Gun salutes honor Prince Philip as low-key funeral planned amid COVID-19

Members of the public begin to gather outside Buckingham Palace to lay flowers and pay tributes to Prince Philip the Duke of Edinburgh and husband of Queen Elizabeth 11 who died this morning aged 99 on Friday, April 09, 2021. Her majesty the Queen released a statement saying she was deeply saddened by his death. Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI

April 10 (UPI) — Gun salutes across the United Kingdom and British Commonwealth honored Prince Philip on Saturday as preparations were made for a somber funeral amid COVID-19 restrictions.

The Duke of Edinburgh died Friday at age 99. As the husband of Queen Elizabeth II for more than 70 years, Philip was the longest-serving consort of a reigning British monarch.

At midday Saturday, military guns fired 41 rounds — one every minute for 40 minutes — in Edinburgh, Cardiff, London, Hillsborough Castle in Northern Ireland and at Devonport and Portsmouth naval bases, the BBC reported. Royal Navy ships at sea also fired the salute, as did soldiers in Australia, a Commonwealth nation. Philip served as a naval officer during World War II.

The British flag is flying at half-staff on government buildings.

The U.K. government and Buckingham Palace have asked the public to refrain from gathering at royal residences or leaving flowers as the country remains under strict COVID-19 restrictions. The royal family asks mourners to make a charitable donation instead and launched an online memorial.

The duke will lie in rest at Windsor Castle instead of lying in state, as was his wish. His funeral will be held at St. George’s Chapel. A date has not been confirmed. Restrictions on mass gatherings will limit attendance at all memorial events.

The funeral is expected to be televised.

Prince Philip sits in the royal box with Queen Elizabeth after they arrive at Woodbine Racetrack for the Queen’s Plate Stakes horse races near Toronto, Ontario, on July 4, 2010. File Photo by Heinz Ruckemann/UPI

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