Archbishop praises Philip’s ‘outstanding example of Christian service’

Megan Baynes, PA
·3-min read

The Archbishop of Canterbury has led tributes from faith leaders to the Duke of Edinburgh, describing him as an “outstanding example of Christian service”.

Justin Welby, who officiated at the wedding of Philip’s grandson Harry in 2018, said on the occasions he met the duke he was “struck by his obvious joy at life, his enquiring mind and his ability to communicate to people from every background and walk of life”.

In a statement, Mr Welby said: “He was a master at putting people at their ease and making them feel special.

“The legacy he leaves is enormous.”

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He added: “In his powerful advocacy for conservation, his was a prophetic voice for over half a century, as he brought people from around the world to a new concern and commitment to action for the future of our planet.

“As we recover and rebuild after the terrible trial of the coronavirus pandemic, we will need fortitude and a deep sense of commitment to serving others.

“Throughout his life Prince Philip displayed those qualities in abundance, and I pray that we can take inspiration from his example.

The Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, highlighted the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award as “an enormous part of Prince Philip’s legacy”.

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He said: “The award has allowed countless young people to develop and discover skills, which have instilled confidence in them and given them an encounter of working together for the common good.

“Prince Philip was patron to hundreds of charitable organisations, covering a wide range of disciplines all of which benefited from his wit and wisdom and his inquisitive mind.”

Rose Hudson-Wilkin, Bishop of Dover, said in a video message: “His was a life well-lived. A consort, husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, elder statesman.

“Although out of the public gaze for some time, since stepping back from public duty one cannot think of Her Majesty without thinking of the lifelong companionship they shared and the support he gave to her and the nation over the years.

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“A special memory I have of him was when I was received at Buckingham Palace as one of Her Majesty’s chaplains. I recall him joking with my girls.

“I will hold Her Majesty and her extended family in my prayers as they mourn the loss of his Royal Highness, the Duke of Edinburgh.”

Qari Asim, a senior imam at the Makkah Mosque in Leeds and chairman of the Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board, said he was “saddened” to hear the news.

He tweeted: “Had the pleasure of meeting #PrincePhilip many a time — a man of exceptional service and commitment, who helped sustain the monarchy.

“Our thoughts with Her Majesty the Queen, the royal family, the nation and the Commonwealth.”

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis sent condolences “on behalf of Jewish communities of the Commonwealth”.

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In a statement, he said: “I enjoyed immensely my personal conversations with the Duke of Edinburgh, during which I was deeply moved by his extraordinary sense of duty. A remarkable royal, working well into his 90s, he became a role model for staying active in one’s latter years and demonstrated an unwavering sense of responsibility to our country.

“We remember the duke’s interaction with, and affection for, the Jewish community in the UK and his connection with Israel, where his mother is buried and which he visited in 1994.

“We have lost a most distinguished man who was a selfless and loyal public figure.”