The life of Prince Philip was celebrated at church services throughout Britain on Sunday, with the Archbishop of Canterbury praying for those who found out that the death of Queen Elizabeth’s husband had left a “huge gap” in their lives.
Celebrating the third day of eight days nationwide, people gathered at royal palaces to leave flowers, while religious and political leaders voiced support for the 94-year-old queen, the oldest and longest reigning king on earth.
At Canterbury Cathedral, Edward Elgar’s Nimrod is played, music that accompanied many British funerals and memorial services and is played annually at Cenotaph in London to mark the National Service of Remembrance.
“We can pray and give love to all who find that great life leaves a huge gap,” Justin Welby, leader of the Anglican Council worldwide, told the Canterbury Cathedral church while commenting on the prince’s inquiring mind.
Philip, officially known as the Duke of Edinburgh, died at Windsor Castle on Friday. He was 99 years old.
Buckingham Palace said Saturday the funeral will take place on Saturday April 17, with long-standing plans being rebuilt and demolished due to Covid-19 restrictions.
The prince will be given a traditional royal funeral rather than a state funeral. There will be no public rallies, and it will be held entirely on the grounds of Windsor Castle and will have an estimated 30 mourners.
John Major, who was Britain’s prime minister from 1990 to 1997, said he hoped the queen would be given time to mourn after the death of her husband and 73-year-old friend.
“I hope you have been given less space, less time, and less freedom to grieve the way someone else would want to do after losing their partner,” Andrew Marr of the BBC told.
“He was a real person,” he said of Philip. “He was someone he could take responsibility for.”
The royal family was in deep trouble decades ago last month when Prince Harry, Governor of Sussex and the couple’s granddaughter, gave an explosive conversation to Oprah Winfrey and his wife Meghan in the United States.
During the interview, Meghan said her requests for help when she heard she wanted to commit suicide were ignored and that an unnamed family member asked how their unborn baby’s skin might turn black.
Buckingham Palace said Harry would return to the United States where the couple now resides to attend the funeral and Meghan, who is pregnant with their second child, will not, on the advice of her doctor.
The leader of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, said he hoped the private state of the funeral would allow the family to reunite and build a relationship.
“Many families come together and alleviate tensions and broken relationships during the funeral,” he told Times Radio. “There’s something very deep that unites them all again. And that could be the case with this family, I’m sure.”