Prince Philip’s coffin being lowered into Royal Vault ‘will be unique moment’

Prince Philip's coffin will descend into the Royal Vault during his funeral service on Saturday, lowered by an electric motor, "will be a unique moment in British royal history".

It is not yet known whether the BBC's television cameras will focus on the coffin at this moment, or move away to film other elements of the proceedings.

Normally, the movement of the coffin into the vault beneath the floor of the Quire of St George's Chapel would take place in private.

Joe Little, managing editor of Majesty magazine, said: "I think it will be unique in British royal history if the public gets to see this on television.

"Clearly it's an intimate moment, usually only witnessed by the royal family.

"I think it will be regarded as too private. I think it is the sort of thing you might see at funerals in European countries, but not in Britain."

At the funeral of George VI – the Queen's father – in 1952, the King's coffin was lowered into the Vault but the proceedings were not televised.

Photos of the occasion taken from a distance show the new Queen stood in front of the space in the floor after her dad's coffin has descended.

She sprinkled earth into the vault and was stood with the newly widowed Queen Mother, her sister Princess Margaret and the King's sister Princess Mary.

Philip's coffin will be draped with his personal standard, and decorated with a wreath of flowers and his Naval cap and sword.

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The Duke of Edinburgh also personally selected the regalia – the medals and decorations conferred on him by the UK and Commonwealth countries – together with his Royal Air Force wings and Field Marshal's baton, which will be pre-positioned on nine cushions on the altar in the chapel.

The Royal Vault at Windsor was created between 1804 and 1810 for George III, who died in 1820.

It will not be Philip's final resting place.

When the Queen dies, he will be transferred to the church's King George VI memorial chapel to lie alongside his devoted wife of 73 years.

The tiny chapel houses the remains of George VI, the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret.

George VI was interred into the Royal Vault first and moved to the memorial chapel annex when it was built 17 years later.

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