Today’s service will be limited to just 30 mourners due to Covid; there will be no crowds present and ceremonial military tributes are being reduced.
It does, however, allow for some personal touches in keeping with his character – his coffin will be carried by a specially-adapted Land Rover designed to his specifications while both Action Stations, a proud Naval tradition, and The Last Post, will be sounded from inside St George’s Chapel.
And this will contrast with the full pageantry afforded to the Queen Mother after her death on March 30, 2002, coincidentally Easter Saturday, when people queued for hours pay their respects to the 101-year-old in the Palace of Westminster – the numbers intensified as recognition grew about the occasion’s significance.
Coming weeks after the death of her beloved sister Princess Margaret, it also saw the Queen show great stoicism as she mourned both her sibling and mother – the two people who she was closest to – at the outset of her Golden Jubilee year.
Then she could count on Prince Philip for support – including her televised tribute to the Queen Mother which was broadcast from Windsor Castle on the eve of the funeral.
“I thank you for the support you are giving me and my family as we come to terms with her death and the void she has left in our midst,” she told the nation.
Dressed in black, she kept her composure as she talked about the indomitable leadership shown by Queen Mother and King George VI during the Second World War.
The Queen continued: “I thank you also from my heart for the love you gave her during her life and the honour you now give her in death. Over the years I have met many people who have had to cope with family loss, sometimes in the most tragic of circumstances.
“So I count myself fortunate that my mother was blessed with a long and happy life. She had an infectious zest for living, and this remained with her until the very end. know too that her faith was always a great strength to her.”
An estimated 200,000 people filed past the Queen Mother’s coffin during three days while the funeral, held in Westminster Abbey, had 2,200 guests.