Queen Elizabeth II’s husband, Prince Philip, died Wednesday at the age of 96, becoming the longest-reigning monarch’s husband. His death came just weeks after the sudden death of her son, Prince Charles.
The funeral of Prince Philip on Thursday was kept to a strict 50-minute time limit, including prayer services, a military funeral march and a traditional imperial organ salute. Flags across Britain were lowered to half-staff and a “tea oration” delivered by Philip’s son, Prince Andrew, said he would “never be the same again.” Philip’s ashes will be placed alongside his parents in a gold-bordered chapel in the gardens of Buckingham Palace, at the same spot where he wed the queen in 1947.
The queen arrived in a horse-drawn carriage and was flanked by her sons, Prince Charles and Prince Andrew, and their wives, Camilla Parker Bowles and Sarah Ferguson. There were no other high-profile royals in attendance, though Prime Minister Theresa May and former Prime Minister John Major, who stood next to her when she and Philip married, were in attendance.
“We are like a ship under sail, sails powered by a fine sea wind of life,” Major said as he paid his last respects to the prince, according to the British Broadcasting Corp.
The military procession stopped outside Buckingham Palace and the public was granted the opportunity to bid farewell before the car ride to St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, where the prince was laid to rest.
Britain’s main party leaders, including Prime Minister Theresa May, stood outside the gates to pay their respects, saying they were “deeply saddened.”
The ceremony was conducted by the cardinal of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, who, as well as being a prince of Rome, is also the archbishop of Westminster. Nichols read a medley of English, Scottish and Irish traditional songs as well as a reading from the Spanish hymn “Vida en el Acción” by Felipe VI, the son of King Felipe and Queen Letizia of Spain.
Those who knew Prince Philip well said they were shocked at his death. He was known for his blunt manner, his love of country life and his sense of humor, which earned him a reputation as something of a lovable rogue.
His funeral took on a distinctly churchy tone, given that Philip was often called to Westminster Abbey for special church services.
He was also a member of the deanery at Westminster Abbey and had been a regular in the choir room, once asking the cardinal, “Why don’t I want to sing?”
“I said, ‘Theres a part for you in the choir, Prince Philip. You can sing anything you like, just don’t ask me to prepare any music.’ He did not,” the cardinal said.