The military have been rehearsing all week for their pivotal role in the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral.
The Royal Navy, Royal Air Force and the Army will be in the grounds of Windsor Castle on Saturday, taking part in the procession and carrying out other duties including the playing of The Last Post.
Rehearsals have been taking place at the Army Training Centre Pirbright, near Woking, in Surrey, where hundreds of military personnel gathered following the announcement of Philip’s death.
Military duties begin hours before the funeral on Saturday afternoon, with Philip’s coffin – covered with his personal standard and surmounted with his sword, naval cap and a wreath of flowers – moved at 11am by a Bearer Party found by The Queen’s Company, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, from the private chapel to the inner hall of Windsor Castle.
By 2.15pm, the service detachments recognising Philip’s special military relationships will be in position in the Quadrangle, which will also be lined by the Household Cavalry and The Foot Guards.
The Band of the Grenadier Guards, of which Philip was Colonel for 42 years, will lead the procession to St George’s Chapel.
They will be followed by the Major General’s Party, and then the Service Chiefs, which will include the Chief of the Air Staff, Naval Staff and Defence Staff.
Philip had a distinguished career in the Royal Navy and while he gave up active service in 1951, he remained closely connected to it and other military elements throughout his public life.
The coffin, transported from the castle to the chapel in a specially-modified Land Rover Philip helped to design, will be flanked by pallbearers drawn from the duke’s special relationships – the Royal Marines, regiments, corps and air stations.
The route of the procession will be lined by representatives drawn from the Royal Navy, the Royal Marines, the Highlanders, 4th Battalion Royal Regiment of Scotland and the RAF.
Minute Guns will be fired by The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery from the East Lawn for the duration of the procession and a Curfew Tower Bell will sound.
As the procession approaches Horseshoe Cloister, the Band of the Grenadier Guards will stop playing and march through into Denton’s Commons.
The Rifles Guard of Honour, positioned in Horseshoe Cloister, will give a royal salute and the national anthem will be played.
In tribute to Philip’s Naval service, a Royal Naval Piping Party of 1 Chief Petty Officer and 5 Ratings will be present.
The piping party will pipe the “Still” once the Land Rover is stationery at the foot of the steps.
A bearing party of Royal Marines will carry the coffin up the steps and pause for a minute’s silence.
The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Dean of Windsor will receive the coffin.
Inside the chapel, Philip’s insignia – the medals and decorations conferred on him by the UK and Commonwealth countries – together with his Field Marshal’s baton, Royal Air Force Wings, and insignia from Denmark and Greece, will be pre-positioned on cushions on the altar.
The Last Post will be sounded by buglers of the Royal Marines from the west end of the Nave.
Buglers of the Royal Marines will sound Action Stations during the service at the duke’s request.
It is played on a warship to signal all hands should go to battle stations and is sometimes featured at funerals of naval men.
Members of the royal family will not wear military uniform, but instead the royal men will wear morning coats with their medals while the women will wear day dresses.
The decision is a break with tradition for ceremonial royal funerals and will contrast with the strong military presence which will be on show to honour Philip, who served with distinction in the Second World War.
The move means the Duke of Sussex will not have to face being one of the only close family members who is not in uniform.
Harry lost his honorary military titles after deciding to step down as a senior working royal.
Reports had also suggested the Duke of York was considering wearing an admiral’s uniform.
Andrew stepped down from royal duties over his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein in 2019.
He was due to be promoted to Admiral in 2020 to mark his 60th birthday but this did not go ahead following the fallout from his disastrous BBC Newsnight appearance.
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