“What if they dropped the coffin?” Responses to Prince Philip’s Funeral

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Prince Phillip Duke of Edenborough Funeral
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 2: Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh raises his hat in his role as Captain General, Royal Marines, makes his final individual public engagement as he attends a parade to mark the finale of the 1664 Global Challenge, on the Buckingham Palace Forecourt on August 2, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Yui Mok - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Millions watched the broadcast of Prince Philip’s funeral over the weekend. Granted, it was a sombre and dignified affair that marked the end of an era. But who would watch the whole thing… twice?

My Nan would. She stayed up until 1am to watch the entire three-hour ceremony and tuned in the next day for the replay. Why?

“I grew up with Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret,” she told me.

“I was born in between them. So mum used to tell us all about that. We had it on the radio and Women’s Weekly and whatever.”

She was especially moved by the music, the coffin bearers (“I wondered what would happen if they dropped it!”), and the black horses.

“I loved the pageantry.”

“It was very professional, very precise. It was just spot on. Only the British can do this.”

I set out to see if other human beings felt as strongly about the funeral as my grandmother. At a coffee shop, a man in his seventies (who shall remain nameless) told me he’d watched “bits of it”, and thought the ceremony reflected the Prince’s devotion to his royal role.

“Prince Phillip was a military man,” he said. “And he had his life mapped out for him… It was very dignified.”

Social media abounds with messages of sympathy and support for the Queen.

Some people focused on the Duchess of Cambridge’s style.

Of course, you don’t have to be my Nan’s age to be inspired by the Royal Family. Jeremy Mann, 19, is an Arts student at the University of Melbourne and a spokesperson for the Australian Monarchist League. Mr Mann said the funeral was a perfect send-off in light of the Duke’s military career and dedication to his Royal role.

“I think it was beautiful,” he said.

“I mean, very simple, of course, given that His Royal Highness wanted to keep it as low key as possible, and especially with the COVID situation as well in the UK. But I particularly enjoyed the military presence there.

Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten, prior to his marriage to Princess Elizabeth, saluting as he resumes his attendance at the Royal Naval Officers School at Kingsmoor, Hawthorn, England, July 31st 1947. (Photo by PNA Rota/Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

“I think that having the different units of the Royal Navy, for example, and the British Army as well, was especially a moving tribute.”

Unlike my Nan, Mann has not grown up alongside the Queen and Prince Charles. So why does he feel strongly about the Royal Family?

“I think it’s just their dedication to serving both Australia and the Commonwealth.”

“If you look at the Duke’s life, for example, he was married to Her Majesty for just over seventy years and was always by her side or three steps behind her. And it just shows how dedicated he was to both the Queen as his wife, but also the crown as an institution of both Australia and other countries across the Commonwealth as well.”

Mann was one of thousands to leave a message in the condolence book for the Queen at Melbourne’s Government House. The book is also available to sign online.

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