Boris Johnson will not attend Prince Philip's funeral to allow space for as many Royal family members as possible
BORIS Johnson will not attend the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral to allow for the attendance of as many family members as possible.
The Prime Minister won't be a part of the restricted group-of-30 allowed to attend the funeral in line with coronavirus restrictions, No 10 has said.
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The decision has been made so that the limited spaces can be taken up by grieving members of the Royal Family.
Prince Philip’s funeral will be broadcast to the nation on TV next Saturday – with Charles leading a procession to the chapel at Windsor Castle.
Officials say there will be a national minute's silence in the moments before the service at St George's Chapel begins.
And, in line with the Duke's wishes, he will be laid to rest in a ceremonial – rather than state – funeral.
Along with the Prime Minister, Meghan Markle will not be attending the funeral, after doctors advised she shouldn't fly while heavily pregnant.
There will be no public procession as a result of the Covid restrictions, and the entire service will take place in the grounds of the castle. Philip's body is currently resting in Windsor's private chapel.
All of those attending the funeral – apart from the Queen – will be in the private procession to the chapel.
The coffin will be moved to the state entrance of the castle next Saturday by a bearer party from the Grenadier Guards – the elite Queen's Company regiment at Windsor, of which Philip was Colonel for 42 years.
The coffin, draped with his personal standard, and decorated with a wreath of flowers and his Naval cap and sword, will then be taken to the chapel by a specially-modified Land Rover.
Touchingly – and perhaps not unexpectedly – the Duke himself had a hand in designing the vehicle that will carry him to the chapel.
Boris Johnson has also cancelled his first post-lockdown pint on Monday as all Government business is to be halted following the death of Prince Philip.
The PM had planned to visit the barber's and then the pub to mark the country reaching the next stage of his roadmap out of lockdown.
But the plans have been scrapped as politics enters a period of mourning for the Duke.
All ministerial appearances, including media interviews, will be shelved for the foreseeable future.
And the UK's major parties have agreed to stop campaigning against each other out of respect for the situation.
Mr Johnson said the whole country would mourn the passing of a "much-loved and highly respected public figure".
Paying tribute outside No 10, he said: "It was with great sadness that a short time ago I received word from Buckingham Palace that His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh has passed away at the age of 99.
"Prince Philip earned the affection of generations here in the United Kingdom, across the Commonwealth and around the world.
"He was the longest serving consort in history, one of the last surviving people in this country to have served in the Second World War.
"At Cape Matapan, where he was mentioned in despatches for bravery and in the invasion of Sicily, where he saved his ship by his quick thinking.
"From that conflict he took an ethic of service that he applied throughout the unprecedented changes of the post-war era."
Prince Charles has paid tribute to his "dear papa" tonight as the country mourns the loss of the Duke of Edinburgh.
In an emotional statement tonight, Charles said he misses his father "enormously" and the Duke would be "so deeply touched" by the outpouring of grief.
"I particularly wanted to say that my father, for I suppose the last 70 years, has given the most remarkable, devoted service to The Queen, to my family and to the country, but also to the whole of the Commonwealth.
"As you can imagine, my family and I miss my father enormously.
"He was a much loved and appreciated figure and apart from anything else, I can imagine, he would be so deeply touched by the number of other people here and elsewhere around the world and the Commonwealth, who also I think, share our loss and our sorrow.
"My dear Papa was a very special person who I think above all else would have been amazed by the reaction and the touching things that have been said about him and from that point of view we are, my family, deeply grateful for all that.
"It will sustain us in this particular loss and at this particularly sad time. Thank you."
More to follow…
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