Prince Philip will be laid to rest at St. George's Chapel in Windsor Castle on Saturday amid strict COVID-19 guidelines

By Stephanie Petit and Simon Perry
April 14, 2021 01:42 PM
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Prince Philip's funeral will be a smaller event than previous royal burials — and it's likely what the late royal would have preferred.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Duke of Edinburgh will be laid to rest at St. George's Chapel in Windsor Castle on Saturday surrounded only by close family members and friends.

"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."

Listen below to the episode of our daily podcast PEOPLE Every Day for more details on Prince Philip's funeral.

Saturday's service will be known as a ceremonial royal funeral and not a state funeral, which is generally reserved for monarchs. The funeral plans take into account the country's COVID guidelines and are "much reduced in scale with no public access," a palace spokesman announced over the weekend.

prince philip cover queen elizabeth

The funeral will take place entirely within the grounds of Windsor Castle and plans have been given final approval by the Queen but they "still very much reflect the personal wishes of the Duke. The occasion will still celebrate and recognize the Duke's life and his more than 70 years of service to the Queen, the U.K. and the Commonwealth."

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth
| Credit: Samir Hussein/WireImage

Prince Harry has returned to the U.K. for the first time in over a year to attend his grandfather's funeral this coming weekend. He arrived in the U.K. from California on Sunday and is staying at his Frogmore Cottage home in Windsor, the house where he, wife Meghan Markle and son Archie lived before they left the U.K., PEOPLE has learned. Prince Harry is following COVID-19 protocols before joining his family at Prince Philip's funeral on Saturday.

Meghan — who is expecting their second child, a baby girl — did not accompany her husband. She "has been advised by her physician not to travel," a royal spokesman said.

Prince Harry and Prince Phillip
Prince Harry and Prince Philip
| Credit: Phil Walter/Getty

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Prince Philip is currently lying at rest at Windsor Castle. On the day of the funeral, at around 2:40 p.m in the U.K. (9:40 a.m. ET) on April 17, Philip's coffin will be moved in a small ceremonial procession from the state entrance to the castle to the chapel. The funeral will begin with a nationally-observed minute's silence at 10 a.m. E.T.

"While this is naturally a time of sadness and mourning for the royal family and the many others who knew and admired the Duke of Edinburgh, it is hoped that the coming days will also be seen as an opportunity to celebrate a remarkable life: Remarkable both in terms of his vast contribution and lasting legacy," the Buckingham Palace spokesman said.