Dress Code, Flag Half-Mast: Traditions British Royal Family Must Follow After Prince Philip’s Demise

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As the UK mourns the death of Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth II’s husband for 74 years, who died on Friday aged 99. According to Buckingham Palace, the ceremonial royal funeral will be held at St George’s Chapel, in the grounds of Windsor Castle at 15:00 BST on Saturday, 17 April. The funeral will be attended by members of the royal family and other public figures. The Duke of Edinburgh will be laid to rest with all state honours due for a prince of the UK and being a royal consort.

According to a BBC report, Palace officials have said that the ceremony would be conducted strictly in line with government COVID-19 guidelines. The safety protocols restrict number of people attending funerals, means the Duke’s ceremonial funeral will be a low key affair and very much reflects his last wish to have requested a minimal fuss funeral and will not lie in state.

The British Royals are known to chart out their funeral plans while alive, however, members of the Royal family have to follow several traditions concerning funeral arrangements.

Dress code

All royal family members are expected to wear black outfits or dark colours according to tradition. Mourning bands are also another part of tradition with the British Royals and are required to be worn as soon as a death is announced. Additionally, all members of the family when travelling must pack a full black outfit in case there is a death in the family, even while away on official business.

Gun carriage

In case of a state funeral of the Soveriegn/Monarch, the gun carriage procession along the funeral service. In the past century, the state funeral of a Sovereigns has generally followed this tradition of a gun carriage. Along the funeral service, a gun carriage is used to transport the coffin between locations. It is usually accompanied by a procession of military bands, with mourners and other officials.

Lying in state

The practise dates back to many years in history and usually lasts for around three days prior to the funeral. Members of public are allowed to pass the coffin and pay their respects.

Lower flags

Other protocols include the lowering of flags on official royal residences and offices. The flags are flown at half-mast for the funerals of royal family members. According to the National Association of Civic Officers in the U.K., “subject to special commands from Her Majesty in each case,” and if the mourning period clashes with St Georges Day, the English flag is replaced by the Union flag.

Official period of mourning

Another part of the royal funeral protocol is of observing two weeks of mourning. It traditionally lasts from the day of the death until the day of the funeral. The tradition also allows, affairs of state and any law awaiting the monarch’s assent are put on hold until the funeral.

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