Prince Philip dedicated his life to serving our country, through his time in the Royal Navy to his decades as Duke of Edinburgh. His support for the Queen and commitment to public service were exemplary. He’ll be sorely missed.
My tribute in the House of Commons:
His Royal Highness Prince Philip was a colossal figure in our public life, an exemplary public servant to our country and a stoic and committed tower of strength to Her Majesty the Queen. Today we send our warmest wishes and condolences to the Queen and the royal family at what families all around our country will recognise as being a truly and deeply sorrowful time. Prince Philip’s patriotism and his commitment to a greater collective common good were exemplified in his military service. When our nation, our values and our way of life were threatened, he was there with those other British servicemen and women, standing up to defend the open, liberal, tolerant Britain that we are so privileged to call our home today.
Of course, Prince Philip will be most remembered for his seven decades of service as the Duke of Edinburgh. Throughout that time he was a loving and loyal servant, husband, guide and confidant to the Queen. He was always by her side, step by step and duty by duty. The modern family comes in all shapes and sizes, and with all manner of personal challenges, yet whenever the royal family was faced with its own challenges, the quiet, stoic, sturdy and reassuring presence of Prince Philip was there to guide it.
We in this House are great believers in the power of words and arguments, and rightly so, but Prince Philip’s approach to life was a constant reminder of the fact that actions speak louder than words. The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme is surely the outstanding example of that principle. Indeed, thousands of my Aberavon constituents have benefited hugely from the scheme, which has done so much to help so many young people to realise their potential.
Prince Philip will also always be remembered in Wales for the fact that he was the first member of the royal family to visit Aberfan following the horrific disaster in 1966. Indeed, he was on the scene little more than 24 hours after the colliery spoil tip had collapsed on to the junior school, killing 144 local people including 116 children. Prince Philip met local families who were beside themselves with grief, and he showed great compassion. He then brought the Queen to Aberfan the following week, and we know that their visit and their time gave some comfort to the people of Aberfan at that time of unimaginable tragedy. We therefore pay tribute to Prince Philip, a moderniser but a traditionalist, a family man but also a man of action, and we express our gratitude for his service to Queen and country. May he rest in peace.