The athletic duke, who was President of the International Equestrian Federation, took up the dangerous sport of carriage driving at the age of 50, and the carriage that he designed, driven by two Fell Ponies, Balmoral Nevis, and Notlaw Storm, stood sentinel nearby, with the prince’s cap, gloves, and whip on the seat. Since 2003, the duke had taken a particular interest in his final transport, too: specifically, the Land Rover Defender TD5 130 that had been modified as a hearse. (Among other things, the duke changed the color to a dark bronze-green, an allusion to his distinguished military service in Britain’s Royal Navy during World War II.) This was driven by the Royal Engineers, and it was members of the Grenadier Guards, which the Duke served as a colonel for 40 years, who placed his coffin on it.
The coffin, draped with his quartered standard representing the duke’s Danish roots, his Greek background, his Mountbatten family surname (an Anglicisation of the German Battenberg, introduced in 1917 when Britain and Germany were at war), and the arms of the city of Edinburgh, was laid with his Royal Navy Officer’s cap and sword, alongside an arrangement of white sweetpeas and roses that bore a handwritten note from the Queen.
The Royal Family arrived in a fleet of Rolls-Royce Phantoms, the men dressed in morning suits (apparently to avoid the embarrassment of Prince Harry no longer being entitled to wear his former uniforms, having been stripped of his honorary military titles when he stepped back from royal duties, and Prince Andrew’s not having been promoted to the rank of admiral in this, his 60th year, for reasons also apparent).
The duke’s children and grandchildren walked behind the hearse, Princes Harry and William diplomatically separated by Princess Anne’s son, Peter Phillips. (Princess Anne declined titles for her own children.) The duke’s eldest children, Prince Charles and Princess Anne, led the procession. In her ankle-length black coat and a striking broad-brimmed hat, the princess might have been a figure from 1910. The sense of grief and loss was unusually palpable in a family that traditionally presents an image of unemotional stoicism—something the late duke himself perfected.
“God Save the Queen” of course heralded the arrival of Her Majesty in her state Bentley. The Queen was dressed in widow’s black, enlivened only by the eye-catching Richmond brooch, formerly in the collection of the Queen’s grandmother Queen Mary. (Made by Hunt & Roskell, it was presented to the future Queen Mary as a wedding gift by the town of Richmond in 1893.) This is a favorite jewel that the Queen wore often in the early years of her marriage, worn this time without the detachable pearl drop. There was no mourning veil, as those are traditionally reserved for the funeral of a sovereign.