On Saturday, members of the British royal family will join together to bid farewell to their patriarch, Prince Philip, who died on April 9 at the age of 99. Breaking from royal tradition, the Duke of Edinburgh will not have a state funeral, and will instead be laid to rest in a much quieter, smaller ceremony attended by just 30 close relatives. That limited guest list, according to one Buckingham Palace spokesman, forced Queen Elizabeth to "make some difficult decisions."
The spokesman, in a statement to PEOPLE, added that "we are dealing with a family funeral and at its heart it is still a family event." The 30-person guest list includes, along with the Queen, her and Philip’s four children – Prince Charles and wife Cami, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward – as well as their spouses. Philip's eight grandchildren — Peter Phillips, Zara Tindall, Prince William, Prince Harry, Princess Beatrice, Princess Eugenie, Lady Louise and James, Viscount Severn — will also attend the funeral along with their spouses. Other family members, including Philip's German relatives, will also be in attendance.
Although the Palace spokesman did not specify if Philip was involved in choosing who was to attend his funeral prior to his death, it is known that the late royal played an integral role in planning his own funeral. According to royal editor Omid Scobie, the limited number of guests, while due to the pandemic, actually falls in line with Philip's wishes for "a much more quieter event." Scobie told Entertainment Tonight that Philip did "not like fuss" and "made that known when it came to planning his funeral," and prior to his passing, Philip worked closely with the Lord Chamberlain's office at Buckingham Palace "to ensure that it wasn't a blown-up affair, and that means that it won't be a state funeral. Instead, it will be a royal ceremonial funeral, which will be a much more private affair."
"This will really give a chance for the royals to remember his life in a very peaceful and quiet way. It also avoids the worries that the government have over people congregating during the time of the pandemic," he added. "For Prince Philip, this is exactly what he wanted. It's a send-off that he had asked for."
The Palace on Thursday confirmed further details for the funeral, including an eight-minute procession that will lead Philip's casket from wearing it is lying in Windsor Castle to St. George's Chapel. Set to be followed by members of the royal family, the order of which the Queen reportedly chose, Philip's casket will be carried through the Windsor grounds in a modified Land Rover, which Philip himself is said to have helped design.
While the funeral will be a much more intimate affair than a typical royal funeral, people around the world will be able to join the event from the safety of their homes. The funeral is set to begin at 10 p.m. ET with a three-minute moment of silence and the ceremony itself will be broadcast on CBS and CBS News.