A mass dedicated to Prince Philip will take place on March 29. The occasion for the European nobility to pay tribute to the late husband of Queen Elizabeth II.
The photo of the Queen, now a lonely widow, thin and isolated on a bench in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle last April had gone around the world in just a few hours. After 73 years of a happy marriage, her husband, Prince Philip died at the age of 99 on April 9, 2021. A huge loss for the sovereign whose health has deteriorated considerably since.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic that was still in full swing, at the time of the death of the Prince Consort, his funeral was celebrated on April 17, 2021 in a very small committee. Only thirty people could attend his funeral at Windsor Castle. One more grief to bear for Queen Elizabeth II.
At the time of his death, a future ceremony of homage had already been announced and a few weeks ago, Buckingham Palace set the date for March 29. A mass of thanksgiving will take place in Westminster Abbey and will be attended by thousands of people including many relatives of the prince.
A few days before her 96th birthday and her Platinum Jubilee, Queen Elizabeth is preparing to say a final farewell to her beloved husband, surrounded by a good part of the European aristocracy. However, in recent days, the British sovereign has been forced to cancel many events for health reasons. Thus, there is still doubt as to whether she will really be able to go to Westminster or not…
In order to avoid any fatigue overload for the monarch, the courtiers are planning a quasi-military organization around the tribute ceremony. Starting with a helicopter ride to bring Queen Elizabeth, currently residing at Windsor Castle, to Buckingham Palace. She will make the rest of the journey by car. For the moment, she has firmly rejected the possibility of using a wheelchair.
The crowned guests arrive en masse
If the official funeral of Prince Philip had been held behind closed doors last April, this year, with health restrictions related to the Covid-19 pandemic having been mostly removed, European nobility intends to make up for it and will travel en masse to the United Kingdom on 29 March 2022.
Among those present will be King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Sofia of Sweden. King Felipe VI of Spain, another direct descendant of Queen Victoria – rightly called the “grandmother of Europe” – will come to pay tribute to his illustrious cousin, accompanied by his wife, Queen Letizia. King Willem-Alexander, Queen Maxima and Princess Beatrix will also be present.
King Harald V and Queen Sonja of Norway had announced their arrival, but the worrying state of health of the monarch, currently positive for Covid-19, will probably force them to cancel their visit. On the other hand, King Philippe of Belgium and his wife, Queen Mathilde, will come, as well as Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg. Princess Margareta and Prince Radu of Romania will also visit Westminster Abbey.
In addition, some lesser-known members of Prince Philip Mountbatten’s family will surely make the trip, including the royal family of Greece, the country where the deceased was born.
The entire royal family of England (or almost)
Not surprisingly, the Windsor clan will be in full force at the memorial service for Prince Philip – except for Prince Harry. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have confirmed that they will not be able to travel to London from Los Angeles, California, for the occasion.
One of the reasons for their absence is undoubtedly, the refusal of the British government to grant them a protection service appropriate to their social rank and the risks associated with it. Fearing for the safety of his two children, Archie and Lilibeth, and that of his wife, Meghan Markle, Prince Harry announced that he will not return to the UK with his family until further notice.
On March 29, all eyes will be on Prince Andrew. The disgraced duke offers his first official exit since the signing of his financial agreement with Virginia Giuffre. As a reminder, the young woman accused him of rape and the agreement, estimated at around 12 million pounds, allowed the royal family to escape the prolonged humiliation of a highly publicized trial. His daughters, Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice, both very attached to their grandfather, Philip, will surely be at his side. The day promises to be solemn but eventful.
Photo credits: Agency / Bestimage