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Royal family continue to grieve Philip’s death as national mourning ends

Danny Lawson/PA

By PA Reporters

The royal family will continue to grieve this week following the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral, although the period of national mourning has ended.

After almost 70 years as head of state, the Queen will reign without her husband by her side, as she sat on her own during the funeral service that bore Philip’s touch and celebrated his life and legacy.

The ceremony in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle on Saturday reflected Philip’s lifelong support of the armed forces, having had a close connection with the Navy for more than 80 years.

His coffin, draped with his personal standard, featured his Admiral of the Fleet naval cap and sword next to a wreath of white flowers chosen by the Queen with a handwritten card from his wife of 73 years.

Charles was joined by the Princess Royal, Duke of York and Earl of Wessex as they walked behind Philip’s coffin – which was carried by a Land Rover Defender hearse he helped design – during the funeral procession.

Following closely behind were the duke’s grandsons the Duke of Sussex, Duke of Cambridge and Peter Phillips, and Vice Admiral Tim Laurence, the Princess Royal’s husband, and the Queen’s nephew the Earl of Snowdon.

Harry and William – who have a troubled relationship – were separated by their cousin Peter Phillips.

After the service, the siblings walked back up the hill to the castle in conversation and seemed to have put any differences aside.

Judi James, author and body language expert, said the royals appeared “surprised at how hard Philip’s death had hit them” during the service.

She described the Queen as looking “very vulnerable and frail”, while her son the Prince of Wales became “isolated in his own grief” as the funeral continued.

Family plans for Sunday have not been made public and it is not known how long Harry intends to stay in the UK before heading back to his pregnant wife in the US.

At 3pm on Saturday the nation came to a halt to observe a minute’s silence in memory of the duke who died a few months short of his 100th birthday.

At the same time, a minute's silence was held outside The Convent in Gibraltar and a guna salute was fired by soldiers of the Royal Gibraltar Regiment as flags flew at half mast on official buildings including No.6 Convent Place.

The country was in national mourning from Philip’s death on April 9 until and including the day of the funeral.

Union flags were flown at half-mast on royal residences, government buildings, armed forces establishments and at UK posts overseas during the week.

Among the 30 guests at the funeral were the Duchess of Cambridge and the Countess of Wessex, and her children Viscount Severn and Lady Louise Windsor.

Zara and Mike Tindall, Princess Beatrice and her husband Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, and Princess Eugenie and her husband Jack Brooksbank were also among the mourners.

Three of Philip’s German relatives were invited, as was his close friend Countess Mountbatten of Burma.

Philip was the guiding force behind the preparations for his funeral, which was pared back because of Covid restrictions, with guests reduced from around 800 to 30 and the public elements cancelled.

In a prayer, the Archbishop of Canterbury gave thanks for the duke’s “resolute faith and loyalty”.

In a moment never seen before on television, the duke’s coffin was slowly lowered into the royal vault as his titles were read out at the end of the service.

Buglers from the Royal Marines sounded the Last Post and a few moments later the Reveille was played by the State Trumpeters of the Household Cavalry.

Philip served as Captain General of the Royal Marines for more than six decades and at the end of the service the buglers sounded Action Stations, a tune which is played on a warship to signal all hands should go to battle stations and is sometimes featured at funerals of naval men.

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