Prince Philip died on April 9 last year at the age of 99 in Windsor Castle.
The royal houses of Belgium, Denmark, Sweden and Spain, among others, attend the commemoration, which starts today at 12.30 pm Dutch time in London’s Westminster Abbey. In addition, in addition to the immediate family, many friends of the royal couple are expected, and about 500 representatives of the charities of which Philip was patron.
The Queen is ailing
The English population has been looking forward to the event for weeks, says RTL correspondent Anne Saenen. “But mainly because of the question: is The Queen herself there?”
Because Britain is concerned about Elizabeth’s health, Saenen says. “She looks frail. During the funeral last year she already looked bad. For the first time she walked with a stick. The population wonders how long she can last without Philip, who was her mainstay.”
In the past year, the queen let several events pass her by, something she rarely did in the past. In February she contracted a corona infection, although she had mild complaints, according to Buckingham Palace. Saenen: “She does everything she can to be there. But suppose she doesn’t come today, while we know she would love to be there, that would say a lot about her health.”
Harry not, Andrew is present
Notable absentee is grandson Prince Harry, who renounced his royal titles two years ago and lives in California with wife Meghan Markle. Harry is absent because he has to pay for his own security, and it proves impossible to guarantee his safety during his stay in England.
Her son Prince Andrew is present. He is controversial because he is accused of sexual abuse by a woman who would have been 17 years old at the time. She was a victim of the wealthy Jeffrey Epstein, who allegedly abused dozens of underage girls, and who committed suicide in prison.
Andrew was friends with Epstein. The prince denies all accusations, but at the beginning of this year renounced his royal titles and reached a financial settlement with the alleged victim.
“It will be a painful day for Andrew,” predicts Anne Saenen. “We see him in public for the first time since that settlement. He has lost his military decorations. The paparazzi will be following him closely.”
Philip’s funeral took place last year at Windsor Castle, where he also passed away. At his own request, Philip’s coffin was transported on an old Land Rover.
No exception for The Queen
Due to the corona measures, that service was very sober. That produced the sad image of Queen Elizabeth sitting alone on a pew. No more than thirty people were allowed to be present and British people still had to keep their distance from people outside their own family. Reportedly, the British government wanted to make an exception for the Queen, but she herself decided to stick to the rules that applied to everyone.
Today’s memorial is held at Westminster Abbey. That is also the place where Elizabeth and Philip were married on November 20, 1947. They had been married for 73 years.
After his death, RTL Nieuws made this impression of Prince Philip’s life: