Prayers to honour Prince Philip who 'lived and died a man of his word' in service to Queen and country

As a nation paused in gentle sorrow a prayer of gratitude was made for a Royal who “lived and died a man of his word”, and in promise to both Queen and country.

On the first Sunday since the death of the Duke of Edinburgh, there have been moments of quiet contemplation as communities united in reflection.

As some members of the Royal Family attended services in the grounds of Windsor Castle, nationwide there were prayers of thanksgiving.

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In services without grand ceremony and in the absence of a major congregation, but instead broadcast live to a listening audience, church leaders paid solemn tribute to Prince Philip.

People light candles outside Buckingham Palace, London. Aaron Chown/PA Wire

They spoke of a man with a “self-effacing sense of duty, an abiding sense of purpose, and a particular character of service”.

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The Very Rev Dr David Hoyle, the Dean of Westminster, led services at the setting where Prince Philip married Princess Elizabeth in 1947, and where he later pledged allegiance.

“We thank God for a life, witness and service of the Duke of Edinburgh, in this abbey church where he made promises that were a lifelong commitment,” said the Dean.

The Countess of Wessex, with her daughter Lady Louise Windsor, talks to Cannon Martin Poll, Domestic Chaplin to Her Majesty The Queen, as they attend the Sunday service at the Royal Chapel of All Saints, Windsor. Steve Parsons/PA Wire

“Here, on June 2, 1953, he knelt before our newly crowned sovereign and made homage as a ‘liege man of life and limb’. He was a man of his word. He was always a man of his word.

“He gave his service to the crown and always wanted our attention directed just there.”

Following prayers said for Her Majesty the Queen and the Royal family, there was specially recorded music including William Harris’s anthem, Bring us, o Lord God, at our last awakening, sung by The Choir of Westminster Abbey.

Thankfulness

The Dean went on to speak of a man who never courted the spotlight but had many gifts, of a resilience in youth, a distinguished naval service, a proven ability to lead, and a great love of family.

It was a “character of humanity” that fascinated Prince Philip, he added.

“He quoted Shakespeare in saying: ‘men, at some time, are masters of their fates’,” reflected the Dean.

“Life was not something that happened to him, it was an act of discipline and will. He was not wrong. He knew that we are called to live fully and die in hope.

“There are so many different things that he could have achieved. We are thankful that this life, this energy and ability, was put to the service of the crown and our commonwealth.”

Firm foundations

Hull Cathedral, hosting an online book of condolences, cautiously opened its doors for mourners to light a candle, following careful guidance and distancing.

At York Minster, a service of thanksgiving was held by the Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, attended by the Lord Lieutenant of North Yorkshire, Jo Ropner, who read from the Acts of the Apostles.

The Archbishop, as the nation began a time of national mourning, spoke of a man the Queen had once described as “her rock”.

Reflecting upon this choice of words, he said, the Queen had found in Prince Philip a sense of strength, dependability and security, even a “foundation upon which life could be built”.

“We all know that the most extravagantly beautiful buildings require the firmest foundations,” he said.

“What Her Majesty the Queen has achieved, through a lifetime of service, has been built upon the foundations of marriage, and to a man whose own values and character were formed first through exile and then through the turmoils of war.”

The nation has now entered a week of national mourning, which will last until the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh on Saturday at Windsor Castle.

Until then Union flags are to be flown at half mast, with a three-minute silence to be held at 3pm as a mark of respect as Prince Philip is laid to rest.

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