Bishop Terry has offered the following words on the death of HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh…
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Queen and the Royal Family at this moment, as they take in the news that Prince Philip has died. A wonderful and beloved husband to Her Majesty the Queen, a devoted father, grandfather and great grandfather.
Well known and well loved by the nation, well known and well loved by the nations of the Commonwealth and many other nations throughout the world. He will be sorely missed by many. But as I said right at the beginning, my thoughts and prayers go out to Her Majesty the Queen and the Royal Family first and foremost.
One of the most awful things about our present situation of the pandemic is that so many people have been deprived of the company of their loved ones, especially at times of sickness and those very precious moments when they leave this world.
That is true also of many members of the Royal Family. They have not been able to see Prince Philip and be close to him over these last few months. And not all of them will be able to be physically present at his funeral.
Hence the necessity for us all to mourn and express our sympathies in a much more private and demure manner, leaving aside much of the pomp and ceremony that would have surrounded the Princes’ obsequies.
And so, our hearts go out to the Royal Family and we wish them comfort and strength at this particular time. We give thanks to Almighty God for the many gifts that Prince Philip has brought to our country, has brought to our world.
And we commend him to the mercy of God, especially at this time of Easter when we Christians who believe and celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus can even look in the face of death with confidence because we know that Jesus who died is now risen.
What a man of duty, service and constant companionship to Her Majesty, Prince Philip has been. He has stood steadfastly at the Queen’s side for over 70 years. No matter how prepared she might have been for his eventually passing, there is no doubt that she has lost, literally, her other half.
That feeling of loss is surely felt by many of us. It is difficult for the vast majority of people in this nation to imagine a time when Prince Philip has not been around, has not been there. And so, for us all this is a time of bereavement and genuine mourning.
But what a legacy he leaves behind! He was patron of some 800 charities, but he will be especially remembered for his championing of World Wildlife and the protection of the natural world long before it was in vogue, as it were. So many young people have profited and been encouraged by the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme. I for one can testify to how that scheme stretched and moulded me and gave me confidence to move forward in service to my neighbour and the greater society.
So, we place Prince Philip into the Lord’s hands and pray that he may rest in peace and rise again in glory. And we pray for the Queen and the Royal Family in their time of grief and mourning. And we can also remember all those who have died during this time of the pandemic and all those who were not able to mourn for them as they would have wanted. May the Lord bring comfort, solace, and hope to all.
Terence Patrick, Bishop of Middlesbrough
A Book of Condolence is available at St Mary’s Cathedral before and after daily Masses for those who wish to sign it.
An online Book of Condolence is also available at royal.uk.