Chapel choir) and one woman (a soprano) - all live in nearby Horseshoe Cloister, forming part of what was an intimate and community-focused affair.

Queen Elizabeth II arrives for the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle
Queen Elizabeth II arrives for the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle. Picture: PA
The Funeral Of Prince Philip, Duke Of Edinburgh Is Held In Windsor
The Funeral Of Prince Philip, Duke Of Edinburgh Is Held In Windsor. Picture: Getty

The reduced ceremony, however, may help create the "no-fuss" ceremony Prince Philip desired.

The Duke of Edinburgh died at Windsor Castle on Friday 9 April, aged 99.

The service reflected the life, passions and achievements of Philip, including much praise for his "unwavering loyalty" to the Queen and the lives changed under the Duke of Edinburgh's Award scheme.

READ MORE: Queen shares one of her favourite photos of herself and Prince Philip

READ MORE: Order of service announced for duke's 'no fuss' funeral

A national minute's silence was held from 3pm as the service got under way at Windsor Castle.

Hundreds of people gathered in Windsor, despite being urged to stay away - many have been laying flowers at the gates.

The Duke retired from public life in May 2017 when he stopped carrying out engagements on behalf of the crown.

He officially retired on 2 August of that year, having carried out 22,219 solo engagements since 1952.

READ MORE: Prince Philip's passion for carriage-driving will be 'poignant' feature of his funeral

READ MORE: Guests for Prince Philip's funeral announced as Queen is set to sit alone

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby at Windsor Castle
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby at Windsor Castle. Picture: PA

Prince William and Kate Middleton have been pictured arriving ahead of the 3pm service.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has also arrived at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, ahead of Saturday afternoon's service.

The Most Rev Justin Welby will preside over the funeral alongside the Dean of Windsor.

They will receive the coffin after the minute's silence marking the start of the funeral.

The Foot Guards Band are seen marching outside St George's Chapel
The Foot Guards Band are seen marching outside St George's Chapel. Picture: PA

The Foot Guards Band were seen marching outside St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, Berkshire, ahead of the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh.

The Duke's favourite driving carriage, accompanied by two of his grooms, was also pulled by his two trusty black Fell ponies, Balmoral Nevis and Notlaw Storm, to stand in the Quadrangle.

It was a poignant reminder of Philip's love of the fast-paced sport, which he took up when he turned 50 and continued to enjoy non-competitively in his 90s.