Prince Philip’s music choice for funeral was ‘message to Harry and William on royal rift’

Prince Philip: Experts discuss how Duke was 'a source of guidance'

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The Duke of Edinburgh, who died aged 99 this month, was laid to rest on Saturday in Windsor. His funeral was different to most people’s in that he had a large hand in making the preparations for it, and so it was full of symbolism in terms of Philip’s life and the message he wanted to send. Much of the scaled-back ceremony contained elements that Philip himself chose, including the music.

There were numerous military bands, pipers and bugle players in the grounds of Windsor Castle, as well as a four-person choir in a separate room to the 30-strong congregation in St George’s Chapel.

One particular song, Action Stations, which was a specific request from the Duke, stood out because it is a song played on naval warships to signal that the crew must go to their battle stations.

It is a tradition associated with naval funerals, so the song honoured Philip’s 13 years in the Royal Navy, especially his active service during World War 2.

However, there may be another meaning to it.

It has been a turbulent time in the Royal Family over the past few years with scandals and infighting, and one royal expert argued that this song was Prince Philip’s way of saying to the family they needed to be at “action stations”, to put all this aside and get on with the job.

Pod Save the Queen is hosted by Ann Gripper and features Daily Mirror royal editor Russell Myers.

Mr Myers said in an episode of the podcast reflecting on the funeral: “All the music you got, all the symbolism, the music chosen by Prince Philip, the bugle players, the piece Action Stations, which there had been a lot made out of in the days beforehand…

“And certainly, it’s a battle war cry which is heard on a naval warship calling people to man their battle stations ‒ and the symbolism is all around.

“The family has had an awfully tough time over the last year ‒ you’ve had controversy, infighting, warring couples, a lot of hurtful things being said on both sides I’m sure.

“And I am completely satisfied that in his final days, it was his call to his family to say, ‘Time to man the battle stations now, get on with it’ as Harry and William had said in their own personal tributes, ‘Get on with it, get together’.

“We know that he’d called Charles in for a big chat in his final days as he was dying and his strength going, and it’s just a hugely, hugely symbolic moment.”

Mr Myers referred to William and Harry’s individual tributes to their grandfather, which struck different tones but nonetheless praised hugely important parts of Philip’s life and personality.

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Both emphasised the Duke’s no-nonsense attitude and William in particular noted how he always just wanted to get on with the job at hand.

The Duke of Cambridge said: “Catherine and I will continue to do what he would have wanted and will support the Queen in the years ahead.

“I will miss my Grandpa, but I know he would want us to get on with the job.”

Philip’s funeral was the first time Prince Harry had seen his family face-to-face in over a year since he and Meghan Markle moved to the US.

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He was spotted chatting with Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, after the service.

Many are holding out hope that this marks the beginning of the end of their feud, although reports suggest there are still matters unresolved.

It was just a month-and-a-half ago that Harry and Meghan’s interview with Oprah Winfrey aired, a programme which proved explosive.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex accused an unnamed member of the Royal Family of racist comments about their then-unborn son, and claimed the institution did not help Meghan when she was suffering with mental health struggles.

The reaction to this public airing of family grievances will still be very raw with members of the Royal Family.

Harry reportedly spoke to Charles and William after the funeral too.

However, he quickly flew back to California ‒ before the Queen’s birthday.

It is likely he wanted to get back to Meghan, who is pregnant with their second child.

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