Call to pray for Queen on eve of Philip's funeral

Flowers outside St George's Chapel where Prince Philip's funeral will be held on Saturday. Photo:...
Flowers outside St George's Chapel where Prince Philip's funeral will be held on Saturday. Photo: Reuters
The spiritual leader of the Anglican Church has called on the British public to pray for the Queen or offer condolences in their hearts to her, the day before the funeral of her husband Prince Philip.

Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, who had been married to the British monarch since 1947, died on April 9 at Windsor Castle aged 99, leaving a "huge void" in her life.

On Saturday, a ceremonial royal funeral will be held at the castle's St George's Chapel in the grounds of the castle.

The scaled-down ceremony is due to coronavirus restrictions, although there will be some traditional grandeur. No public will be allowed, though it will be televised worldwide.

Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury who will lead the service alongside the dean of Windsor, said on Friday it would be wrong to judge how the 94-year-old Queen Elizabeth was feeling from her appearance at the ceremony.

"She's the Queen, she will behave with the extraordinary dignity and extraordinary courage that she always does. And at the same time, she is saying farewell to someone to who she was married for 73 years," Welby said.

"I think that must be a very, very profound thing in anybody's life, and I hope that the whole nation, if they believe in that, then they pray for her, if they don't then they sympathise and, in their hearts, offer their condolences to her, and the hope for her to find strength in what must be an anguished moment."

Elizabeth II, who is the symbolic head of the Church of England, has not been seen in public since her husband passed away.

The couple's second son Prince Andrew said his mother was being stoical in the face of a loss that she had described as "having left a huge void in her life".

Saturday's ceremonial royal funeral - which is not a state funeral - will begin at 1pm (GMT). A minute's silence across Britain is due to be held at 2pm (GMT).

HEARSE FIT FOR AND DESIGNED BY PRINCE

When Prince Philip's coffin is conveyed to church for his funeral service, it will be taken in a specially-commissioned Land Rover that the British royal himself helped design.

Although the event has been scaled down because of Covid-19 restrictions, many traditional elements will remain, with a military procession inside the castle and pall bearers from units with close links to Philip.

However, in place of the usual hearse, Philip's body will be taken from its current resting place to St George's Chapel on a bespoke Land Rover which has been modified to carry a coffin - in keeping with Philip's original plans for the funeral.

Buckingham Palace said the prince started on the project with Land Rover 18 years ago with the hearse based on a Defender TD 130 chassis and then modified, with the open top rear section custom made to Philip's specification.

It was painted Dark Bronze Green, a colour used for many military Land Rovers.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson told Parliament this week it was fitting that Philip would be taken to his final resting place on a modified Land Rover.

"That vehicle's unique and idiosyncratic silhouette reminds the world that he was above all a practical man, who could take something very traditional - whether a machine or indeed a great national institution - and find a way by his own ingenuity to improve it, to adapt it for the 20th or the 21st century," Johnson said.

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