It’s been more than a year since the royal family announced the news that the family patriarch, Prince Philip, had died. In a statement on April 9, 2021, Buckingham Palace said: “It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen has announced the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle.”
The duke, who was married to Queen Elizabeth II for more than 73 years, died just two months shy of his 100th birthday. Eight days after his death, the royals gathered for the prince’s funeral. Millions around the world tuned in to watch the service but there was one detail Philip had secretly planned years earlier that no one noticed.
Prince Philip’s funeral
The duke’s funeral was held on April 17, 2021. It was more of a muted service than many had thought it would be due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions at the time.
Only 30 people, mostly family, were allowed to attend and they each wore masks once inside the chapel. Seating arrangements were made so those from the same household were together while everyone else was spaced out. This meant that Queen Elizabeth, Prince Andrew, and Prince Harry had to each sit alone.
Prior to going into the church Prince William and Harry took part in a ceremonial procession and walked behind their grandfather’s coffin. They were joined by several other members of the royal family, and for that moment one person was hiding in plain sight.
Prince Philip planned this out to hide in plain sight
As with funerals for most members of the royal family, the details were planned out well in advance by Philip and his advisers. But there was one thing the duke planned that had been hiding in plain sight as millions watched.
Arthur Edwards is a British photographer for The Sun. He has covered the royals for more than 40 years and recalled how he captured “the family’s pain up close.”
“The duke, who planned every moment of [his] moving funeral service, had arranged for me as a photographer to hide inside a fake pillar at the top of the stairs leading to St George’s Chapel,” Edwards revealed. “With a letter box-shaped slit, it was just like the birdwatching hides where Prince Philip spent hours during his retirement at Sandringham, his Norfolk estate.”
The longtime photographer continued: “Just two yards away from the raw emotion of the royal family as they said farewell to the Duke of Edinburgh. From the most unusual vantage point of my 44 years of photographing the royals, I was close enough to see Prince Charles — the man I have known for more than half his life — look broken. Close to tears, I could see he realized the weight of the task ahead to look after his mother and the monarchy.”
The family recently held a memorial service for the late Duke of Edinburgh
Members of Philip’s family along with royals around the world gathered recently to celebrate the Duke of Edinburgh’s life.
The memorial service, which took place on March 29, 2022, at London’s Westminster Abbey recognized the late prince’s legacy in creating opportunities for young people, supporting the armed forces, and promoting environmental stewardship and conservation.