A beautiful, dignified send-off for the Duke of Edinburgh

The funeral for the late Duke of Edinburgh has concluded at Windsor, following a sombre procession to St George’s Chapel and a beautiful, dignified service planned in large part by the Duke himself.

His coffin was carried to St George’s Chapel in a modified Land Rover hearse, which he himself had helped design, followed by a procession of royal relatives including the Prince of Wales, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, Prince Edward, the Duke of Cambridge, and the Duke of Sussex, and Peter Phillips.

At the end of the procession the nation observed a minute’s silence for the Queen’s devoted husband of 73 years, whose long record of remarkable public service has been hailed in the week since his passing last Friday, as his coffin was dutifully held before the Chapel.

The service was carried out by the Dean of Windsor, the Right Reverend David Conner, and the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, and was punctuated by beautiful pieces of choral music performed by a small choir.

It included carefully chosen readings, including one from the Old Testament’s Book of Ecclesiastes which reflected on the Duke’s love and respect for nature, and another poignant passage underscoring his devoted Christian faith.

Because of ongoing coronavirus restrictions on the capacity and conduct of funerals, it was an unusual socially distanced affair, with Her Majesty the Queen sitting alone as she marked the passing of the man she’d loved for most of her life.

The image of the Queen sitting alone sparked sympathetic comment from public figures and members of the public, with Omid Djalili saying it would be “an enduring image” which underlined her dignity and sense of duty, and TalkRadio contributor Mahyar Tousi saying: “She might be a widow now but she’s not alone. Millions around the commonwealth adore and support her. She’s our nation’s grandmother.”

Others reflected on the Queen as a symbol of all those who have lost loved ones during the pandemic. Historian Tom Holland wrote: “A lump in my throat thinking of the Queen’s loss, & of how powerful & strange a ritual this is: the grief of one elderly woman in her mask a mirror held up to the grief experienced by so many over the past year.”