Members of the Royal Family gathered at Westminster Abbey today, to attend a Service of Thanksgiving for the late Duke of Edinburgh.
The Royals, including five of his great-grandchildren, were joined by representatives of Prince Philip’s many charities and interests to celebrate the life and work of the Prince Consort.
The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge along with Prince George and Princess Charlotte, The Princess Royal and Sir Timothy Laurence were in the first two rows closest to The Queen.
The Earl and Countess of Wessex brought their children, Lady Louise and James, while Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie brought their husbands, Edo and Jack respectively. Zara and Mike Tindall were accompanied by their eldest daughter Mia, and Peter Philips with his two daughters Isla and Savannah were also in attendance.
The Queen’s cousins, Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, The Duke of Kent and The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester also attended the service.
The Queen was accompanied to Westminster Abbey by Prince Andrew, who recently settled his civil lawsuit with Virginia Giuffre out of court, being driven in from Windsor, where she is now based full-time. Many observers were unhappy with this public show of support for The Duke of York.
Her Majesty entered the Abbey from another entrance, at Poet’s Corner, where she used a walking stick as she was escorted to and from her seat. The Queen has used a stick in a number of engagements recently, and even expressed she couldn’t move during one engagement. The decision of her attendance was made this morning.
The Queen became emotional during the service as she ensured her beloved husband’s final wishes were fulfilled after Philip’s funeral saw her sitting on her own.
Princess Beatrice was also overcome with emotion as she was seen to be emotional as she wept while watching her father walk her grandmother to her seat. She could be seen reaching into her handbag for a tissue and covering her face with a service sheet to hide her face.
The service featured aspects that were unable to be included in Philip’s 2021 funeral due to COVID-19, such as:
- – an Honour Guard – nine Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award holders along with representatives from UK Cadet Force Associations line the abbey steps as guests arrive
- – the Choir sung Te Deum in C by Benjamin Britten, which was originally selected by Philip
- – Clergy from the estates of Windsor, Sandringham and Balmoral offered prayers highlighting HRH’s energy, spirit of adventure and conservation efforts
- – ‘Guide Me, I Thou Great Redeemer’ sung by the congregation. The hymn was requested by Philip but due to government guidelines, there was no congregational singing at the funeral
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, founded by the Duke in 1956, featured prominently throughout, with a Tribute given by Doyin Sonibare, a Gold Award Holder.
The Service of Thanksgiving for HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh was full of readings and music that were close to his heart, including this beautiful performance of Te Deum in C (Britten). The service is available on @BBCiPlayer https://t.co/RMH4M0Tuj8@RoyalFamily pic.twitter.com/x07nkMNFFW
— BBC Studios Events Productions (@BBCS_Events) March 29, 2022
Her speech focussed on the ‘opportunity’ that came from undertaking the award.
In her speech, she noted: “In 1956, when The Duke of Edinburgh created the Award, he had a vision to create a programme which supported the development of young people all over the world.”
“Today, you’ve learnt how his legacy has impacted me and how it will continue to impact future generations to come. The world has been through so much turmoil and in these times, it is so important to show our support to young people, to encourage them with opportunities and empower them to reach their full potential.”
Foreign royalty were also invited and were sat in the congregation:
- – The King and Queen of the Belgians, Phillipe and Mathilde
- – Queen Margrethe of Denmark
- – The Grand Duchess of Luxembourg
- – Albert, Prince of Monaco
- – The King and Queen of the Netherlands and Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands
- – The King and Queen of Spain
- – The King and Queen of Sweden
- – Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Bahrain
- – Prince El Hassan bin Talal and Princess Sarvath El Hassan
- – Queen Anne-Marie of the Hellenes
- – Crown Prince Pavlos and Crown Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece
- – Prince Philippos and Princess Nina of Greece
- – Margareta, Custodian of the Romanian Crown, and Prince Radu of Romania
- – Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine of Serbia
- – Prince Kyril of Preslav
King Harald and Queen Sonja of Norway were due to attend, but contracted Covid-19.
The Dean of Westminster addressed attendees and paid tribute to the late Duke of Edinburgh. He noted his ‘passionate commitment’ to creating opportunities for young people.
“He knew however that that future, from any human point of view, had to be arrived at step by step. He was practical, wanting to put flesh upon his dreams, and (acknowledging the limitations of living in this so-called ‘real world’) he devoted his astonishing intellectual and physical energy, his enormous capacity for sheer hard work, to a host of down-to-earth enterprises. These included the equipping of young people to face tomorrow’s challenges, the encouragement of respect and care for the natural order, and his pioneering work in facilitating conversation between representatives of the different world faiths.”
The Dean also noted Philip’s commitment and devotion to his family saying ‘moreover, nobody would ever doubt his loyalty and deep devotion to our Queen and to their family.’
“Yet, there were times when he could be abrupt; maybe, in robust conversation, forgetting just how intimidating he could be. A kind of natural reserve sometimes made him seem a little distant. He could be somewhat sharp in pricking what he thought to be bubbles of pomposity or sycophancy. On the other hand, we should not forget that he himself was sometimes wounded by being unfairly criticised or misunderstood.”