It has been only four days since the Queen lost her husband, Prince Philip, but she has already returned to royal duties. Queen Elizabeth held an event to mark the retirement of the Duke of Edinburgh, her household’s most senior official.
The Queen hosted the ceremony at Windsor as William Peel stepped down from his role as Lord Chamberlain, which is the first in-person event she’s attended since her loss.
Plans Underway for Prince Philip’s Funeral
Before his retirement, the Earl took the time to oversee the arrangements for the duke’s funeral, which will take place on Saturday, April 17. A week before Prince Philip passed away, he had handed responsibility for the operation, known as Operation Forth Bridge, to his successor, Andrew Parker. Parker had served as the former MI5 spy chief.
It was speculated that the Queen would sit by herself during her husband’s funeral because of health concerns amid the pandemic. This is because there are rules in place that state that if people aren’t part of your household, they must stay at least six feet apart. However, since the Queen doesn’t live alone, a member of her Windsor Castle staff will be allowed to accompany her.
Only 30 mourners will be allowed at the ceremony due to the pandemic rules, and they must wear face coverings. They also will not be allowed to sing, unless they are the one “professional” allowed to do so.
Prince William Pays Tribute to His Grandfather
Following the loss of their grandfather, both Prince William and Prince Harry issued statements. Prince Philip was regarded as a “man of service, honor and great humor,” by Harry, while William described him as an “extraordinary man.”
“I will miss my Grandpa, but I know he would want us to get on with the job,” added Prince William.
In an additional statement, William said, “My grandfather’s century of life was defined by service – to his country and Commonwealth, to his wife and Queen, and to our family. I feel lucky to have not just had his example to guide me, but his enduring presence well into my own adult life – both through good times and the hardest days.
“I will always be grateful that my wife had so many years to get to know my grandfather and for the kindness he showed her.
“I will never take for granted the special memories my children will always have of their great-grandpa coming to collect them in his carriage and seeing for themselves his infectious sense of adventure as well as his mischievous sense of humor!”
Prince Harry Offers Words of Sentiment for the Duke of Edinburgh
Prince Harry also expressed words of sentiment regarding his grandfather’s charm and wit.
“He was authentically himself, with a seriously sharp wit, and could hold the attention of any room due to his charm – and also because you never knew what he might say next.
“He will be remembered as the longest reigning consort to the monarch, a decorated serviceman, a prince and a duke.
“But to me, like many of you who have lost a loved one or grandparent over the pain of this past year, he was my grandpa: master of the barbecue, legend of banter, and cheeky right ’til the end.”