Although Prince Philip enjoyed a life of privilege beyond what most of us could ever imagine, there’s one thing that we all share with him – the opportunity to prepare our own funeral.
The media’s made a lot of the fact that the Duke of Edinburgh helped design his own hearse and planned many aspects of the ceremony.
But the option isn’t confined to the rich and famous.
Making plans for your funeral is open to everyone and it brings a surprising number of benefits.
It certainly makes things easier for the family you leave behind. You may not realise it now but, when the time comes, they’ll find it incredibly comforting to know that they are following your wishes. Even more than comforting, they’ll have fewer decisions to make at a time when, to be honest, the last thing they want to do is look at different coffins and decide which one to put you in.
Bereavement makes it really difficult to make choices so why make them do it?
And, strange as it sounds, it can be remarkably comforting and life-affirming to know that you’ve left your individual stamp on your last life event. Would your family really choose the pink sparkly coffin you’ve set your heart on if you haven’t already made it clear that’s what you want? Have they ever understood your secret hankering to be driven in a horse and carriage? Do they know what you sing along to when you’re on your own?
Perhaps, more importantly, preparation means your life story can be told on your own terms. Working with a celebrant in advance means you get to tell your story, your way, whether it’s a warts and all account or a glossy picture of the way you’d like your life to be remembered.
Some people in the sector are saying that Prince Philip’s self-planned funeral could be as big a turning point as David Bowie’s decision to have a private cremation. Bowie’s choice was followed by an upsurge in direct cremations and they’ve increased still further during the pandemic.
Hopefully, the coverage of Prince Philip’s self-planned funeral will show that you don’t need to be married to the Queen to arrange your own right royal send-off.