JUST 30 people will be allowed to attend Prince Philip’s funeral as a result of tough coronavirus restrictions.
And while close members of the family will be in attendance, it’s likely the Queen and Duke‘s great-grandchildren will stay at home next Saturday.
Read our live blog for the very latest news on Prince Philip’s death…
Boris Johnson will not attend the service to allow another member of the family to go in his place.
And pregnant Meghan Markle remains at home in LA after medics said she shouldn’t travel – although Prince Harry will return for the service.
It comes as:
- Philip’s funeral will be broadcast to the nation on TV next Saturday, with Charles leading a procession to the chapel at Windsor Castle
- The Duke of Edinburgh told son Charles he must ‘lead the family and look after the Queen’ in hospital heart-to-heart
- Mourners flock to Buckingham Palace – but officials remove tributes in a bid to keep crowds under control
- The Queen was ‘by her husband’s side’ as he died – and Philip spent his final days enjoying the sunshine
It’s certain that the Queen’s four children and their spouses – Prince Charles and Camilla; Princess Anne and Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Lawrence; Prince Andrew; and Prince Edward and Sophie Wessex – will be among the 30.
The monarch and her husband also had eight grandchildren: Peter Phillips, Zara Tindall, Prince William, Prince Harry, Princess Beatrice, Princess Eugenie, Lady Louise Windsor and Viscount Severn.
The Duchess of Cambridge, as a future queen, will also be expected to attend.
The grandchildren’s other spouses – Mike Tindall, Jack Brooksbank and Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi – may attend to support their wives.
However, the Queen might decide to include other relatives or members of the household instead, given the men are not senior royals.
It is also likely the Queen will invite her cousins and their spouses – Princess Alexandra, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Duke and Duchess of Kent, and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, all of whom have offered loyal support and service over the years.
And the Queen is close to the children of her late sister Princess Margaret – her nephew the Earl of Snowdon and niece Lady Sarah Chatto.
She is likely to want them to be present as a source of comfort.
The Queen and Philip have 10 great-grandchildren – Savannah and Isla Phillips; Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis of Cambridge; Mia, Lena and Lucas Tindall; Archie Mountbatten-Windsor; and August Brooksbank.
But the youngsters, all of whom are 10 and under, are likely to be considered too young to attend the televised proceedings.
If Mr Tindall, Mr Brooksbank and Mr Mapelli Mozzi do attend, then the guest list would total 29 – leaving just one place left.
This could be filled by a trusted member of the Queen or Philip’s household, potentially Equerry Brigadier Archie Miller-Bakewell, the Duke’s private secretary – who would be the only non-family member in attendance.
Or the last seat could be taken by First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Tony Radakin, in honour of Philip’s military service.
Philip’s funeral will take place on Saturday, April 17 at Windsor Castle.
It will be televised, with a minute of silence at 3pm.
His body will lie at rest at Windsor Castle ahead of the funeral in St George’s Chapel – where Harry and Meghan wed in 2018.
As the consort of the Queen, the dedicated royal is entitled to a state funeral.
However, the Duke of Edinburgh was firm that he didn’t want one.
Instead, mourners including Harry, William and Charles will follow his coffin – carried in a specially-adapted Land Rover – to the chapel.
A statement from No10 was released yesterday as the PM confirmed he would not be attending.
It read: “As a result of the Coronavirus regulations, only 30 people can attend the funeral of HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
“The Prime Minister has throughout wanted to act in accordance with what is best for the Royal household, and so to allow for as many family members as possible will not be attending the funeral on Saturday.”
Meanwhile, Prince Harry is understood to be on his way back from the States now – as he’ll need to quarantine for five days when he arrives and provide a negative test to avoid a longer isolation.
The Duchess of Sussex, 39, was advised not to travel due to her pregnancy – although Palace officials say she made “every effort” to be by her husband’s side.
It means the Duke of Sussex, who is known to have been very close to his grandfather, is returning alone – and preparing to see his close family for the first time since he and Meghan quit the UK in March 2020.
It will also be the first time the family has met face-to-face since Harry and Meghan’s bombshell interview with Oprah aired in March this year.
However, royal experts believe that the funeral could offer Harry a chance to heal any rift the interview may have caused.
Author Penny Junor says she believes the family will “pull together” for the Queen’s sake – while royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams has said a “show of unity” is vital for repairing relations.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, told Times Radio: “The whole ceremony will be watched by everybody, but you think of the complexities of the dynamics in that family and we have to think of Harry, so far away.
HARRY’S ATTENDANCE ‘COULD MEND RIFT’
“I’m sure he’ll come but not being, the whole time, in the public eye might just help.
“Many a family gather and get over tension and broken relationships at the time of a funeral.
“Something very profound unites them all again. And that would be true for this family, I’m sure.”
Meanwhile, former PM Sir John Major – who was appointed as the special guardian to both Prince William and Prince Harry following their mother’s tragic death – said he hopes the funeral will unite the family again.
During an interview on Andrew Marr, Sir John said the “affection between Charles and the boys was evident” after Diana died.
And asked about the Cardinal’s remarks, he replied: “I’m sure he’s right.
“I hope he’s right, I believe he’s right.
“The friction we are told has arisen is friction that is better ended as speedily as possible, and a shared emotion, a shared grief at the present time, is an ideal opportunity.
“I hope very much it is possible to mend any rifts that may exist.”