William and Harry will not walk side by side for Duke of Edinburgh's funeral procession

16 April 2021, 06:26

The Duke of Sussex and The Duke of Cambridge pictured together at the Cenotaph in 2019
The Duke of Sussex and The Duke of Cambridge pictured together at the Cenotaph in 2019. Picture: PA

By Asher McShane

The Duke of Cambridge and Duke of Sussex will not walk side by side in the Duke of Edinburgh's funeral procession.

William and Harry will be separated during the procession by their cousin Peter Phillips when the trio walk in a line behind their grandfather's coffin at Windsor Castle on Saturday.

The future king will also be one step ahead of his brother when the coffin is taken into St George's Chapel, moving ahead of Harry as the royal family, including the Prince of Wales, go forward in pairs.

Details of the duke's funeral were released by Buckingham Palace on Thursday and final preparations for his farewell are continuing today.

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

READ MORE: Prince Philip's funeral: Who will attend and what is the dress code?

A palace spokesman said the Queen and her family are grateful for all the messages of condolence from around the world and have been touched to hear so many people - both young and old - sharing fond memories of the duke.

The Queen addressed the nation on the eve of her mother's funeral in 2002 to thank the country for their support and the love and honour shown to the 101-year-old.

In a televised address, the monarch said she had been deeply moved by the outpouring of affection and the overwhelming numbers of people paying their respects since the Queen Mother's death.

It is not clear whether the Queen will deliver an address to the nation on Friday ahead of Saturday's service.

Harry has spoken in the past about how he and William are on "different paths" and have good and bad days in their relationship.

Their brotherly bond was put under further strain after the Sussexes' interview with Oprah Winfrey where they accused a royal family member of racism, something William strongly denied.

Asked whether arrangements for the procession reflected the royal siblings' relationship, a Buckingham Palace spokesman said: "This is a funeral, we're not going to be drawn into those perceptions of drama, or anything like that, this is a funeral.

"The arrangements have been agreed, and they represent Her Majesty's wishes, so we're not going to say anything more on that."

The palace has confirmed the Queen and 30 guests invited to the service will wear face masks during the funeral which will last 50 minutes.

A palace spokesman said the monarch had to make "difficult decisions about who would be there" due to Covid restrictions limiting mourners.

The Queen will be sitting by herself in the Quire of St George's Chapel, with all mourners following Covid guidelines and remaining socially distanced, but for the short car journey to the place of worship from the Castle she will be joined by a lady-in-waiting.

Philip was the guiding force behind his funeral arrangements and reflecting his life-long association with the Royal Navy, Buglers of the Royal Marines will sound Action Stations during the service at the duke's request.

It is played on a warship to signal all hands should go to battle stations and is sometimes featured at funerals of naval men.

A reduced choir of just four singers will feature during the service and the guests will follow Covid rules and not sing.

Among the guests are all of the duke's children and grandchildren and their spouses, the children of the Queen's sister Princess Margaret and three of Philip's German relatives, the Hereditary Prince of Baden, Prince Donatus, Landgrave of Hesse and Prince Philipp of Hohenlohe-Langenburg.

Also invited is a close friend of the duke, Countess Mountbatten of Burma - Penelope "Penny" Knatchbull, previously known as Lady Romsey and later Lady Brabourne - who was Philip's carriage driving partner.

The funeral will be the highest profile royal event the Duke of York has attended since he stepped down from public duties following his disastrous Newsnight interview about his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

Buckingham Palace has confirmed that royal men will wear morning coats with their medals while the women will wear day dresses.

The Buckingham Palace spokesman stressed the duke's funeral will "at its heart" be a "family event".

He said: "We are following the Covid guidelines, there (is) a limit on who could be invited as a guest and Her Majesty wanted to ensure that all branches of the duke's family were there, and had to make - I think fair to say - difficult decisions about who would be there."

During the funeral service, which will be conducted by the Dean of Windsor David Conner, the duke's coffin will be lowered into the royal vault in front of the guests.