Wednesday, 14 April 2021

The Cambridges Share Balmoral Family Photos with the Duke of Edinburgh

In a selection of photos in memory of the Duke of Edinburgh, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge shared an informal photo taken at Balmoral in 2015 with the Queen and Prince Philip. It's a peek into the family with a lovely moment captured between the Queen and Baby Charlotte.

Of course, Balmoral was incredibly special to the Duke. Princess Eugenie said several years ago, "It’s a lovely base for Granny and Grandpa, for us to come and see them up there; where you just have room to breathe and run." I would wager some of the most personal and candid images of the family are these. One such image, taken by the Duchess of Cambridge at Balmoral in 2018, is a lovely photo of the Queen and Prince Philip with seven of their great-grandchildren: Prince George, Prince Louis in the Queen's arms, Princess Charlotte, Savannah Phillips, and beside Philip, Isla Phillips holding Lena Tindall beside big sister Mia Tindall.

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall shared two photos "remembering The Duke of Edinburgh as a much-loved Father and Father-in-Law".

Buckingham Palace shared a sweet photo of Prince Philip with Prince Harry from Trooping the Colour.

And a touching tribute shared by Princess Eugenie on her Instagram account:

"We all miss you. ⁣You would be so touched by all the tributes that have been shared with me the past few days. People remember sitting next to you at a dinner, or shaking your hand once, who remember you saying hello in passing, or remember how much their DofE award meant to them. ⁣I remember learning how to cook, how to paint, what to read. I remember laughing at your jokes and asking about your spectacular life and service in the navy. ⁣I remember incinerating the sausages and you swooping in to save the day.⁣ I remember your hands and your laugh and your favourite beer. ⁣I will remember you in your children, your grandchildren and great grandchildren. ⁣Thank you for your dedication and love for us all and especially Granny, who we will look after for you."

The Telegraph reports the Cambridges have been at their Norfolk home, Anmer Hall, for Easter break since holidays began at the end of March. It's understood they will return to KP at the end of this week ahead of the Duke's funeral on Saturday.

Monday, 12 April 2021

The Royal Family Shares Moving Tributes to Father, Grandfather & Great-Grandfather Prince Philip

Amid a sea of tributes to the Duke of Edinburgh, we've seen world leaders, royals from all over the world, and those who enjoyed encounters with the Duke over a lifetime of service recall fond memories spanning decades. The most poignant words have come from the family who knew him best and will miss him most dearly. Today, Prince William shared a statement on behalf of the Cambridge family with a lovely family photo of Philip out for a carriage ride with Prince George. It was taken by the Duchess in Norfolk in 2015.

William wrote: "My grandfather’s century of life was defined by service – to his country and Commonwealth, to his wife and Queen, and to our family. I feel lucky to have not just had his example to guide me, but his enduring presence well into my own adult life – both through good times and the hardest days. I will always be grateful that my wife had so many years to get to know my grandfather and for the kindness he showed her. I will never take for granted the special memories my children will always have of their great-grandpa coming to collect them in his carriage and seeing for themselves his infectious sense of adventure as well as his mischievous sense of humour! My grandfather was an extraordinary man and part of an extraordinary generation. Catherine and I will continue to do what he would have wanted and will support The Queen in the years ahead. I will miss my Grandpa, but I know he would want us to get on with the job."

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As talk turns to the Duke's impressive legacy, the Duke of Edinburgh Award comes to mind immediately. From small beginnings in 1956, the 'D of E', as it is commonly known, was launched. It was at first "for boys" aged 15 to 18. In the beginning it was administered and largely designed by John Hunt, who had led the first successful climb of Everest in 1953, and had retired from the army to run the Duke of Edinburgh Award. It was designed to attract boys who had not been interested in joining one of the main British youth movements, such as the Scout Association. It was not necessary to 'join' any organisation or wear a uniform to participate. In the first 12 months, 7,000 boys had enrolled for the scheme. The programme borrowed from the Moray Badge, instituted at Gordonstoun School by its headmaster, Kurt Hahn, in 1936, and the County Badge adopted in Moray in 1941. In November 1957, it was announced that girls would be invited to participate. On 19 June 1958, the award was extended to girls, with the first girls joining from 1 September 1958. The programme for girls was not the same as that for boys, and was for ages 14 to 20. The first girls received their Gold Awards on 3 November 1959 at Buckingham Palace. From January 1965, the Gold Award for boys and girls was made more similar. The first Gold Awards were achieved in 1958, and the charity was established in 1959. A single programme for young people aged 14 to 21 was launched in 1969, and extended to those up to 25 years of age in 1980. Participants in the programme can share memories on the Duke of Edinburgh Award website.

Indeed, the Duchess of Cambridge achieved her own gold Duke of Edinburgh Award during her time at Marlborough. It reportedly involved a four-day hike. Footage of Kate speaking about the experience featured in a 2016 documentary marking the 60th anniversary of the award. Kate recalled hiking in the pouring rain: ""I can remember trying to cook bacon in the soaking wet. Everything was just sopping and I was trying and trying to cook bacon. I remember saying you know what, I think we're just going to have plain sandwiches. Bread, basic bread and butter."

The Duchess will one day follow in Philip's footsteps as consort, a topic the two will have undoubtedly discussed over the years. Below, one of my favourite photos of Kate with the Duke.

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Buckingham Palace shared an Annie Leibovitz portrait with the Queen's famous words from 1997:

"𝘏𝘦 𝘩𝘢𝘴, 𝘲𝘶𝘪𝘵𝘦 𝘴𝘪𝘮𝘱𝘭𝘺, 𝘣𝘦𝘦𝘯 𝘮𝘺 𝘴𝘵𝘳𝘦𝘯𝘨𝘵𝘩 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘺 𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘴𝘦 𝘺𝘦𝘢𝘳𝘴, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘐, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘸𝘩𝘰𝘭𝘦 𝘧𝘢𝘮𝘪𝘭𝘺, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘮𝘢𝘯𝘺 𝘰𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳 𝘤𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘵𝘳𝘪𝘦𝘴, 𝘰𝘸𝘦 𝘩𝘪𝘮 𝘢 𝘥𝘦𝘣𝘵 𝘨𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘳 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘯 𝘩𝘦 𝘸𝘰𝘶𝘭𝘥 𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳 𝘤𝘭𝘢𝘪𝘮, 𝘰𝘳 𝘸𝘦 𝘴𝘩𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳 𝘬𝘯𝘰𝘸."

In a moving tribute, Prince Charles, who is expected to deliver the eulogy for his father, said, "I particularly wanted to say that my father, for I suppose the last 70 years, has given the most remarkable, devoted service to The Queen, to my family and to the country, but also to the whole of the Commonwealth. As you can imagine, my family and I miss my father enormously. He was a much loved and appreciated figure and apart from anything else, I can imagine, he would be so deeply touched by the number of other people here and elsewhere around the world and the Commonwealth, who also I think, share our loss and our sorrow. My dear Papa was a very special person who I think above all else would have been amazed by the reaction and the touching things that have been said about him and from that point of view we are, my family, deeply grateful for all that. It will sustain us in this particular loss and at this particularly sad time. Thank you."

Princess Anne described her father's importance in her life: "You know it’s going to happen but you are never really ready. My father has been my teacher, my supporter and my critic, but mostly it is his example of a life well lived and service freely given that I most wanted to emulate. His ability to treat every person as an individual in their own right with their own skills comes through all the organisations with which he was involved. I regard it as an honour and a privilege to have been asked to follow in his footsteps and it has been a pleasure to have kept him in touch with their activities. I know how much he meant to them, in the UK, across the Commonwealth and in the wider world. I would like to emphasise how much the family appreciate the messages and memories of so many people whose lives he also touched. We will miss him but he leaves a legacy which can inspire us all."

Reflecting on the loss after service at the Royal Chapel of All Saints, Windsor on Sunday, the Countess of Wessex spoke eloquently on the Duke's passing: "It was right for him and, you know, it was so gentle. It was like someone took him by the hand, and then he went. Very peaceful and that's all you want for somebody, isn't it? I think it is so much easier for the person that goes than the people who are left behind. We are all sitting here looking at each other going 'this is awful'". Prince Edward added, "It just goes to show: he might have been our father, grandfather, father-in-law, but he meant so much to so many other people. As always, but bearing up, and again it's just that wave of affection for him and just those lovely stories."

And today, Prince Harry, who is currently at Frogmore Cottage, shared heartfelt words: "My grandfather was a man of service, honour and great humour. He was authentically himself, with a seriously sharp wit, and could hold the attention of any room due to his charm—and also because you never knew what he might say next. He will be remembered as the longest reigning consort to the Monarch, a decorated serviceman, a Prince and a Duke. But to me, like many of you who have lost a loved one or grandparent over the pain of this past year, he was my grandpa: master of the barbecue, legend of banter, and cheeky right till the end. He has been a rock for Her Majesty The Queen with unparalleled devotion, by her side for 73 years of marriage, and while I could go on, I know that right now he would say to all of us, beer in hand, ‘Oh do get on with it!’ So, on that note, Grandpa, thank you for your service, your dedication to Granny, and for always being yourself. You will be sorely missed, but always remembered—by the nation and the world. Meghan, Archie, and I (as well as your future great-granddaughter) will always hold a special place for you in our hearts." Harry closed with ‘Per Mare, Per Terram’ the motto of the Royal Marines and Latin for "By sea, by land."

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Buckingham Palace confirmed the Duke's funeral will take place on Saturday at 3pm in St George’s Chapel, Windsor. It will be televised and will begin with a National Minute’s Silence at three o’clock. In line with government guidance, only 30 guests will be present at the funeral. The plans are very much in keeping with Philip's own wishes for a low-key funeral (including Philip's decision his body be carried in a purpose built coffin). The Palace noted, "It will be a Ceremonial Royal Funeral, the same as for Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, rather than a State Funeral – something which is generally reserved for monarchs."


The full plans from Buckingham Palace:
'The Duke of Edinburgh’s coffin, covered with His Royal Highness’s Personal Standard and dressed with a wreath of flowers, will rest initially in the Private Chapel at Windsor Castle, where it will remain until the day of the Funeral.

On Saturday 17th April, The Duke of Edinburgh's coffin will be moved by a Bearer Party found by The Queen’s Company, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards. Positioned in the Quadrangle at Windsor Castle will be representative detachments drawn from His Royal Highness’s military special relationships.

His Royal Highness’s coffin will be carried in a purpose-built Land Rover - which The Duke was involved in the design of - flanked by military Pall Bearers, in a small Ceremonial Procession from the State Entrance to St George’s Chapel, for the Funeral Service. Members of the Royal Family and The Duke of Edinburgh’s Household will walk behind the coffin from the Quadrangle, down Chapel Hill and into Horseshoe Cloister. The Funeral Service will begin with a National Minute’s Silence at 1500hrs.

The Funeral Service will be attended by Her Majesty The Queen and Members of the Royal Family. The coffin, carried by a Bearer Party found by the Royal Marines, will be received at the top of the West Steps of St George’s Chapel by the Dean of Windsor and the Archbishop of Canterbury. The Duke of Edinburgh’s Naval Cap and Sword will be placed on the coffin ahead of the service and His Royal Highness’s Insignia will be laid on the Altar of the Chapel. At the conclusion of the service, His Royal Highness will be interred in the Royal Vault in St George’s Chapel.'

A ten-minute overview of the Duke's life; he was the longest serving royal consort in British History.

Among a plethora of memorable stories and meetings, I thought I would close the post by sharing one particularly moving recollection (with thanks to West Wing Reports). In November 1963, Prince Philip flew to the United States for President John F. Kennedy's funeral. Whilst looking for her son John, Jackie Kennedy opened the door to his playroom and found Philip "sprawled on the floor", "laughing and playing". The almost three-year-old John had been upset earlier in the day because he didn't have anyone to play with and was looking for his father. Philip decided the best thing he could do was to be there for John. Two years later Philip held John's hand at a memorial for the president.

Just two years before JFK died, the Queen and the Duke hosted the President and First Lady at Buckingham Palace.

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In 1997, when William and Harry were reeling from the loss of their mother, Philip took the boys under his wing, spending time in the Highlands at Balmoral. Tina Brown later wrote, "A member of the Balmoral staff noted that Prince Philip, who had effectively lost his own mother at the age of ten when she was committed for three years to an asylum in Switzerland, was brilliantly effective with his grandsons, offering them gruff tenderness and outdoor activities like stalking and hiking to tire them out." When the time came to walk behind their mother's coffin, something that was deeply difficult for both brothers and is said to trouble them to this day, Philip said to them, "I'll walk if you walk."

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On Saturday, members of the family will walk behind Philip's coffin as the family and the nation bids farewell.

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