Prince William and Prince Harry won't walk side-by-side Saturday as they follow their grandfather's coffin into the church ahead of Prince Philip's funeral, minimising the chances of any awkward moments between the brothers who are grappling with strained relations since Harry's decision to step away from royal duties last year.
Buckingham Palace on Thursday released the broad outlines of the funeral programme for Queen Elizabeth II's husband, who died April 9 at 99. The palace revealed that William and Harry's cousin, Peter Phillips, will walk between the princes as they escort the coffin to St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle, west of London.
The Duke of Edinburgh's coffin will be carried to St George's Chapel at Windsor by a Land Rover designed to his specifications and painted a shade of green favoured by the military.
Prince Charles, the heir to the throne and the father of the princes, together with his sister, Princess Anne, will lead the 15-member procession, which will include Prince Edward, Prince Andrew, Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, The Earl of Snowdon, Philip's personal protection officer, private secretary, two pages and two valets.
The Queen, accompanied by a lady in waiting, will wear a mask throughout proceedings and follow her husband's funeral procession in her official Bentley, Buckingham Palace has revealed as it laid out the details of the ceremony.
During the service, the monarch will sit alone in the quire (choir area) of the chapel.
The 30 guests include the Duchess of Cornwall, all the Duke of Edinburgh's grandchildren and their spouses, the children of the Queen's sister Princess Margaret, and three of Philip's German relatives — Bernhard, the hereditary prince of Baden; Donatus, prince and landgrave of Hesse; and Prince Philipp of Hohenlohe-Langenburg.
Countess Mountbatten of Burma, Penelope "Penny" Knatchbull, is also invited as one of Philip's closest friends and carriage driving partner.
Palace officials refused to comment when asked whether the positioning of William and Harry was an effort to minimise family tensions, which have grown after Harry and his wife Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, gave an explosive interview to Oprah Winfrey that suggested an unnamed member of the royal family had made a racist comment to Harry before the birth of their child Archie.
Meghan, who is pregnant and living in California with Harry, is not coming to the funeral on the advice of her doctor.
"We're not going to be drawn into those perceptions of drama or anything like that," a palace spokesman said while speaking on condition of anonymity in line with policy. "This is a funeral and the arrangements have been agreed and they represent Her Majesty's wishes."
In another effort to preserve family unity, the palace said senior royals would wear civilian clothes to the funeral. The decision, signed off by the queen, means that Harry won't risk being the only member of the royal family not in uniform during the funeral.
Members of the royal family often wear uniforms to public events by virtue of their honorary roles with the British Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force, but Harry lost his honorary military titles when he decided to give up frontline royal duties last year. As a result, protocol suggests that Harry, an army veteran who served two tours of duty in Afghanistan, would only wear a suit with medals at royal functions.
The decision also sidesteps another potential controversy after reports that Prince Andrew, the queen's second-oldest son, considered wearing an admiral's uniform to his father's funeral. Andrew retains his military titles even though he was forced to step away from royal duties after a disastrous interview with the BBC about his acquaintance with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
Soldiers, guardsmen and the royal horse artillery gathered at Windsor on Thursday for a dress rehearsal for the former naval commander's military funeral, which promises pomp and ceremony despite the limitations.
Mounted soldiers from the King's Troop royal horse artillery processed along The Long Walk at Windsor, while the Royal Air Force marched with instruments and the Household Cavalry and Life Guards appeared in ceremonial uniforms.
In other details released about the funeral, Royal Marine buglers will play "Action Stations," an alarm that alerts sailors to prepare for battle.
Philip, also known as the Duke of Edinburgh, served in the Royal Navy for 12 years and maintained close ties to the armed forces throughout his life. Military personnel will have a large role in honoring him Saturday despite the attendance limit.
Members of the Royal Navy, the Royal Marines, the Royal Air Force and the British Army will take part in the funeral procession. Philip's coffin will be carried to St. George's Chapel on a specially adapted Land Rover that he designed himself.
On Thursday, Charles and his wife Camilla visited Marlborough House in central London to see a sea of floral tributes for Philip, which have been moved there from the gates of Buckingham Palace.
The couple spent some time looking at the cards and notes with the flowers. The items left in tribute included a model of a Land Rover similar to the one that will bear Philip's coffin on Saturday, with the words "The Duke R.I.P" on the roof.
The Prince of Wales said on Sunday that he misses his father "enormously" and the Duke would be "so deeply touched" by the outpouring of grief.
The full list of attendees for Prince Philip's funeral at St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle:
1. Queen Elizabeth II
2. Prince Charles
3. Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall
4. Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge
5. Duchess of Cambridge
6. Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex
7. Prince Andrew, the Duke of York
8. Princess Beatrice
9. Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi
10. Princess Eugenie
11. Jack Brooksbank
12. Prince Edward
13. Countess of Wessex
14. Lady Louise Windsor
15. Viscount Severn
16. Princess Anne
17. Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence
18. Peter Phillips
19. Zara Phillips
20. Mike Tindall
21. Earl of Snowdon
22. Lady Sarah Chatto
23. Daniel Chatto
24. Duke of Gloucester
25. Duke of Kent
26. Princess Alexandra
27. Bernhard, Hereditary Prince of Baden
28. Prince Donatus, Landgrave of Hesse
29. Prince Philipp of Hohenlohe-Langenburg
30. The Countess Mountbatten of Burma
- AP, with news.com.au