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As Britain mourns Prince Philip, palace announced private funeral for April 17

Philip’s wife of 73 years, Queen Elizabeth II has approved the prime minister’s recommendation that there be eight days of national mourning, to end next Saturday.

Prince Harry will travel from southern California to attend the funeral, but his wife Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, will not —based on medical advice. Meghan is pregnant with the couple’s second child. She suffered a miscarriage last year, which she wrote about in the New York Times.

On Friday and Saturday, the queen was visited by her children at Windsor.

Prince Andrew, who has kept a low profile since his relationship with the convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein became a public scandal, said Sunday that the queen was “an incredibly stoic person” but Philip’s death had left “a huge void in her life.”

“We’ve lost almost the grandfather of the nation,” Andrew said, according to the BBC.

Around the country on Saturday, signs of mourning were everywhere: royal staff in black, a 41-round gun salute. The Union Jack was at half-staff.

Many of these tributes are based on long-standing royal protocol — while others are incorporating pandemic-related restrictions.

With flowers, flags at half-mast and gun salutes, the people of Britain paid tribute on April 10 to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, who died the day before. (Reuters)

To announce Philip’s death, a plaque, per royal tradition, was placed in front of Buckingham Palace, reading: “It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen announces the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.”

It was, however, removed later on Friday amid fears that it was attracting crowds in violation of limits on public gatherings.

“With the safety and well-being of the public in mind, and in accordance with government guidelines, members of the public are asked not to gather in crowds,” the palace said in a statement on Friday. “Those wishing to express their condolences are asked to do so in the safest way possible, and not to gather at Royal Residences.”

Britons, nonetheless, continued to gather to leave floral tributes in front of palaces and mark the moment in pictures and collective mourning.

At noon U.K. time, a nationwide 41-gun salute was held to honor the former Naval officer and World War II veteran.

Across the United Kingdom, flags will remain at half-staff until the day after the funeral. The royal family released the full funeral plans on Saturday.

The Church of England, which Elizabeth officially heads, published prayer resources for churches to use during the mourning period.

Other Brits incorporated socially distanced moments of silence into their Saturday plans, such as at sporting events, which the prince avidly supported

The life and complicated legacy of Prince Philip dominated British media coverage on Saturday. Over many decades, Prince Philip ran the gamut in the British press: at times scolded, mocked and lauded for everything from cringeworthy comments to his dutiful service to the crown.

But some were frustrated by the attention over the late Duke of Edinburgh in a year where the coronavirus has officially killed nearly 3 million people worldwide and more than 125,000 in Britain. There was also concern that coverage of Philip’s death on Friday was overshadowing other pressing developments in the U.K., such as ongoing unrest in Northern Ireland over Brexit trade rules, as well as glossing over the less flattering parts of his life and the British monarchy’s impact.

Initial ratings by Britain’s Broadcast Audience Research Board found that the BBC and ITV, two British networks that on Friday pulled other coverage to prioritize the royal news, had major drops in viewers this week compared to last, according to the Independent. The BBC set up a web form specifically for Philip coverage-related complaints.

“Although the [BBC] is used to finding itself in the middle of Britain’s culture wars, its handling of Philip’s death points to a deeper question over the ability of a national broadcaster to force the country together to mourn a single individual in an era where audiences are fragmented and less deferential,” the Guardian reported.

British media also conveyed the condolences pouring in from leaders from around the world, including Pope Francis and all five living former U.S. presidents, whose service overlapped Philip’s.

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