MPs could finance a permanent memorial to Prince Philip on parliamentary estate

Ben Riley-Smith
·3-min read
The Duke Of Edinburgh Attends The Captain General's Parade  - Yui Mok/Getty Images Europe 
The Duke Of Edinburgh Attends The Captain General's Parade - Yui Mok/Getty Images Europe

MPs and peers could personally finance a permanent memorial to Prince Philip on the parliamentary estate, with Conservative MPs rallying support for the proposal.

One idea being discussed is for a memorial to be placed in the cavernous Westminster Hall, which dates back to the 11th century and is the oldest part of the estate.

Another is for part of the Palace of Westminster to be renamed after the Duke, such as St Stephen's Entrance, which for many years was the arrival point for visitors.

The early backing for a permanent memorial and one that is funded by parliamentarians reflects the high-esteem the Duke was held in by scores of MPs.

It is understood Lindsay Hoyle, the House of Commons speaker, is open to proposals and will be monitoring the views of MPs over the coming weeks.

Peter Bone, the Conservative MP for Wellingborough, told The Telegraph: "The Duke served the country for such a long period and in such a steadfast way.

“Through all the ups and downs he’s always been there at the side of Her Majesty. When you come into ‘the mother of parliaments’ it would be rather nice that a memorial was there.”

He added: “I think parliamentarians both in the Commons and the Lords would contribute. I think it’s something the speakers of both houses [of parliament] should look at.”

Bob Blackman, joint secretary of the influential 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers, also expressed support for a permanent memorial paid for by MPs and peers.

“There certainly should be something in the Palace of Westminster as it is a royal palace,” Mr Blackman told this newspaper.

“I think it would be absolutely right that we fund it through an appropriate collection from MPs and peers by voluntary contributions. That would be sensible.”

There is precedent for such moves. A stained glass window to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee unveiled in 2012 was financed by members of the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh unveiled the Diamond Jubilee Stained Glass Window at the Queen's Chapel of the Savoy - Eddie Mulholland 
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh unveiled the Diamond Jubilee Stained Glass Window at the Queen's Chapel of the Savoy - Eddie Mulholland

The window was made from around 1,500 separate pieces by the British glass artist John Reyntiens. Her Majesty was present for its unveiling.

Similarly a work for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee next June, marking 70 years on the throne, which will be placed on the parliamentary estate was funded by MPs and peers.

Discussion of a parliamentary memorial for the Duke remains preliminary. The speakers of the Commons and the Lords would likely have to jointly agree a plan for it to take place.

Some form of permanent commemoration for Prince Philip in the military is also possible, though it remains unclear what form that would take.

Captain Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person to single-handedly circumnavigate the world non-stop, predicted a warship would be renamed after the Duke.

However Sir Robin, 82, stressed that it could be more than a decade before that happens given only a ship of a certain size and quality would likely be given the name.

Discussing the possible renaming of a ship with The Telegraph, Sir Robin said: “The Navy has a habit of respecting people. It names ships after ancient and famous admirals. I mean we've got two large aircraft carriers: one named after the Queen, one of the Prince of Wales, for example.

"So I think you'll find it will probably occur. And I think an awful lot of us involved in the Navy would welcome that. But it's a question of what ships are coming up, what classes they are and how you can fit that in."

Prince Philip's remarkable life - Read more
Prince Philip's remarkable life - Read more