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A Service of Prayer and Reflection for HRH Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh

 

 

Anglicans across Europe came together yesterday evening for a Service to mark the life and work of the late HRH Prince Philip.

Bishop Robert Innes and Bishop David Hamid presided.

Introducing the early evening Service of Prayer and Reflection, Bishop Robert recalled that the late Prince Philip was born in Corfu, and was a Prince of Denmark, with German ancestry. “He was both British and European.  He was a man of great character, extensive interests and wide sympathies.  He was in some respects well ahead of his time,” Bishop Robert said.

Bishop Robert added that, from the European Union, the President of the Commission, Dr Ursula von der Leyen and Vice-President, Margaritis Schinas (who leads the Commission’s dialogue with Churches) and European Parliament Vice-President, Roberta Metsola MEP, had all expressed their condolences.  The Bishop has also received messages of condolence from ecumenical leaders in the Conference of European Churches (CEC) and the Conference of Catholic Bishops in the European Union (COMECE).

The Service featured contributions from across our European and global diocese, including Corfu, Denmark, Gibraltar and Malta, reflecting Prince Philip's life, lineage, and career as a naval officer, and his particular link to the diocese as Royal Patron of St Paul's Pro Cathedral, Valletta.

The Revd Smitha Prasadam, Chaplain at St Alban, Copenhagen offered a reading from Psalm 107, and Archdeacon Dr Leslie Nathaniel, read from Revelation 21 in the New Testament. The Revd Julian Wilson, Chaplain at Corfu, gave thanks for the life of Prince Philip. Pam Baker, a Reader in the Diocese at Holy Trinity Cathedral, Gibraltar offered the responses during the Service. 

The Service included the hymn O, God our help in ages past, and a sung Psalm 23.  Organ music before the service featured Priere à Notre-Dame (Boëllmann) and Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier, BWV 731 (J.S. Bach).  You can read the full order of service here.

The Revd Canon Simon Godfrey, Chancellor of St Paul's Pro Cathedral, Valletta offered a Reflection, in which he emphasised Prince Philip’s close personal connections to Malta.

Fr. Simon recounted the time the then Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip spent there as newlyweds in the late 1940s, while Prince Philip was stationed in Malta as a naval officer.  Following HM The Queen’s Coronation, and now as Consort to Her Majesty, HRH Prince Philip visited Malta during their 1954 Commonwealth Tour, inaugurating the Golden Eagle Memorial in Valletta to Royal Air Force pilots and aircrew who had protected the islands during World War Two. 

In 1967, The Duke inaugurated the Friends of the Pro Cathedral, with its then Chancellor.  In 2007, the Royal couple celebrated their Diamond Wedding Anniversary on the islands. And in November 2015, HRH accompanied HM The Queen to a Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Malta. On that occasion, he visited the Pro Cathedral, becoming Royal Patron of the Friends. He met members of the congregation, and veterans from his own regiment, on what Fr Simon said was “a genuinely memorable occasion”; and this was one of his many frequent visits to Malta.

Bishop David led prayers and gave the Commendation.

The service concluded with the United Kingdom National Anthem. 

Following the service, Bishop Robert commented:

"As a diocese, we wanted to give Anglicans from across Europe an opportunity to pray for, and reflect on the service HRH Prince Philip dedicated in many ways, and which embrace his life story, including his links with our own diocese. We plan to honour the memory of his late Royal Highness at a physical service in the diocese, once this is again possible."

You can watch the Diocese in Europe service on video here. The service starts 13 mins into the recording.

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The Ceremonial Royal Funeral Service for the late HRH Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, will be held at St George's Chapel, Windsor today at 3PM BST.