With Prince Philip's failing health, it's a sad but inescapable fact that he will not be with us forever. His death WILL happen one of these days, and the Royal Family, all of Britain, and the entire world will mourn his passing. Love him or hate him, his absence will be felt deeply.
After all, he has been by the Queen's side for over 70 years and Her Majesty has relied on not only his love and loyalty but also his sage advice and strong support.
Now, with The Duke of Edinburgh facing major surgery, concerns have been raised about how a man of his age is likely to fare. At 96 years of age, any surgery is especially risky, and recovery is not guaranteed. For most of us, he has been a significant presence our entire lives, and we don't like to think of a world without this iconic figure.
If there's one thing we know about the Crown, it has protocol and rules for every major event, including the death of one of its most significant and important members. Now, with the Prince's future in question, many are wondering what will happen when he does die.
According to the Mirror, there are five major things that the public can expect to take place.
1. How the News Will Break
There will be no middle-of-the-night "breaking news" announcements; instead, the BBC will be responsible for officially confirming the sad news, and it will occur around 8:00 am London time.
2. There Will Be No Elaborate Funeral.
Prince Philip has been very clear about his preference for a relatively simple service and he has been a major part of the advance arrangements. In spite of the fact that, as the Duke of Edinburgh and the Queen's beloved husband, he is entitled to all the pomp and circumstance associated with a state funeral, his tastes are a bit more conservative.
It is thought that his body will lie in state at St. James' Palace but the public will be prohibited from viewing his body. His funeral is likely to be a private affair, with only immediate family members, friends, and Commonwealth heads of state in attendance and will presumably be conducted at St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle.
Prince Philip will likely be buried at Frogmore Gardens, a place near and dear to the hearts of the Royal couple. It's where Queen Victoria and her husband, Prince Albert, are buried, as well. It is thought the Duke will eschew a more public location along the lines of Westminster Abbey, where many members of British Royalty have been laid to rest.
4. The Mourning Period
If Prince Philip dies before his wife, the Queen will observe an official eight-day mourning period. The Mirror explains, "During this time, laws will not be given the Royal Assent and affairs of state will be put on pause in a sign of respect."
5. How Long the Queen Will Be Absent From Public Appearances
After the initial eight days of mourning, she will continue to refrain from her usual Royal routine for another 30 days. After this time she will be expected to return to public appearances and official duties.
One question on everyone's minds is, 'What will happen if the Duke passes away during the 30 days leading up to the long-anticipated wedding of his grandson Prince Harry?'
Will the Queen break Royal protocol and attend the event, or will she stick to the letter of the law and remain home in her husband's honor. It will be a tricky decision, for sure, but we are certain that she will handle the entire thing with her customary grace and dignity.
Of course, we hope and pray that the Duke of Edinburgh sails through his surgery and returns to his life, no worse for the wear, but, if the worst happens, it's good to know that everything will proceed according to plan.
No doubt that sadness and grief will fill the kingdom for quite some time. But the saddest of all will be the beloved Queen, who will undoubtedly be lost without the love of her life.