On the morning of Tuesday, March 29, 2022, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, members of the British Royal Family, foreign royals from the European continent, members of the UK Government, and 500 representatives of the late Duke’s many charities attended a Service of Thanksgiving for the late His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh held at Westminster Abbey in London, England.
In a press release via Buckingham Palace the purpose of this morning’s service was to:
“…gave thanks for His Royal Highness’s dedication to his family, to the Nation, and to the Commonwealth as both Consort to the Queen, and a working member of the Royal Family in his own right. The event also recognized the importance of The Duke’s legacy in creating opportunities for young people, promoting environmental stewardship and conservation, and supporting the Armed Forces.
The Service, in particular, paid tribute to The Duke of Edinburgh’s contribution to public life and steadfast support for the over 700 charitable organizations with which His Royal Highness was associated throughout his life.”
In his address during the service the Dean of Windsor reflected on the life of The Duke of Edinburgh stating:
“In 1947, Prince Philip was made a Knight of the Order of the Garter. On the back
of his stall in St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, is fixed, in perpetuity and for
everyone to see, a small enamelled brass plate on which is inscribed his motto. It is
simply: “God is My Help”. We do not understand the man unless we see him, at the
heart, to be a man of faith.
That faith was never dogmatic, sentimental or paraded and, as it went in search of
understanding, was frequently questioned and examined. However, it was real and it
endured, inspiring and shaping a lifetime of commitment to the making of this world
a better place.
I am not sure that Prince Philip had much time for the theological controversies that
divide people. His faith was a heartfelt trust in a loving God whose intention for this
world is glimpsed in the life and teaching of Jesus Christ; such trust, such hope, as
could unite people in a common endeavour.
This trust, this hope, was not idle wishful thinking or escapism. Rather, it evoked in
him a kind of impatience; eagerness for that God-intended future upon which his
gaze was always fixed.
He knew however that that future, from any human point of view, had to be arrived
at step by step. He was practical, wanting to put flesh upon his dreams, and
(acknowledging the limitations of living in this so-called ‘real world’) he devoted his
astonishing intellectual and physical energy, his enormous capacity for sheer hard
work, to a host of down-to-earth enterprises. These included the equipping of young
people to face tomorrow’s challenges, the encouragement of respect and care for the
natural order, and his pioneering work in facilitating conversation between
representatives of the different world faiths.
Through his passionate commitment, he drew others to himself in admiration and
respect and, in the case of those who lived and worked most closely to him, genuine love.
However, I sense that he did not believe that all these achievements were made in
his own strength. I am reminded of those words: ‘God is My Help’. I think he
understood his constant need of inspiration and of guidance. I am quite sure that his
prayers were not reserved for public occasions alone.
He would hate to think that I should paint a picture of him as a ‘plaster saint’;
someone without the usual human foibles and failings. He was far too self-aware
ever to be taken in by flattery. Of course, it must be said that his life bore the marks
of sacrifice and service. Certainly, he could show great sympathy and kindness. There
is no doubt that he had a delightfully engaging, and often self-deprecating, sense of
humour. It is quite clear that his mind held together both speculation and common
Moreover, nobody would ever doubt his loyalty and deep devotion to our
Queen and to their family. Yet, there were times when he could be abrupt; maybe,
in robust conversation, forgetting just how intimidating he could be. A kind of
natural reserve sometimes made him seem a little distant. He could be somewhat
sharp in pricking what he thought to be bubbles of pomposity or sycophancy. On
the other hand, we should not forget that he himself was sometimes wounded by
being unfairly criticised or misunderstood.
Like the rest of us, he was part of flawed humanity. Unlike most of us however, he
was one of those rare people who remained true to, and guided by, what you might
call ‘an inner spiritual compass’; a sense of being called to play a part in the making
of a God-intended world.
As we give thanks for the life of a remarkable man, perhaps our greatest tribute to
him, most especially in these far too troubled times, will be for us to accept the
challenge, implicit in his life, to rekindle in our hearts something of that call, and to
pray (as I think he did) for the inspiration and the guidance to play our part, however, small, in working for a kinder future.
Below is the list of the members of the British royal family and foreign royals who attended this morning’s Service of Thanksgiving:
- Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
- Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall
- Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal and Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence
- His Royal Highness The Duke of York
- The Earl and Countess of Wessex
- Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
- Their Royal Highnesses Prince George and Princess Charlotte of Cambridge
- His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent
- Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester
- Their Royal Highnesses Prince and Princess Michael of Kent
- Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor and James, The Viscount Severn
- Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrice of York and Mr. Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi
- Her Royal Highness Princess Eugenie of York and Mr. Jack Brooksbank
- Mrs. Zara Tindall and Mr. Mike Tindall
- Miss Mia Tindall
- Mr. Peter Philips
- Miss Isla Philips
- Miss Savannah Philips
- The Earl and Countess of St. Andrews
- The Earl of Snowdon
- Lady Margarita Armstrong Jones
- Lady Sarah Frances Elizabeth Chatto and Mr. David Chatto
- Lord and Lady Frederick Windsor
- Lady Gabriella Kingston (née Windsor) and Mr. Thomas Kingston
- Mr. James and Julia Ogilvy
- Mrs. Flora Ogilvy Vesterberg and Mr. Timothy Vesterberg
- Lady Amelia Windsor
- Their Highnesses Hereditary Prince Bernhard and Hereditary Princess Stephanie of Baden
- Their Majesties King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium
- His Highness Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa of Bahrain
- His Royal Highness Prince Kyril of Bulgaria, Prince of Preslav
- Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II of Denmark
- Her Majesty Queen Anne-Marie of Greece
- Their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Pavlos and Crown Princess Marie Chantal of Greece
- Their Royal Highnesses Prince Philippos and Princess Nina of Greece
- Prince Heinrich Donatus and Princess Floria-Franziska of Hesse
- Their Highnesses Prince Philipp and Princess Saskia of Hohenlohe-Langenburg
- Their Royal Highnesses Hassan bin Talal and Princess Sarvath al Hassan of Jordan
- Her Royal Highness Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg
- His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco
- Their Majesties King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands
- Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands
- Her Majesty Margareta, Custodian of the Crown of Romania and Prince Radu of Romania
- Their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine of Serbia
- Their Majesties King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain
- Their Majesties King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden
- Princess Christina of Sweden, Mrs. Magnuson
Other guests at the Service included representatives from UK Government, the Armed Forces and the Devolved Administrations, Realm High Commissioners, representatives of Overseas Territories, representatives from The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh’s Household, representatives from The Duke’s Regimental Affiliations in the UK and the Commonwealth as well as the clergy and other faiths.
Notably absent from today’s Service of Thanksgiving was The Duke of Sussex. It’s quite unfortunate that the Duke of Sussex did not attend this meaningful day; moreover, a day that meant so much to Her Majesty The Queen. In the past, the Duke has mentioned a myraid of times how much he “…adores his grandfather…” and how much the late Duke of Edinburgh has helped him throughout the years.
After the Service of Thanksgiving, His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales hosted a reception at Clarence House in London for members of the British royal family and foreign royals.