The Queen is “hopeful” to hold the memorial service for her late beloved husband Prince Philip today, but will make a final decision on her attendance this morning.
Her Majesty has been suffering from increasing mobility issues in recent months and is understood to be experiencing a variation of “good days and not so good” which sometimes prevent her from moving around as freely as she would like, royal sources have disclosed.
Palace assistants have been working with organizers of the event, which is due to start at 11.30am today at Westminster Abbey, to find a way for the 95-year-old monarch to attend as conveniently as possible.
She is “determined” to be joined by other family members including Prince Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
Some of the Queen’s older great-grandchildren were also able to attend, although this has not been confirmed.
The Queen has been actively involved in plans for the service, having recently recovered from Covid and moving permanently to Windsor Castle this month, with many elements being “deeply personal” decisions, a source said.
There will be no tribute or eulogy with royal sources suggesting the event was designed to maximize Her Majesty’s opportunity to attend in comfort.
Philip’s enduring legacy, the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, which he established in 1956, will feature prominently in the service.
The Duke, the longest British consort in history, will be remembered as a “man of rare ability and distinction” at the poignant funeral service, which featured elements he had planned for his own funeral but which were banned due to Covid-19 restrictions .
AFP via Getty Images)
Controversially, Prince Harry decided to stay away from his grandfather’s thanksgiving service after saying he thought it was “too dangerous” to return to London after the Home Office decided to strip him of his taxpayer-funded security.
Prince Andrew, who has just struck a huge £12million settlement with his sex abuse accuser Virginia Giuffre, will make his first public appearance with his family since the death of his father last year.
In a preliminary statement, Buckingham Palace said: “The service will thank the Duke of Edinburgh for his commitment to family, nation and commonwealth and the importance of his legacy in creating opportunities for young people, promoting environmental stewardship and conservation and the Supporting the armed forces recognize forces.
“The service will particularly recognize the Duke of Edinburgh’s contribution to public life and his unwavering support for the over 700 charities with which His Royal Highness has been associated throughout his life.”
Due to a lack of gestures from Philips pre-pandemic preparations, young recipients of the Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award and members of the UK Cadet Force youth associations will line the steps of Westminster Abbey as guests arrive.
The Duke’s express wish for the community to band together and sing the rousing hymn Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer, and for the clergymen of Windsor, Sandringham and Balmoral to play a special role, is finally being met.
The Duke’s “character gifts” are prayed for; for his humor and resilience; his bravery and devotion to duty’ by the Under-Dean of the Chapels Royal, while ‘his energy and spirit of adventure’ and ‘strength and steadiness’ are proclaimed by the clergy of the royal estates – known as the Queen’s chaplains.
A royal source said: “Great thought and planning went into every detail of the service, making it a fitting tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh.
“The Queen has made a huge commitment and is hoping to attend but will make a decision on the day.
“In any case, the event will leave a lasting impression.”
Around 30 foreign royal houses will take part, including Prince Albert of Monaco, Danish Queen Margrethe, King Harald and Queen Sonja of Norway and King Felipe VI of Spain. and Queen Letizia, who would have originally been on the pre-pandemic guest list.
The Duke’s extended family and friends will also be in attendance, as well as 500 representatives from his patronage and charities.
Other notable attendees will include Sir David Attenborough, Dame Floella Benjamin, Baroness Grey-Thompson, as well as members of the military involved in the funeral including Pipe Major Color Sergeant Peter Grant and the Grenadier Guards Bearer Party.
Philip, who has worked for many years on his own funeral details – codenamed Forth Bridge – had requested that the choir sing Te Deum in C by Benjamin Britten and this will be part of the process.
The Dean of Westminster, The Very Reverend David Hoyle, described Philip in the advertisement as “a man of rare ability and distinction, justly honored and celebrated, he has always diverted our attention from himself”.
“He worked quickly and with so many demands on his attention and encouraged us to focus on the things that matter the way he does,” he will say.
“He was a discipline and a character who seized opportunities and overcame obstacles and difficulties.
“We remember with affection and respect the enduring offer of a long, fulfilling life.”
The Dean of Windsor, The Right Reverend David Conner, will give a seven-minute address during the service, which will be broadcast live on BBC One.
A special tribute will be read from London’s Doyin Sonibare, 28, who holds her Bronze, Silver and Gold Duke of Edinburgh Awards, on the legacy and impact of the youth program founded by Philip in 1956.
Before the service begins, Her Majesty Portsmouth’s Royal Marines Band (Royal Band), conducted by Lieutenant Colonel Jason Burcham RM, Principal Music Director, will play when the congregation arrives.
The Duke of Edinburgh was Captain General of the Royal Marines for over six decades.
The service will be sung by the choirs of Westminster Abbey and Her Majesty’s Chapel Royal at St James’s Palace, conducted by James O’Donnell, organist and choirmaster of Westminster Abbey.
It was revealed on Sunday that plans are being drawn up for the Prince of Wales to read the Queen’s speech at next month’s State Opening of Parliament should the Queen be forced to miss the event due to ill health.
Prince Charles, 73, who has stepped up his duties in recent months, could step in for his mother on May 10.
The Queen has only missed two state openings during her 70-year reign, when she was pregnant with Prince Andrew in 1959 and just before Prince Edward’s birth in 1963.
Her speech was read by the Lord Chancellor.
Palace and government officials are discussing a contingency plan for Prince Charles or Dominic Raab, the Deputy Prime Minister and Lord Chancellor, to read the speech on their behalf.
The Prince and Duchess of Cornwall have joined the Queen at the state opening in recent years.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/queen-determined-attend-prince-philip-26578576 The Queen is "determined" to attend Prince Philip's memorial service with members of the Royal Family