Prince Philip’s final journey at Windsor Castle bore the hallmarks of a remarkable man, captured the pride of nations and symbolised a defining moment for the Monarchy.
The funeral was more poignantly intimate in its scaled down simplicity. And more powerful for that.
The sombre, dignified and meticulous ceremony exemplified his life of duty, patriotism and service, a life filled with humour, humanity and devotion.
It was, above all, his. From the Range Rover hearse to the readings, the music and the naval theme, it reflected the man, his life and his wishes as he bid farewell. Everything about him was fittingly there.
No more so than the solitary figure of the Queen, endurably elegant, brave and dignified in her grief. The depth of her private sorrow, witnessed by countless millions on the global stage, is profound.
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The powerful, emotional hold of the service carried messages for the future of the Royals. Could it be that they too, were part of the planning of the man who did so much to shape and hold together the House of Windsor during his 73-year role as Her Majesty’s “strength and stay”?
It displayed all that is important and serious in the role of the Monarchy in an age of uncertain change. It showed up by contrast the triviality and fickleness of siblings in whose hands the future of the Crown will one day rest.
As the Queen approaches her 95th birthday next week she, more than any other, will be contemplating Philip’s abiding entreaty that the Monarchy has to adapt and evolve in order to maintain its public relevance and affection.
She, as wife and Queen, will recognise that this is not just the end of an era but the beginning of the next stage of the Monarch’s long journey.
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Maintaining the Royal Family’s place at the centre of the concept of nationhood at a time when political strains in the UK are pulling it apart, is a task in which she and Charles need, as Philip encouraged, the strongest family bonds.
The transition has begun. In his self-designed manner of passing Philip did both family and nation proud.
He’s left them a cue: Action Stations!