Philip had ‘remarkable willingness’ to take hand he was dealt in life – Welby

Aine Fox, PA
·2-min read

The Duke of Edinburgh had a “remarkable willingness” to take the hand he was dealt in life, the Archbishop of Canterbury has said.

Justin Welby, speaking at a remembrance service on Sunday for Philip, said the royal family was dealing with the “blow” of bereavement as anyone who has suffered grief will know.

He addressed a socially distanced congregation at the service from Canterbury Cathedral, which was also streamed live online.


Mr Welby said: “For His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh, there was a willingness, a remarkable willingness, to take the hand he was dealt in life, and straightforwardly to follow its call.

“To search its meaning, to go out and on as sent, to inquire and think, to trust and to pray.”

He also noted that although Philip was a man of great faith, he would have “harrumphed” at the idea of “over-spiritualisation”.

He said: “Where we find lives that have prophetic aspects of foreseeing and practical applications of inspiring, as with Prince Philip, we see signs of this new creation of the spirit of God.

“We should not exaggerate. The duke would have been the first to harrumph strongly at over-spiritualisation of the world he found, let alone of himself.”

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While Philip’s death has been recognised and reported on worldwide, Mr Welby told those watching that for any family the pain of bereavement is personal, saying “loss is loss”.

He said: “For the royal family, as for every other, no words can reach into the depth of sorrow that goes into bereavement.

“We all know that it is not simply a factor of age or familiarity. It is not obliterated by the reality of a very long life remarkably led, nor is the predictability of death’s arrival a softening of the blow.

“Loss is loss.”

The archbishop urged prayers for the family and others who are dealing with grief.

He said: “We can indeed pray that the Duke of Edinburgh may rest in peace and rise in glory.

“We may pray for comfort. We may pray and offer love for all who find that a great life leaves a very great gap.

“For the royal family and the millions who have themselves suffered loss, we can know that the presence of Christ will bring peace, and the light of Christ will shine strongly, and it is in that light that we can strengthen one another with eternal hope.”

It is expected Mr Welby will officiate at the funeral service in St George’s Chapel alongside David Conner, the Dean of Windsor, on Saturday afternoon.