It has been a very busy three days. At noon on Friday, the British Royal Family announced the death of His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Here is what we know so far:
The funeral will take place next Saturday, April 17
The funeral will take place at 3pm London time next Saturday. It will be a Ceremonial Royal Funeral, similar to the funeral of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, and it will take place in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. Only 30 people have been invited, per COVID-19 protocols. You can find additional details on the funeral arrangements here.
Prince Charles gave a lovely tribute to his father
We haven’t seen some family members yet
We haven’t seen any of the following senior members of the BRF in public since the death was announced on Friday:
Queen Elizabeth – Her Majesty is in a private mourning period for eight days following the death, so we will not see her in public until the funeral on April 17.
Will and Kate – I feel that they’re staying away from the spotlight because they don’t want any of their actions to take away from mourning Prince Philip.
Camilla – I feel like Camilla doesn’t want to overshadow or make anything about her. She is also probably busy helping Charles with his grief and also with decisions for the events of the next week.
Princess Anne – Anne is the only child of Prince Philip’s we haven’t seen in public yet. It could be for the same reason as the Cambridges, or it could be because she is mourning privately. Whatever is best for her. I hope she’s doing okay.
Update: Just as I was about to press “publish” on this post, a statement came in from Princess Anne on the death of her father. We still have not seen her in public since Prince Philips’s death. Here is the statement:
Harry will fly from London for the funeral, while Meghan will stay in the US
Meghan has decided not to travel to the UK for the funeral. Her people say that she asked for permission to travel, but due to the late stage of her pregnancy, her doctors did not give clearance to travel. We’re in a pandemic, it’s an 8 hour flight, and Meghan is in the last trimester of her pregnancy – it makes sense that she wouldn’t travel. However, it is also likely that either or both 1) she was not invited to attend the funeral; and/or 2) she simply didn’t want to attend. All of those things can be true at the same time.
It has been reported but not yet confirmed that Harry will not be allowed to wear a military uniform to Philip’s funeral. We will see if this turns out to be the case.
Additionally, UK newspaper The Times has published a story saying that The Queen is contemplating allowing Prince Harry the style of His Royal Highness on material related to the funeral, like the funeral program. This will be an interesting outcome no matter what is done, as it will point to the thoughts and feelings of the Queen with regard to Prince Harry. If he is allowed to be styled with an HRH, it will be a pretty clear indicator that Harry has been, if not forgiven by the Queen, at least shown a great deal of kindness in a very difficult period. If he is not allowed to be styled with the HRH, it could point to the Queen indicating that things are still frosty between Harry and the rest of the BRF, and that, Harry’s current situation stands in contrast to the life of service lived by Prince Philip.
Andrew has been allowed back into the spotlight
Prince Andrew has been allowed to be seen publicly as a member of the BRF for the first time since his disastrous Newsnight interview with Emily Maitlis and subsequent firing from official royal duties in late 2019. Andrew was even allowed to speak to cameras after today’s small church service at the chapel at Royal Lodge, which is Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson’s residence.
Everything that Prince Andrew has said about the loss of his father has been nice. And some have argued that Prince Andrew is just as affected by this death as any of his siblings or his mother, so he should be able to speak his peace. Okay. But the BRF allowing Prince Andrew to get in front of multiple camera to speak, as well as holding today’s church service at his residence, as well as showing photos of him driving to Windsor to visit The Queen, is a clear image rehabilitation by the BRF. And I’m not afraid to say that it is a mistake on the part of the BRF to have him seen in such a public way at a time like this. No one is denying Andrew the right to grieve his father; but there is no rule that says he should be allowed to express his grief in front of a camera.
Andrew is toxic. He is allegedly a sexual assaulter of minors. He had a long friendship with a convicted pedophile and a person who is currently charged with similar crimes. He has refused to speak to the FBI. Andrew and the BRF trying to rehab his image after the death of his father is a horrible, horrible PR decision. It pollutes the memory of Prince Philip.
I’m not going to link to any of the coverage about Andrew because it’s my blog and I don’t want to. But I see what the BRF is doing and I think it’s disgusting, to be frank.
Sophie Wessex has been the family’s most visible and vocal member
Sophie, Countess of Wessex, has provided the most candid statements about the death of Prince Philip since the death was announced. She has also been the most visibly upset member of the BRF, which has endeared a lot of the public to her. Here, she and her husband Prince Edward were caught on camera driving to and from Windsor Castle to comfort The Queen. Sophie, visibly upset, tells the crowd that “The Queen has been amazing”:
Today, after church service at Royal Lodge, Sophie was speaking to people working on the estate (and camera crews there to catch the royals leaving church service) and gave details on Prince Philip’s death. She said, “It was right for him. It was so gentle. It was just like somebody took him by the hand and off he went. Very, very peaceful. And that’s all you want for somebody isn’t it?” You can see the clip below:
Here is my analysis on this: after the Sussexes decided to quit their roles as senior working members of the BRF, Sophie stepped up. She signed on for a ton more engagements, both virtual and in person. She volunteered at COVID vaccination clinics. She took video calls. The family is positioning her and Edward (mostly her) to take a lot of the work left by Harry and Meghan when they left.
There is another reason Sophie and Edward are being put front and centre now, during the mourning period for Prince Philip, because when Charles becomes King, they will become Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh (Philip was Duke of Edinburgh from his marriage to Princess Elizabeth in 1947 until his death). Upon Philip’s death, the dukedom was transferred automatically to Prince Charles, but he will not use it publicly.
When Queen Elizabeth dies and Charles becomes king, the dukedom of Edinburgh will revert back to the Crown. It has long been Charles’s intention to give the dukedom to Edward and Sophie as soon as he becomes king, at which point Edward and Sophie will no longer be known as Earl and Countess of Wessex, but Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh. So it make sense that Edward and Sophie seem so involved in the events surrounding the death of Prince Philip. They are trying to do the Crown proud and to show that the dukedom will be in good hands when it is given to them.
What you can expect from me
Prince Philip’s death, like lots of royal stories since I started the blog, has led me to once again question what I’m trying to do here.
The fact is that I’m one person with a paying full-time job, and that means that I do not have the ability to devote 24 hours a day to this blog. I would love to do that, but it’s not realistic. So, knowing that I am one person and that this blog has to take a back seat to my actual, paying job (unless someone would like to buy this blog/give me a book deal/pay me lots of money to make this my full time job), I can tell you that I do not and cannot provide any of the following:
- Breaking news on every single royal story;
- Full coverage of every royal appearance in the coming days, before, during, and after the funeral;
- Insider access to members of the British Royal Family; or
- Thousands of words about the life and legacy of Prince Philip or any other member of the British Royal Family.
To be clear, what I can give you on this blog, and on my Twitter and Instagram feeds, is my take on the BRF. I can give you analysis on why certain members (or the whole of the family) did something that seems strange. I can tell you what might have been a better move in terms of strategy, politics, or public approval. I can tell you when things are silly. I can tell you when things are hypocritical and make me angry. Basically, I can give you my (educated, interested, thoughtful, sometimes silly, sometimes petty, always honest) view on things. And I really appreciate you coming here for that.
Thank you, as always, for reading. You can support me via a one-time donation on Square here, or you can sign up to support me monthly via Patreon here. You can also sign up to my free weekly email newsletter below. Stay safe, wear a mask, and please get vaccinated when it’s your turn.