Renewed calls for PM to resign over parties on eve of Philip funeral

Further allegations of Downing Street parties taking place on the eve of the Duke of Edinburgh’s socially distanced funeral have been met with widespread anger across the political spectrum, bookending a turbulent week for Boris Johnson, who is facing renewed calls to resign.

Prince Philip’s funeral took place in the private chapel at Windsor Castle on Saturday 17 April, the day after two leaving dos were reportedly held at No 10 at a time when such mixing was banned. The Queen, in mourning black, wearing a face mask and sitting alone to maintain social distancing, became one of the defining images of the national lockdown.

The Liberal Democrat leader, Sir Ed Davey, and Labour’s deputy leader, Angela Rayner, were among those to condemn the allegations after the wealth of sacrifices made for the funeral to go ahead.

In April last year, the country was under coronavirus restrictions and in a period of national mourning after Philip’s death. Carefully laid plans for his funeral, which had been revised over many years, were abandoned owing to the pandemic, with public elements unable to take place.

Though some lockdown restrictions were relaxed in England on 12 April, there were no changes to the rules on social contact and people were still instructed to maintain a distance from each other of 2 metres. Outdoor gatherings, including in gardens, were limited to six people or two households, and people were told they must not socialise indoors with anyone with whom they did not live or with whom they had not formed a support bubble.

How did Covid restrictions impact Philip’s funeral?

  • Covid restrictions had a substantial impact on the proceedings, with the guest list trimmed from 800 to 30.

  • The Queen attended the funeral wearing a face mask and socially distanced from the rest of her family, who were seated in their respective household bubbles, at the service in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.

  • Those in the funeral procession were required to put on face masks before entering the chapel.

  • Bottles of hand sanitiser featured alongside the traditional dressing of floral arrangements and family wreaths.

  • Original plans for military processions through London or Windsor were scrapped, with the royal family asking the public not to gather at the castle or other royal residences.

  • The choir was also limited to four singers, while the few guests were banned from singing in line with Covid regulations.


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