Prince Philip funeral: Queen deserves support in ‘anguished moment’, says Archbishop Welby

Prince Philip funeral: Queen to behave with 'dignity' says Welby

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The Most Rev Justin Welby said people should not judge Her Majesty on her “external” appearance at the service, with the monarch likely to project her customary calm demeanour. Speaking to the BBC, Mr Welby said: “We really have to avoid judging from anything external.

“She is the Queen. She will behave with the extraordinary dignity and extraordinary courage that she always does.”

Just 30 guests will attend the service due to coronavirus restrictions, and social distancing rules mean the Queen will sit alone.

Mr Welby, who will give a blessing during the service at St George’s Chapel in Windsor, urged people of all faiths to show sympathy to the Queen.

He said: “She is saying farewell to someone to whom she was married for 73 years.

“I think that must be a very, very profound thing in anybody’s life and I hope the whole nation, if they believe in that, they pray for her, and if they don’t, they sympathise in their hearts, offer their condolences to her and they hope for her to find strength in what must be an anguished moment.”

Prince Philip will be interred in the royal vault in the chapel at the end of the service, which will be conducted by the Dean of Windsor, David Conner.

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Buckingham Palace said the Queen faced “some very difficult” decisions as she selected the limited number of guests allowed to attend, and had tried to ensure all branches of the duke’s family were there.

Guests will include all of Philip’s children and grandchildren plus their spouses, the children of the Queen’s sister Princess Margaret, and three of Philip’s German relatives: Bernhard, Hereditary Prince of Baden; Prince Donatus, Landgrave of Hesse; and Prince Philipp of Hohenlohe-Langenburg.

Also invited is a close friend of Philip’s, the Countess Mountbatten of Burma, Penelope “Penny” Knatchbull, who was previously known as Lady Romsey and later Lady Brabourne, and was the duke’s carriage driving partner.

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The Archbishop was recently forced to clarify his involvement with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex prior to their lavish wedding, also at St George’s Chapel, in 2018.

During her controversial interview with Oprah Winfrey last month, Meghan Markle claimed she and Prince Harry had been married by the Archbishop in a private ceremony in garden of their home.

Meghan claimed: “You know, three days before our wedding we got married.

“No-one knows that, but we called the Archbishop and we just said, ‘look, this thing, this spectacle, is for the world, but we want our union between us’.”

The vows they had framed were “just the two of us in our backyard with the Archbishop of Canterbury”, she added.

However, Mr Welby subsequently told an Italian newspaper: “If any of you ever talk to a priest, you expect them to keep that talk confidential.

“It doesn’t matter who I’m talking to.

“I had a number of private and pastoral meetings with the duke and duchess before the wedding.

“The legal wedding was on the Saturday.

“I signed the wedding certificate, which is a legal document, and I would have committed a serious criminal offence if I signed it knowing it was false.”

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