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Prince Philip Is Memorialized In An Intimate Funeral Ceremony

Members of the royal family follow Prince Philip's coffin during the ceremonial procession during his funeral at Windsor Castle on Saturday in Windsor, England.
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Members of the royal family follow Prince Philip's coffin during the ceremonial procession during his funeral at Windsor Castle on Saturday in Windsor, England.

Updated April 17, 2021 at 11:54 AM ET

Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh and husband of Queen Elizabeth II was memorialized Saturday in a funeral service, decades in the making, before being laid to rest in Windsor Castle.

Because of the pandemic, many of the usual ceremonies were dropped. After a national moment of silence, Philip's body was carried to the gates of Windsor Castle in a personalized hearse, a Land Rover that he helped modify.

The Duke of Edinburgh's coffin, covered with His Royal Highness's Personal Standard arrives at St. George's Chapel.
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The Duke of Edinburgh's coffin, covered with His Royal Highness's Personal Standard arrives at St. George's Chapel.

What would traditionally be a ceremony of great spectacle was greatly pared down. The public was barred from attending the funeral in person; only 30 people were allowed into St. George's Chapel. Those in attendance, including many members of the royal family, sat socially distanced, wearing masks.

Queen Elizabeth, Philip's wife of 73 years, sat alone, dressed in black.

Queen Elizabeth II during the funeral of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, at Windsor Castle.
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Queen Elizabeth II during the funeral of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, at Windsor Castle.

The Rev. David Conner, who conducted the service, spoke of "the many ways in which his long life has been a blessing to us."

"We have been inspired by his unwavering loyalty to our queen, by his service to the nation and the Commonwealth, by his courage, fortitude and faith," Conner said. "Our lives have been enriched through the challenges that he has set us, the encouragement that he has given us, his kindness, humor and humanity."

Philip's soul was celebrated to the strains of a four-person choir, singing selections chosen by him in advance. Before his death April 9 at the age of 99, Philip had spent years involved in crafting the details of his funeral.

His body was interred in the Royal Vault at St. George's Chapel, alongside 24 other royals, including three kings of England.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Matthew S. Schwartz is a reporter with NPR's news desk. Before coming to NPR, Schwartz worked as a reporter for Washington, DC, member station WAMU, where he won the national Edward R. Murrow award for feature reporting in large market radio. Previously, Schwartz worked as a technology reporter covering the intricacies of Internet regulation. In a past life, Schwartz was a Washington telecom lawyer. He got his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, and his B.A. from the University of Michigan ("Go Blue!").

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