The special military tribute to Prince Philip taking place across the UK today – what it means and how to watch it at home

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  • A special tribute to the late Prince Philip is being planned for later today (April 10), following the news of his death yesterday. 


    The military tribute to Prince Philip was announced this morning, after Buckingham Palace confirmed the duke’s death online and via notice outside Buckingham Palace on Friday.

    Gun salutes to mark the passing of the Duke of Edinburgh are due to take place later across the whole of the UK, in Gibraltar and from the warships at sea, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) has confirmed. Saluting batteries are set to fire 41 rounds at one round per minute from 12pm this afternoon in London, Edinburgh and Cardiff, among other cities, and from Hillsborough Castle in County Down.

    A statement from the palace reads, ‘In London, The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery will use the same guns that were fired for Her Majesty The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh’s Wedding in 1947, and at The Queen’s Coronation in 1953.’

    The Royal Naval ships at sea, including the HMS Diamond and HMS Montrose, will also fire a salute in honour of Prince Philip.

    A large screen in Piccadilly Circus, London, before the gun salutes to mark the death of Prince Philip

    Credit: Getty

    At 99 years old, the Duke of Edinburgh was the longest-serving royal consort in British history. He also served as a naval officer in World War Two, before he became Lord High Admiral.

    Due to social distancing restrictions, the public have been urged to pay their respects online and watch the salutes on TV, rather than gather in person.

    What is the significance of a 41 gun salute?

    The 41 gun salute is a British tradition. The UK Head of State receives a 21 gun salute and the salutes will be fired from a royal location, as part of the protocol, which means another 20 rounds will be added.

    This military tribute is a traditional event to mark a significant occasion. It’s been carried out in this way since the 18th century but there are records of salutes taking place as early as the 14th century. While they are not frequently used, gun salutes marked the death of Queen Victoria in 1901 and of former Prime Minister Winston Churchill in 1965. They were also used to mark the 67th anniversary of the Queen’s accession to the throne in 2019.

    How to watch the Prince Philip gun salutes

    The gun salutes are due to be shown live in a special programme – A Royal Salute: Live. It will air on ITV and online at ITV.com from 11.30am.

    Yesterday, people laid flowers outside Buckingham Palace to mark the death of Prince Philip. However, because of the coronavirus restrictions on mass gatherings, the Royal Family have asked that flowers and tributes are not laid outside royal residences. Instead, people have been asked to consider making a charitable donation in memory of the duke.

    An online book of condolence is also available for the public to sign.

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    According to the Royal Family’s website, a selection of the messages will be passed onto the royals to look at and they might be held in the Royal Archives in the future.

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