Senior members of the Royal Family are to attend a service of thanksgiving for the Duke of Edinburgh later.

The memorial at Westminster Abbey for Prince Philip, who died last year aged 99, will celebrate his public service and a “long life lived fully”.

Representatives of his charities, including the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, will be in the congregation.

Buckingham Palace has indicated a last-minute decision will be taken as to whether the Queen will attend.

It would be the first public event, outside of her own residences, attended by the 95-year-old monarch this year.

The Queen has had problems with her mobility and had to pull out of the Commonwealth Service earlier this month.

‘Spur to service’

The thanksgiving service for Prince Philip will hear the Dean of Westminster, David Hoyle, offering prayers for a “man of rare ability and distinction” who “put privilege to work and understood his rank as a spur to service”.

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall will attend the service.

And the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will be there, having returned from their controversy-hit tour of the Caribbean.

It is also expected to be the first public appearance of Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, since the settlement of a civil sex assault case in the US.

But Prince Harry, who has been in a legal dispute over the provision of security, has not travelled from California, where he lives.


Prince Philip died last April, during Covid regulations that restricted gatherings including funerals and memorials.

Keeping to the rules meant that Prince Philip’s funeral had to be limited, producing a memorable image of the Queen sitting alone.

So this service will include elements that had been planned for Prince Philip’s funeral, such as the entry to Westminster Abbey being lined by Duke of Edinburgh gold award winners.

The hymn ‘Guide me, O thou great redeemer’, also intended for the Duke’s funeral, will be sung, along with music by Beethoven, JS Bach, Wagner, Vaughan Williams and William Byrd.

‘Beloved Philip’

The Queen and Prince Philip had been married for 73 years and in her Christmas message the Queen spoke in unusually personal terms about the loss of her “beloved” Philip.

Wearing a brooch she had worn on their honeymoon, she remembered her “irrepressible” husband and his “capacity to squeeze fun out of any situation”.

The service will reflect Prince Philip’s life, work and enthusiasms, with the congregation including representatives of some of the 700 charitable organisations that he supported.

They will range from the Outward Bound Trust and Voluntary Services Overseas to the Caravan and Motorhome Club.

Many charities had a focus on inspiring young people and giving them wider opportunities. There was also an emphasis on conservation and protecting the environment.

Environmental campaigner and broadcaster Sir David Attenborough is expected to be among the guests, along with political leaders.

Prince Philip’s love of the sea and his links with the Armed Forces will be heard in the music of the Royal Marines band, which will conclude with a piece called The Seafarers.

The flowers on display will include orchids, a reference to the orchids in the Queen’s wedding bouquet.

She married Prince Philip in 1947 in Westminster Abbey, where her coronation was later held, and now where she will lead her husband’s memorial.

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