Prince Philip Won't Have a Eulogy or Readings by Family Members at His Funeral
Prince Philip's scaled-down funeral at St. George's Chapel in Windsor Castle on Saturday will not include a eulogy or any readings by royal family members, according to the Order of Service released by the palace on Friday.
"The Order of Service for the funeral was agreed with The Duke of Edinburgh during his lifetime, and reflects The Duke's close military affiliations, and personal elements of His Royal Highness' life," the statement read.
The service will be led by the Dean of Windsor, the Right Reverend David Conner, who will give the bidding. Prayers will be said by the Dean and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.
A selection of music that was chosen by Prince Philip will be played during the service. A choir of four singers will sing, but due to COVID-19 precautions, the congregation will not be permitted to join in. The Duke of Edinburgh requested that Psalm 104 should be set to music. The piece was sung at a concert celebrating the Duke of Edinburgh's 75th birthday. The choir will also sing "Eternal Father, Strong to Save," which is traditionally associated with the Royal Navy and reflects Philip's military service and his lifelong support of the Armed Forces.
At the conclusion of the service, the buglers of the Royal Marines — of which Philip served as Captain General for more than six decades — will sound "Action Stations." This is traditionally an announcement that would be made on a naval warship to signify that all hands should go to battle stations, and was requested by the Duke of Edinburgh.
Several modifications have been made due to the ongoing pandemic as well. Queen Elizabeth and all 29 attendees will be wearing masks inside St. George's Chapel. They will also be seated six feet apart.
"Ironically, it is probably how he would have liked," former palace spokeswoman Ailsa Anderson tells PEOPLE in this week's issue. "No fuss, no bother. Right through his life, he never knew what all the fuss was about."
The lack of a eulogy isn't unprecedented when it comes to royal funerals. Queen Elizabeth's mother, the Queen Mother, didn't have a eulogy at her 2002 funeral service. For the funeral of Princess Diana, however, her brother, Charles Spencer, delivered a stirring eulogy, in which he memorably said, "It is a point to remember that of all the ironies about Diana, perhaps the greatest was this — a girl given the name of the ancient goddess of hunting was, in the end, the most hunted person of the modern age."
Prince Philip's coffin will be surrounded by his wife of 73 years, four children, eight grandchildren and other close family members and friends at his funeral.
Queen Elizabeth had to "make some difficult decisions" about who could be there keeping with the 30-person limit, a Buckingham Palace spokesman says.
"We are dealing with a family funeral and at its heart, it is still a family event," the spokesman adds."