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Americans pay tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh following his funeral


BBC screen grab/ fair use

Across the United States, viewers tuned in to watch the funeral of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh today. And while all of the major U.S. networks covered the service, many Royal Central readers shared that they specifically turned to the BBC and other UK broadcasts for their coverage.

Some Americans, like royal watcher Hilary Polk Bojan of Southern California, set early alarms to catch the historic service.

“I woke up at 6 a.m. (not a morning person!) to watch,” said Bojan, who streamed the ceremony on ITV because she thought the American commentary “would be focused on William, Harry, and Andrew.”

“I felt the image of the five choristers in the empty nave was one of the most poignant images I’ve seen in this pandemic year,” she said. “Especially in contrast to the most recent images of Princess Eugenie and Prince Harry’s weddings. It was so moving. Even my husband, who is neutral on royals, said ‘Wow, now that is an iconic shot.'”

Julie James of Omaha also woke up early as not to miss the live coverage, and said she switched to BBC World News after being disappointed by NBC’s commentary.

“It was a very dignified ceremony,” James said. “Elegant in its simplicity. To give some American perspective, Queen Elizabeth was crowned before JFK and Jackie were even married and Prince Philip has been there every step of the way. He has earned a place in history and his accomplishments deserve celebration.”

Although COVID-19 changed the plans for the funeral, Virginian Allison Morgan, who wanted to avoid “all the drama with the U.S. networks” by switching between Sky and the BBC, said she thought the restrictions helped keep it more in line with the Duke of Edinburgh’s wishes.

“HRH Prince Philip did not want a lot of fanfare for his funeral, he wanted something lower-key and more personal as he was not a person that wanted all of the attention,” she said. “He was perfectly happy living in his wife’s shadow and serving her. So this more personal arrangement was more than likely what he would have wanted. My only thought against it was the fact that the family was so separated. I think he would have liked to see the family closer and supporting Her Majesty.”

Andrea Morse, a boutique owner from Colorado, agreed that the funeral was a perfect reflection of Prince Philip’s character. “The service was beautifully done,” she said. “Sad, yet a celebration of the Duke’s extraordinary life. Overall the service seemed fitting for Philip. The Queen looked somber but strong and steadfast as usual.”

Many Americans praised the beautiful music and the military involvement ahead of the service at St George’s Chapel.

“I think the music and readings perfectly summed up Prince Philip’s life,” said Jami Cadden of Taylor, Pa. “Although seeing The Queen siting alone broke my heart. I actually wrote down some of the music and readings since my grandfather was also in the Navy. ”

“The military pageantry was all that I hoped for today,” Bojan added. “It was absolutely perfect in precision and choreography. The music selections were also very personal and moving. The whole military spectacle really put the focus on Philip’s long association with all branches of the military. He was more than just Her Majesty’s husband. He was a man and a soldier.”

Although this was a day about the Duke of Edinburgh, there was, understandably, quite a bit of buzz after the service surrounding the Duke of Sussex walking with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge after his first visit back to the UK in more than a year.

Gail Rice Osgood, a longtime royal watcher from the Atlanta area, was encouraged by their interaction. “It was so nice to see William, Harry, and Kate walking and talking together after the service. Funerals should be a time to bring families together, if only briefly. There is nobody else in the world with whom you share what you do with a sibling. It’s a precious, though often complicated relationship. I hope they can find their way back to each other.”

“Prince Philip’s passing hopefully will lead to healing an already fractured family,” added Liz Daleandro, a teacher from Pennsylvania. “I only hope his final lesson to his children and grandchildren is that life is short and relationships matter.”

About author

Kristin is Chief Reporter for Royal Central and has been following the British royal family for more than 30 years. Kristin has appeared in UK and U.S. media outlets discussing the British royals including BBC Breakfast, BBC World News, Sky News, the Associated Press, TIME, The Washington Post, and many others.