The funeral of an HRH is usually a public spectacle with thousands lining the route and/or gathering in public spaces to pay their respects or leave flowers. The funeral of Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh on the 17th April 2021 was an altogether quieter affair due to the global pandemic which hasn’t quite gone away. A guest list which would normally have included dignitaries and representatives from countries and organisations all over the world was limited to thirty people, with the British Prime Minister giving up his seat so that a family member could attend in his stead. Hundreds still gathered outside Windsor Castle, even though the funeral took place entirely within its walls, the military presence was still significant (albeit socially distanced), and the event was televised in a practice the Duke himself began in 1952 with the coronation of his wife. The actual service however was a much smaller event than it would have been usually and the queen wanted to ensure that as many elements of the Duke’s family were represented as possible. The result was the appearance of my personal favourite; obscure European fringe royals that nobody has ever heard of.
So who attended the funeral?
The Usual Suspects
Obviously, the Duke’s immediate and closest family were in attendance. This included Queen Elizabeth, his wife. Then came his children and their spouses; Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Princess Anne and Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Lawrence, Prince Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex. His grandchildren were present in Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry. His grandchildren through Princess Anne; Peter Phillips, Zara, and her husband Mike Tindall. His grandaughters through Prince Andrew; Princess Beatrice with her husband Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, and Princess Eugenie with her husband Jack Brooksbank. His great-grandchildren were represented in the children of Prince Edward and Sophie; Lady Louise Windsor and James, Viscount Severn.
It was initially speculated that the spouses of his grandchildren would not be present, with the exception of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge because she will, one day, be queen. This was obviously not the case, though Prince Harry’s wife, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, remained at their home in the US on the advice of her doctor given that she’s currently pregnant.
The Actual Suspect
The Duke’s son, Prince Andrew, Duke of York was also present. He stepped away from royal duties after his connections to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein were revealed. Epstein was arrested on multiple charges of procuring women (mostly underage) for various celebrities and high profile figures (including Prince Andrew). Before he could give evidence against the sexual abuses committed by the global elite, Epstein killed himself in his maximum security cell when the cameras just happened to stop working, and the guards assigned to check on him happened to fall asleep at their desks. How
Prince Andrew met Jeffrey Epstein, apparently in 1999, through Ghislaine Maxwell. Maxwell was Epstein’s companion and is currently being held herself on charges that include procuring women. Prince Andrew maintained a close friendship with Epstein though insists he visited him no more than twice a year and doesn’t condone his behaviour, even though he maintained his friendship and visits after Epstein was actually convicted for sex offences in 2005. Prince Andrew also maintains that he doesn’t remember being introduced to the woman he’s been photographed with, and denies her allegations that she was procured by Epstein and Maxwell for him. He has since refused to cooperate with authorities but British media still thought it would be a good move to bring him back to the forefront of a grieving family.
Other Relatives and Fringe Royals
The children of the Queen’s late sister, Princess Margaret, David Armstrong-Jones, Earl of Snowdon, attended along with his sister, Sarah Chatto, and her husband, Daniel Chatto.
Penelope Knatchbull, Countess Mountbatten of Burma attended as a close personal friend of the Duke and the Queen, but the name Mountbatten will be familiar. Knatchbull married Norton Knatchbull, 3rd Earl Mountbatten of Burma who is the grandson of Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma. The first Earl Mountbatten was an Uncle to the Duke and served as the introduction between him and the queen.
We then have some fringe British royals. Edward, Duke of Kent, and Princess Alexandra, Lady Ogilvy. The three are the children of Prince George, who was the fourth son of King George V. Through their father who was brother to the Queen’s father, and their mother Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark, the Kents are first cousin to both the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. Also in attendance was Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester, another grandchild of King George V, through his father Prince Henry.
The European Royals
Alright people, let’s get obscure. First up we have Bernhard, Hereditary Prince of Baden. Bernhard is the son of the current Margrave of Baden, Maximilian, who is the Duke of Edinburgh’s nephew through his mother, the Duke’s sister, Princess Theodora of Greece. Theodora was not invited to her brother’s wedding to Princess Elizabeth because her husband had fought against the Allies during the Second World War.
The Grand Duchy of Baden was part of the Holy Roman Empire, once upon a time, with its Princes and Dukes dating back as far as the eleventh century. The duchy hasn’t existed as such since 1918 where revolution in Germany established the country as a republic. It was a Prince of Baden who announced the abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II and became the first chancellor of the subsequent republic. While the duchy may not exist, the title is still passed down.
Then we have Donatus, Landgrave of Hesse. Donatus himself might only be a distant cousin of the Duke, but represented two of Philip’s sisters who married into the House of Hesse; Sophie and Cecile. Princess Sophie married Prince Christoph of Hesse when she was sixteen years old. Christoph fought against the Allies and died in the effort in 1943. In 1945 Princess Sophie married Prince George William of Hanover. Prince George was required to ask for permission from the British sovereign before he married but when he applied in 1945, King George VI refused permission given that a state of war still existed between Britain and Germany. They married anyway, and within a few months, Sophie’s brother Phillip was engaged to the King’s daughter, Princess Elizabeth. Sophie remained close to her brother and was frequently pictured at royal events before her death.
Philip’s other sister, Princess Cecilie married Prince Georg Donatus of Hesse, but they died, along with almost all of their family in a plane crash in 1937. At the time Princess Cecilie was eight months pregnant and apparently gave birth during the flight. The family was survived by their daughter Princess Johanna who had not been on the flight, probably because she was only a year old. She unfortunately died two years later of meningitis.
Like Baden, the Grand Duchy of Hesse was born from a kingdom in the Holy Roman Empire. Donatus is descended from Prince Philipp of Hesse and his wife, Princess Mafalda of Savoy. Although Philipp held a prominent position in the Nazi regime, he and his wife were placed in concentration camps after Adolf Hitler believed them to be complicit in the downfall of Italy’s Mussolini. Philipp survived but Mafalda died after a botched operation in Buchenwald concentration camp.
Finally we have Philipp, Prince of Hohlenloe-Laganburg. Hohlenloe-Laganburg is another remnant of the Holy Roman Empire which has maintained some small dynastic titles and property but little else. Philipp is the grandson of the Duke of Edinburgh’s eldest sister Princess Margarita. She married Prince Gottfried of Hohlenloe-Laganburg who served in the German armed forces as an army officer on the Russian front. He was dismissed from his position after Operation Valkyrie, the most famous of assassination attempts on Adolf Hitler.