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.

30 comments:

  1. Susan in Florida12 April 2021 at 22:40

    This is a beautiful post Charlotte. Thank you .

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  2. Sarah from California12 April 2021 at 23:55

    Precious!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  3. Beautiful, touching post. Thank you.

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  4. Just beautiful, thank you Charlotte.

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  5. Lovely tribute Charlotte. Lovely to see the photo of Prince George with Prince Philip riding in the carriage so cute. My heart goes out to the whole royal family in their loss but especially to the Queen. I am glad the funeral is televised so we can all watch it. I will miss Philip despite his fault I adored him.

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  6. The DoE had a difficult position being in second place to the Queen in the decades before women's lib, but he found his role and did it well. It is so interesting to learn all the behind the scenes work he did and the story about playing with JFK, Jr is so touching! it is good to remember and talk about the good things a person has done in his life. No one is perfect, but we can all do our bit.

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  7. Can I say, what a beautiful message. For me it hit the right nerve between official and private.
    And on a personal note to you, Charlotte: I think it was a good decision not to showcase Prince Andrew's comment. He decided to disappear instead of being questioned, now it would only be coherent to be invisible and not speak publicly. Sadly, he didn't get the message.
    C.

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    1. Actually, I did have the opportunity to hear Prince Andrews words in relation to both his parents. His remarks were brief compared to his siblings but none the less heartfelt.

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  8. What an amazing man & consort he was. I didn’t know that the Duke of Edinburgh Award had been going for so long! I did want to take part in it at school one year, & it would’ve been a great challenge, but I pulled out at the last minute. Good on Kate for going on the four-day hike to achieve her Gold Award 👍🏻
    I love how Philip showed warmth to Kate & they seemed to get along quite well. I also appreciate the kindness he showed to little JFK Jr. after he tragically lost his father, & to his grandsons after their mother’s death.
    The tributes have been very touching & it seems he has left an indelible mark on people’s hearts.
    Thank you for this moving post, Charlotte.

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    1. The little stories we are now hearing in relation to JFK Jr. are a good reminder to us that regardless of how the world saw him, Prince Philip was always thinking as a parent and most certainly a husband.

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  9. Zora from Prague13 April 2021 at 14:30

    Thank you so much for this lovely post, dear Charlotte! 🌸

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  10. The picture of him with the Queen - he’s wearing a matching pink shirt! So cute. So sweet. Also, all these little stories about him - the one with JFK, Jr. I’d never heard before - just show he had a tender heart underneath all that formality. What a loss.

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    1. There is a photo online that shows Prince Philip holding JFK, Jr. hand at Arlington cemetery. Very touching.

      https://twitter.com/WestWingReport/status/1380619472466247685/photo/1

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  11. What a moving post. This is a sad time for all who honor and love the RF. So glad that the Queen has her children, William, Catherine, and grandchildren to surround her in this time of grief. May God bless the Queen and the entire RF.

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  12. Thanks so much for this post and may I offer my deep condolences to the Royal Family for the demise of HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. The admirable Prince will be sadly missed not only in UK but in many countries worldwide.

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  13. He was truly a wonderful man. Thank you for all those tributes. Looking at the pictures,I realized he survived so many people, even little John Kennedy...
    I have read a lot of articles about the Duke of Edinburgh since he died and something that particularly touched me is that he was fiercely protective of the Queen. He protected her, and he made her laugh. Both things that must have meant everything to her.

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  14. Great picture of the DoE and George. Sadly we only seen what was shown, never a thing behind closed doors. Playing on the floor with his own children and his grandchildren and the newest Generation. He will be greatly missed by many. The memories are plenty, this is something to hold on too, not just in the UK but all over the world. He left his mark.

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  15. Mellie, I stand corrected on that photo, apparently it is from the ceremony at Runnymeade where England donated an acre of land for a memorial honoring JFK. Seems the prince made an impact with the little boy.

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  16. A wonderful post and tribute to a life well lived. Thank you.

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  17. My grandfather, a man who is as honorable, generous, and warm died three hours ago at the age of 105. There is so much to remember and to emulate from men such as these. I know my grandfather would tell me to live my life fully.

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    1. Wendy, I'm so sorry for your loss and how lucky you were to have such a grandfather!

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  18. A lovely post, Charlotte. Thank you so much.

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  19. The Duke of Edinburgh Award is very dear to me. I went to so many places and learnt new things because of it. Prince Phillip had a huge impact on my life.

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    1. Tammy from California15 April 2021 at 17:22

      Awwww Riddhi, you make me tear up this morning!

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  20. Wonderful, endearing tribute. Prince Phillip was such an amazing man. He always made me laugh. Though,likely, he was quite a handful in his early years, I admired his intelligence, grit, fortitude, strength, and loyalty, most if all. The royal family are blessed to have lived long lives with this man at the helm. Thank you, Charlotte.

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  21. Oh Charlotte, what a wonderful remembrance during the sad days surrounding John Kennedy’s funeral.
    I had never heard that recollection of Prince Philip sitting with John Jr. It brought the tears. Thank you for such a beautiful post.

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  22. Tammy from California15 April 2021 at 17:21

    THAT day. That dreaded day. Those boys walking behind the casket was just... no words. He truly was the mainstay for that whole family.

    I know I will be shredded for saying this, and it's okay, it's just my opinion. I never thought Jackie Kennedy held a candle, in beauty, to Her Majesty. And I am American by the way.

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  23. Tammy, I am from the US and I thought that very I looked at thy same tis photo! At the time, I guess I was so young and swayed but US media, but the Queen is very beautiful, inside and outside, and the US "Camelot" is fraught with problems. The Queen has always been beautiful and she doesn't need the latest French styles to show that.

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  24. A great tribute to the prince phillip

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