Prince Edward says outpouring of support after Queen's death was 'overwhelming'

Prince Edward
The Duke of Edinburgh speaks during the Duke of Edinburgh's Gold Award presentations, in the garden of Buckingham Palace, London. Picture date: Friday May 10, 2024. -Credit:PA Wire/PA Images

The Duke of Edinburgh has expressed that the wave of support following his mother, Queen Elizabeth II's passing, was "overwhelming".

Edward stepped in for the King as Lord High Commissioner at the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland on Saturday, where he greeted the newly elected Moderator, Rev Dr Shaw James Paterson.

Speaking to the assembly in Edinburgh, the duke reflected on the comfort he found in the support from Royal chaplains after the loss of his mother. The late Queen died in September 2022 at her Balmoral estate in Aberdeenshire, concluding a historic 70-year reign and prompting a nationwide outpouring of tributes and memorials, including those in Edinburgh.

"For my own part, I just want to pay personal tribute to the chaplains of the Chapels Royal and especially those here in Scotland," he shared.

He recounted moments when he felt the presence of God's care and love, saying: "And who could forget the scenes that followed the passing of my mother? The outpouring of emotions, the demonstration of respect, love and grief was overwhelming and a privilege to experience and behold.

"I think I can speak for my whole family when I say we will remain forever grateful for that support."

Reflecting on the death of his father, Philip, the previous Duke, just a year earlier, Edward described his mother's death as "far more emotional".

The Duke of Edinburgh, accompanied by First Minister John Swinney and Edinburgh Lord Provost Robert Aldridge, expressed his deep appreciation for the support provided by chaplains to the Royal family, noting he was "really touched and comforted" by their discreet and compassionate service.

"I know it's part of the job description, so perhaps I shouldn't have been surprised, yet it not necessarily what they did, it's how they did it," he remarked, acknowledging the profound impact of their traditional and caring approach.

"Here were centuries of tradition, of rituals long practised, of prayer, of care and of comfort."

In a lighter moment, Edward humorously drew parallels between his own upbringing and that of Dr Paterson, the newly appointed Moderator, as both grew up in prominent families, saying, "Growing up in the family of a minister is never easy; having to come to terms with sharing one or both of your parents with the wider parish family.

"And believe me, I can empathise."

Dr Paterson, in his response to the Duke's heartfelt speech, requested that the Duke convey a message to the King, who is battling cancer, urging him to "take the time he needs before he gets up to full speed".

"His health is important, and we will be praying for him and all who have got health concerns," said the Moderator, extending his thoughts and prayers.

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