Funeral preplanning: What the Duke of Edinburgh taught us about the importance of funeral planning

Following the death of the Duke of Edinburgh on 9th April 2021, his funeral took place at Windsor Castle on 17th April 2021, known as Operation Forth Bridge it follows years of meticulous funeral preplanning. Over 13 million people tuned in to watch the live television coverage of the funeral. 

The Duke of Edinburgh’s personal wishes 

Prince Philip himself and the Queen both had a say in what they would like to be included in the plans to reflect his life and achievements as the longest serving royal consort in British history.

funeral preplanning

The funeral was a ceremonial royal funeral as opposed to state funeral as the Duke of Edinburgh had wished for a ‘no fuss’ affair. Due to Covid-19 restrictions there were some alterations to the original plan, but largely the personal touches that the Duke had requested were carried out.  

The coffin was transported from the inner hall of Windsor Castle to St George’s chapel on a green Land Rover, which was built in 2003 and designed by the Duke himself. A large military procession and members of the royal family including Princess Anne, Prince Charles, the Duke of Sussex and the Duke of Cambridge followed the coffin on the Land Rover. The Queen, usually two steps in front of her husband, followed behind in the state Bentley. 

The Duke famously enjoyed carriage riding and continued to partake in the fast paced sport until he was 90 and was then known to use his carriage to drive around Windsor and other Royal estates.  The Prince’s favourite carriage stood outside whilst the procession passed with his riding hat, whip and brown riding gloves laid on the empty seat, accompanied by his trusted black ponies. 

Prince Philip’s personal flag was draped over his coffin along with his naval hat cap and Royal Navy officer’s sword which were placed on top. The flag represents the different elements of his life including his Greek heritage and the Castle from the arms of the City of Edinburgh, because of his official title. 

The Funeral

In order to adhere to social distancing guidelines, there could only be 30 guests in attendance at the funeral and there were no public processions, with people being advised to not gather and pay their respects at the royal residences. Instead the royal family suggested making a donation to a charity of personal choice or one that the Duke had supported, or to add a virtual message of condolence on the Royal Family’s official website

It is evident that the Duke’s funeral was planned to the last detail, with the plans released to the press prior to the date of the funeral, highlighting which members of the family would be in the procession and where they would be stood.  

A heart-breaking image of the queen pictured sitting alone in the Chapel due to social distancing guidelines was shared across social media. 

Importance of funeral preplanning

Operation Forth Bridge highlights only the Duke’s funeral plans, but each serving royal will have their own funeral plan in which they will document their own personal wishes.

The preplanning of the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral meant that all of his personal wishes would be carried out exactly how he would have wanted. Planning a Royal funeral, will require the work and organisation of hundreds of people in order to ensure that everything will run smoothly. Funeral preplanning is essential in this case to ensure that the financial and logistical precautions can be put in place so that in the event of a member of the Royal family passing away, everything is organised and will be carried out how they wished. 

If you would like to take out a funeral plan for yourself or a loved one in order to make matters easier when the time comes, contact us or call us on 0800 411 8683.

We can also assist with Wills, Inheritance Planning, Probate, and LPAs.