Harry but no Meghan at pared-back funeral for Prince Philip

Britain's Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry seen at Sandringham. AFP/Adrian Dennis

LONDON - The funeral of Queen Elizabeth II's husband, Prince Philip, will take place next week, Buckingham Palace said on Saturday, announcing a stripped-back ceremony due to coronavirus restrictions, and a return for exiled royal Prince Harry but not his wife, Meghan.

The announcement came as the couple's eldest son, heir to the throne Prince Charles (72) paid a heartfelt tribute to his "dear Papa", and said he and the royal family missed him "enormously".

"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," he added.

READ: Gun salutes fired across UK to mark Prince Philip's death

"It will sustain us in this particular loss and at this particularly sad time."

The Duke of Edinburgh - the 94-year-old queen's husband of 73 years -- died peacefully on Friday.

Royal officials said his funeral, which will be televised, will take place at 2pm on Saturday in St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, west of London.

It will be preceded by a national minute's silence. 

Government guidelines restrict mourners to just 30 people and close attention has been paid to the pared-down guest list for the funeral, particularly whether the duke's grandson Harry would attend.

Palace officials confirmed he would but his American wife, Meghan, who is pregnant with their second child, had been advised against travelling from the United States on medical grounds.

The couple, who quit frontline royal duties last year, have launched a series of broadsides against the royals, including accusing them of racism, and of failing to treat Meghan's mental health.

READ: Queen Elizabeth II's husband Prince Philip: the strength behind the crown

Philip retired from public duties in 2017 at the age of 96, declaring "I've done my bit".

He was last seen at a staged appearance at a military ceremony at Windsor in July, days after attending the wedding ceremony of his granddaughter Princess Beatrice. 

On Saturday members of the public continued to pay their respects outside Buckingham Palace and Windsor, despite royal family requests not to gather at royal residences because of the restrictions.

Hundreds of flowers that had been laid outside the Queen's official residence in central London on Friday have been moved to Windsor, apparently to discourage further gathering.

Source
AFP

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