‘The Duke will be remembered with great affection’

FOND memories of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, were shared by the island’s dignitaries yesterday following an announcement from the royal family that he had died peacefully at Windsor Castle aged 99.

An official notification from Buckingham Palace was sent to Lt-Governor Vice Admiral Sir Ian Corder which read: ‘It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen announces the death of her beloved husband.

‘The royal family will join with people around the world in mourning his loss.’

Official condolences have been sent on behalf of the Bailiwick by Sir Ian, mentioning how His Royal Highness’s long life represented the epitome of loyalty, commitment, service and good humour and stands as an ‘inspiration to us all’.

Island dignitaries paying tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh at Government House. Left to right, Chief Minister Deputy Peter Ferbrache, Lt-Governor Vice Admiral Sir Ian Corder and Bailiff Richard McMahon. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 29421179)

‘His Royal Highness will be remembered with great affection across our islands, which he visited on six memorable occasions.’

Sir Ian reflected on the times he met Prince Philip during his service career, the last time being when he visited the Ministry of Defence when Sir Ian was working there.

‘My impression of him was that he was someone with huge energy and well-informed about the world and someone who knew a lot about the military because of his own career and subsequent interests,’ he said.

‘But he was also always very keen to engage with people and, of course, always had a great sense of humour.’

He believed that as time unfolded and people learned more about his life, islanders will realise just how important a figure he was.

Chief Minister Peter Ferbrache spoke about Prince Philip’s influence on young people, including thousands of those in the Bailiwick who had taken part in the Duke of Edinburgh Award.

‘He set up the Duke of Edinburgh Award over 60 years ago and many, many, many Channel Islanders have taken part in that and he did it with such vitality, interest and dedication,’ he said.

‘The word “greatness” is bandied around but he was a great man, he had a great influence on British life, the life of this Crown Dependency and the world in general over many decades.’

All smiles on the quay at Maseline Harbour in Sark during the June 1978 Royal visit. (29421396)

Calling him a ‘bubbly figure’, Deputy Ferbrache said the Duke could have easily been innocuous, walking several paces behind Her Majesty. But that was not his style, and he wanted to do and achieve things, sometimes even saying outrageous things.

Bailiff Richard McMahon said it was immensely sad that Prince Philip had died two months before his 100th birthday.

He had been in his presence twice, once in Guernsey when he visited with Her Majesty for the 60th anniversary of the Liberation, and again at a garden party at Buckingham Palace.

His 2005 visit for the Liberation was the last of his six to the Bailiwick.

Mr McMahon said there would be plenty of people in the Bailiwick who would have had the good fortune to have met Prince Philip.

‘On a personal note, one of the routes I take to the local supermarket takes me past the parish church of St Pierre du Bois and there’s a little stone outside there from his visit in the 1980s when the Duke and Her Majesty had a walk around there,’ he said.

‘So it wasn’t confined to St Peter Port or just to Guernsey, there have been plenty of people who will have their fondest memories of having been in the presence of Her Majesty and The Duke.’

Government House put on its own tribute to the Royal Family yesterday afternoon. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 29421148)

When asked what people who have met him would likely remember of his character, the Bailiff said his impression was that the couple had a nicely balanced difference in approach.

‘I can imagine those who have had the benefit of talking to him being impressed with the level of loyalty and support he has given to our sovereign, but also the fact that he would have a little mischievous smile to what he was saying and doing.’

Having had the privilege of meeting Prince Philip on visits to Lincoln Cathedral, the Dean of Guernsey, the Very Rev. Tim Barker, said it was his devotion to supporting Her Majesty through her reign and their 73-year marriage that was inspiring.

All smiles on the quay at Maseline Harbour in Sark during the June 1978 Royal visit. (29421396)

‘Prince Philip has given a remarkable life of service to the United Kingdom, the Crown Dependencies and the Commonwealth. He has engaged, in his inimitable style, with young people, through the establishment of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, with technological initiatives, with the armed forces and with his many patronages.’

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