Madam Deputy Speaker
Today, may I join members on all sides of this House, who today give thanks for life and service of His Royal Highness, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
Prince Philip was a man who dedicated his entire life to duty. Duty to his wife, Her Majesty The Queen, duty to his Country and duty to all the nations of the Commonwealth.
In this, the longest reign of any monarch in British history and the history of these islands, the Duke of Edinburgh was always there, by the Queen’s side, defending and upholding the Crown, whilst at the same time showing his devotion to the people this country, though his work for so many wonderful causes, charities, the armed forces, sports, the arts and of course to the protection of our natural environment and wildlife in particular.
He was a good man, a man of character, integrity, courage and patriotism.
And so, on behalf of my constituents of Romford, I would like to offer my heartfelt sympathies to Her Majesty The Queen at this huge loss, to herself and the entire Royal Family.
A service of Thanksgiving for the life of His Royal Highness will be held at the Church of St. Edward The Confessor in Romford Market later this week It is a church that the Duke of Edinburgh and Her Majesty The Queen visited on the 3rd March 2003, following on from Her Majesty’s Golden Jubilee tour of the United Kingdom.
I remember the day well.
Upon their arrival in Romford Market, Her Majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh were greeted with rapturous applause from the people of my town and I had the pleasure of spending time with The Queen and His Royal Highness as the then new Member of Parliament for Romford, escorting them our histori market town to meet stall holders and local people, followed by community representatives in the Church and lunch in the Wykeham Hall.
Prince Philip had time for everyone. He showed enormous interest in all things that were important to others, with a great sense of humour at all times.
As Chairman of the British Irish Parliamentary Assembly, may I also pay tribute to His Royal Highness for the part he played in the Queen’s State visit to Ireland in May 2011, which did so much to help bring our two nations together, strengthening that bond of friendship between all the peoples across these blessed islands.
May I also pay tribute to His Royal Highness for his life-long support for the twenty one British Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies, the Duke having visited so many of them over his lifetime, and I especially recall that wonderful day in July 2002 at Tynwald Hill, on the Isle of Man where The Queen and Prince Philip came for the magnificent annual ceremony, celebrating the Manx tradition of Tynwald Day.
The Duke of Edinburgh was a man who made the most of his long life, but did so in the service of his family, his country and The Crown.
We owe him, so much. Thank you, Prince Philip.
God Save The Queen.