Farewell to HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
Like the rest of the nation, CIB was deeply saddened by the passing of HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
The Queen and the Royal Family paid their final respects to the Duke at a moving funeral at St George’s Chapel, Windsor, on Saturday. The funeral was rendered even more poignant by its modest nature, the details of which had been meticulously planned by the Duke himself.
The nation’s love and respect for Prince Philip demonstrate the inclusive nature of British national pride, embracing our cultural and historical ties with our European neighbours without the need for a European superstate. Born into the Greek and Danish royal families, his family was exiled from Greece when he was just eighteen months old, and he was educated in France, Germany and the UK. He finally attended Gordonstoun School in Scotland, which had been established by the founder of his previous school in Germany, Kurt Hahn, a German Jewish educator who fled the country to escape Nazi persecution. It was together with Hahn that the Duke founded his renowned Duke of Edinburgh Award in 1956.
He joined the Royal Navy in 1939, aged 18, serving with great distinction throughout the Second World War, including saving his ship from a night bomber attack during the invasion of Sicily. He became one of the youngest first lieutenants in the Royal Navy at the age of just 21.
The Duke married the then Princess Elizabeth in November 1947, becoming her consort when she became Queen in 1952. He kept in touch quietly with many matters of national concern, one of which was researching reports of UFOs with his uncle, Admiral of the Fleet Lord Louis Mountbatten, a fellow subscriber to Flying Saucer Review! His equerry, later Air Marshal Sir Peter Horsley, recalled, ‘Prince Philip was open to the immense possibilities leading to space exploration, while at the same time not discounting that, just as we were on the fringe of breaking into space, so older civilisations in the universe might already have done so.’
By the time the Duke retired in 2017 at the age of 96, he had completed 22,219 solo engagements in the course of his royal duties, and many, many more at Her Majesty’s side. He continued true to the ancient oath he swore in Westminster Abbey immediately after the Queen was crowned:
‘I, Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, do become your liege man of life and limb and of earthly worship;
And faith and truth I will bear unto you, to live and die, against all manner of folks.
So help me God.’