Martine Croxall discusses reporting on Prince Philip's death
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Senior members of the Royal Family will attend a service of thanksgiving for the Duke of Edinburgh today. Prince Philip died last year aged 99, a moment which left the country in mourning as the Queen lost her husband of 73 years. The memorial, held at Westminster Abbey, will celebrate his public service and a “long life lived fully”. Representatives of his charities, including the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, will be in the congregation.
Buckingham Palace has indicated that the Queen will attend, which will mark her first public event outside her residences this year amid concerns about COVID-19 and her health.
Philip’s funeral, which took place in April last year, included numerous tributes to his military service and passion for armed the forces.
However, the funeral did not include all of Philip’s requests as many of them were forbidden due to COVID1-9 restrictions in the UK
The memorial service this week will attempt to rectify this by incorporating some of the ideas that were not used last year.
Some of the missing gestures will see Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award holders and members of the youth UK Cadet Force associations line the steps of Westminster Abbey as guests arrive.
The Duke’s wishes for the congregation to join and sing the rousing hymn Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer, and for the clergy from Windsor, Sandringham and Balmoral to play a special part will finally be granted.
Prayers will be said for his “gifts of character; for his humour and resilience; his fortitude and devotion to duty” by the Chapels Royal’s Sub-Dean, while “his energy and spirit of adventure” and “strength and constancy” will be heralded by royal estates’ clergy.
Philip wanted the minister of Crathie Church near Balmoral, the rector of Sandringham and the chaplain to the Royal Chapel of All Saints, Windsor Great Park, to take part in his funeral, but none were able to attend.
All three will be in attendance on Tuesday, ho
Nearly a year after the funeral, many more will be able to pay their tributes in person this time round.
It has been reported that Prince Charles, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and the Cambridges will gather as part of a 1,800-strong congregation for the service.
Around 30 foreign royals will attend, including Prince Albert of Monaco, Denmark’s Queen Margrethe, King Harald and Queen Sonja of Norway, and Spain’s King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia.
Other famous faces such as Sir David Attenborough, Dame Floella Benjamin, Baroness Grey-Thompson have also been invited.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his wife Carrie Johnson will attend the event.
Last week was a challenging one for the Royal Family as Prince William and Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, toured the Caribbean amid protests against the monarchy.
Ill-feeling in the region derives from the Royal Family’s role in the slave trade, and Jamaica has stated it intends to follow the steps of Barbados in removing the Queen as head of state.
William faces a struggle to reinvent the monarchy as a progressive force, royal experts have warned.
William issued a statement after the trip – understood to have not been discussed with the Queen and Charles first – in which he said the visit “had brought into even sharper focus questions about the past and the future”.
One former palace public relations source said this was unsurprising as William was more flexible over his future role as king than many understood.
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They told the Guardian: “There’s a feeling in the institution that over time the monarchy can update itself and change, but it has to be gradual, subtle and carefully thought through.”
Philip Murphy, a professor at the University of London and former director of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, said the UK needs to rethink its royal tours.
He said: “I think the British government in particular have got to rethink the whole nature of royal tours.
“They create a disconnect between some of the coverage in the rightwing tabloids in Britain and the way these issues are covered and commented on in the international media and in Commonwealth countries themselves.”
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