At 3pm, this afternoon.

“Thanks for that Jenny, looks like great funeral weather for this afternoon. Welcome back, I’m Matthew Colon, and let us take you straight over to Windsor for a, well, a guided tour if you like of what we can expect to see as the day unfolds, a day when a nation mourns the death of Prince Philip, but also, we hope, finds time to celebrate his astonishing life. Over to our royal correspondent outside the gates of St George’s Chapel, in the heart of Windsor, Bethany Gapes. How are things looking Bethany?”

“Thanks Matthew. Yes, I’m here outside St George’s Chapel, in the heart of Windsor, just like you said only seconds ago, and you might remember that the last event of real significance to take place here was the wedding of Harry Wales and Meghan, and I’m sure we can all remember what a joyous occasion that was, and who knew back then what a glorious car crash it would turn out to be and all the challenges that the royals have had to face since then. Of course, today there is a slightly different mood here, outside St George’s Chapel in Windsor, as I just said, because, as you just said Matthew, back in the studio, this day is one of profound national mourning but also, I think, an opportunity to celebrate the life and achievements of this astonishing man – husband, son, grandson, father, grandfather, great grandfather, nephew, uncle, great uncle, second cousin twice removed, sailor, driver, paperback writer, reader, talker and longest serving consort of all the consorts that have ever been – Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.”

“Thanks Bethany, now can you give us some kind of idea of what we can expect to see as the day unfolds for anyone who has been in a coma, on a ventilator, locked up in a Saudi jail, living under a rock or has literally lost all of their senses and is incapable of receiving any form of communicative contact. To kick us off, what time will the actual funeral be taking place?”

“Well Matthew, the funeral proceedings, that is all the fine details and procedures that are required to ensure an event like this, a royal funeral, here at St George’s Chapel in Windsor, goes smoothly have in one sense been going on all week, from the moment we heard the official announcement of Prince Philip’s death, but in another, more accurate and useful sense, it kicks off at 3pm, this afternoon.”

“Pop that in your diaries folks! Thanks Bethany, and as we know this is going to be a very small affair isn’t it, though of course the royal family are used to dealing with small affairs, because of course they are having to follow strict coronavirus restrictions and guidelines. Tell us a bit more about that.”

“That’s right. The guest list is remarkably short for a royal funeral, there will be just 30 close members of the family in attendance and they will all be required to wear full PPE including latex gloves, butchers aprons, masks and visors, though of course we can expect some of the more fashionable, younger members to break the mould a bit, and indeed Princess Eugenie hinted that she would be wearing a visor that had been especially designed by her close friend Stella McCartney and another close friend Felicity Tricity Von Shadenfreude-Clump to make her look like The Woman In Black, something she thought would be totes apprope for the occasion, though some commentators have suggested it is about as inappropriate as one can be in such circumstances. As you can imagine the whole family are really coming together for this and I don’t think we’ll see anything like the animosity and barely concealed contempt and hatred between certain, well I won’t name names, but shall we say certain ‘brothers’, that we’ve seen in the past. The Queen, who was married to Prince Philip for 73 years, in case you’d missed that, issued a statement expressing her sadness that Princess Meghan Markle Wales Sussex was unable to attend the wedding but that, at the same time, everyone would manage without her. The cow.”

“That’s great Bethany, and when will we finally see the royals gathered together for the actual funeral?”

“That will be at 3pm, this afternoon, here at St George’s Chapel, in the heart of Windsor, and not far away, of course, as you know, from Eton College, where, famously, many male members of the royal family have been given a thoroughly wasted education that could have been passed over to someone with the brains and work ethic to make something of it.”

“And tell us a bit more about the actual proceedings Bethany, because, for anyone who hasn’t already heard, Prince Philip himself had considerable input into the manner in which his corpse himself would be dealt with on the day of his funeral. For himself.”

“That’s right Matthew, we all know that Prince Philip was really quite an individual, you might say eccentric man, and a funny man too, one who famously would often make his family sick with laughter at the breakfast table when he would ask a servant to open his boiled eggs with a royal ceremonial spoon only to leap to his feet entirely unaided and slice the tops off himself with his royal ceremonial naval cutlass, often causing the poor servant to piss their pants with terror as Harry Wales would laugh and point saying “oh Grandpapa, you’re such a legend of banter, look at that servant, he’s pissed his pants, you should fire him”. But of course Prince Philip was also, famously, a moderniser and eventually he commissioned, at great expense to the tax payer, a device that could take the top of boiled eggs without spillage of yoke, blood or piss and he had these expensive, eccentric, modernist machines installed in all 4,571 rooms across the royal residencies, a thoroughly modern act which, famously, meant that income tax had to be raised by two pence in the pound for the next three years just to cover the costs.”

“Thanks Bethany, it’s been so lovely to hear all these personal stories and anecdotes, from family members, friends and complete strangers who had never met him. What really comes across is of a Prince Philip who was much more than just a Prince, because of course he was also a husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, son, grandson, employer, employee, neighbour, nephew, cousin, banter enthusiast and, and it’s really important to remember this too, because it’s so easy to forget, he was a human being, and I think many people who watch the funeral proceedings today will be thinking about just how much of a human being he really was, because sometimes it was easy to forget he was a human being and instead think of him as a microwave, a ham sandwich or a carbon monoxide detector. Isn’t it?”

“Matthew, you’re absolutely right, he really was such a human being, perhaps even more of a human being than we give him credit for, and of course he was also an individual, which is something else we often forget, that he wasn’t a group, collection or ensemble. He was such an individual, as well as a moderniser, human being, husband and fully licensed petrol lawn mower operator. And today’s finer details were very much of his own making, that he made himself. Indeed, of course, it is only now that we learn that Prince Philip had specifically modernised and upgraded the 600 year old St George’ Chapel, here in the heart of Windsor, and had installed a sliding roof, like at Wimbledon, and when the proceedings start to proceed, at 3pm this afternoon, that roof will open up and when everyone has said their bit and The Black and White Minstrel Revival have sung them out with a stirring rendition of his favourite song -‘Relax’ by Frankie Goes To Hollywood – his coffin, covered by an ornate fitted sheet and a message that simply reads ‘Grandpapa Phil – The Leg Of Bants’, will be lifted out by four ex-military drones, each bearing the Prince’s royal insignia, and carefully flown just above head height along the streets of Windsor so that those onlookers who have completely ignored the repeated requests, essentially from their monarch, to stay at home can try and toss roses, with the aim of landing them on top of it. And it is this that in many ways harks back to that time people threw roses from assorted bridges and gantries onto the coffin of Princess Diana, the People’s Princess and the one true Queen of Hearts.”

“I see, and that will be towards the end of proceedings won’t it, so just remind us, what time frame do we have for when proceedings very much, in a sense, really gather pace, very much, at the beginning?”

“It’s a good question, Matthew, and the answer is 3pm, this afternoon, here at St George’s Chapel, in the heart of Windsor, where I’m standing, and if you look closely you’ll be able to see the chapel because it’s filling the entire backdrop of this shot.”

“Yes, yes, we can all see the chapel now Bethany! And just before we finish could you just tell us a bit about the specially designed, upgraded and modified vehicle that Prince Philip was involved in designing, upgrading and modifying especially to take his corpse to the chapel for 3pm, this afternoon, and which you told us about when we last spoke fifteen minutes ago?”

“Certainly, Matthew, I’m glad you asked because of course this day had very much been planned out in advance by Prince Philip because he wanted it to be a very low key affair that would only be beamed across the world and watched by billions of people, some of whom, mainly remote Pacific island tribes, remember, thought of him not just as a human being and an individual, but also some sort of God, as well as a legend of banter. So in keeping with this low key agenda the prince decided to design, upgrade and modify, with the help of experts who could actually do all of those three things for him, a Vauxhall Cavalier, selected from the royal garages, and using very modern methods he had the roof sliced off, the back end cut and shut with a BMW 3 series estate and, and this is very much Prince Philip the moderniser we see here, fluorescent go-faster stripes added to the sides. And it is very much typical of Prince Philip that it is this vehicle that will be used to drive his coffin to his own funeral, in keeping with his very much individual style as the longest serving consort, husband, human being and drone enthusiast. And of course, being such a legend of banter the car won’t stop there but will drive right up the steps, into the chapel and stop just short of the alter, where the driver, who we believe will be his close friend Sir David Attenborough, will rev the car as hard as he can 41 times, to signify whatever that 41 gun salute was for the other day

“Fantastic, and this is all happening at……?”

“3pm, this afternoon, here at St George’s Chapel, in the heart of Windsor. I’ve been, and hope to continue to be, Bethany Gapes.”

“Lovely, well, that was Bethany Gapes, live from St George’s Chapel, in the heart of Windsor, just giving us some of the details for the funeral of Prince Philip, which starts at 3pm this afternoon, and if you’ve only just tuned in then we’ll be back with Bethany at St George’s Chapel, in the heart of Windsor, in roughly twelve minutes where we’ll be finding out all about exactly the same details for the funeral of Prince Philip. Which is this afternoon. At 3pm. Give or take. I’m Matthew Colon and now we’ve just got time to head over to Jenny Tits to find out, again, what the weather’s got in store for us.

G B Hewitt. 17.04.2021

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