Last Updated 11/04/21: 11:00
“The Rt Revd Paul Butler Bishop of Durham said: “The Church of England in the Diocese of Durham and people across our region joins Her Majesty The Queen, members of the Royal Family and those across the country who mourn the death of His Royal Highness Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. His dedication to Queen and Country born out of his Christian faith stands as an inspiration for us all.”
“He gave a lifetime of devoted public service. He was a distinguished young Lieutenant in the Royal Navy during the Second World War. He was outstanding as consort to The Sovereign. An exile as a baby from his native Greece, Prince Philip committed himself and his future to the United Kingdom. He is well remembered for his love of a wide range of sports, his sense of humour, and his long and devoted marriage to The Queen. As one baptised in the Orthodox faith, Prince Philip shared in a truly global Christian faith. May he Rest in Peace and Rise in Glory.”
“It was my personal privilege, as a bishop, to meet Prince Philip on a small number of occasions. Each time he took a keen interest in the people and setting in which we met. He listened thoughtfully and was always ready with an apposite comment or observation.”
Loving God, we give you thanks for the life of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
We thank you for his devotion to our nation, to the Commonwealth and the world.
We especially thank you for the love that he shared with Her Majesty the Queen, for their life as a family.
We pray for them, that they might know your peace, your presence and your comfort in the midst of their sadness and loss.
We entrust Prince Philip into your loving care knowing that the risen Jesus offers us life eternal.
We pray in the name of Jesus Christ, the Risen One. Amen.
Audio Prayer & Statements
Reflection & Prayer by Bishop Paul given on BBC Radio
PRINCE PHILIP, DUKE OF EDINBURGH, REFLECTION
Prince Philip’s death does not come as a shock. He was clearly very unwell earlier in the year. When he returned home 3 weeks ago, the brief pictures showed us a very frail man. There is sorrow that he did not make it to 100 but he had lived a long, and fruitful, life.
This life was marked out by service and duty. His early life, with its tragedies and disruptions, could have left him deeply damaged. Clearly the support he had, and the education he received at Gordonstoun, helped him develop a sense of his own worth, abilities and a deep resilience. He entered adulthood confident he could achieve things. Achieve he did; in the Royal Navy, he was commended and expected to rise to high rank. But he was captured by love for Princess Elizabeth, and with the death of King George VI aged 56, he found himself as Consort rather younger than either he or the Queen would have wished. So he had to make a shift in thinking. He committed himself to supporting his wife as Queen. He accepted that his calling was to support; stand by; listen to, encourage, and make laugh rather than focus on his own achievement. It is this outstanding support of her Majesty for the past 70 years which has been his greatest contribution to the nation. The Queen has made it clear just how much his support has meant to her.
Yet he did achieve much in his own right. His determination to help young people have opportunities, develop their skills and above all grow their self-worth has been seen both through the Duke of Edinburgh International Award scheme and in his support for developing playing fields across the nation. He was a pioneer in many aspects of conservation and environmental care. He encouraged innovation and creativity in industry and trade. He helped promote inter-faith dialogue. He sought to encourage peace between nations, and saw the Commonwealth as a community of nations that contributed to the global good.
Jesus stressed to his first disciples that service is how we live life God’s way; ‘the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like one who serves.’ Prince Philip was baptised in the Greek Orthodox Church and lived most of his life as an Anglican. His approach that said always of his wife that ‘you must be greater’ mirrored that of the Jesus in whose name he served.
Prince Philip is now at rest in the presence of the Lord who made him, and died for him. Our thoughts and prayers must be with those who remain and who will feel his passing most deeply; his family of 10 great-grandchildren; 8 grandchildren, 4 children and above all his wife. Theirs was a great love affair lasting 73 years of marriage. As a nation as we give thanks for Prince Philip we must hold Her Majesty, and the Royal Family, in our prayers that they might each know the comfort and living presence of the risen Lord Jesus, who is the hope for us all.
We give thanks for Prince Philip;
for his life of service to our nation and the Commonwealth.
We pray for Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth, and each one of the Royal Family, that by your Spirit you would comfort and assure them in their sadness and loss.
We pray through Jesus Christ the risen Lord