Service of commemoration held for Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, at St Edmundsbury Cathedral in Bury St Edmunds
Various dignitaries filtered into St Edmundsbury Cathedral, Bury St Edmunds, earlier this afternoon to pay their respects at a special commemoration service for Prince Philip, who died aged 99 last Friday.
At a socially distanced occasion, around 90 guests were in attendance, including Peter Thompson, Bury St Edmunds town mayor, the Bishop of St Edmundsbury, the Rt Rev Martin Seeley, and the Dean of St Edmundsbury, the Very Rev Joe Hawes, who led the choral service and spoke briefly of the Duke of Edinburgh's 'self-abrogating' life of service.
"As so often happens, in recent days the stories of his life and achievements have told the nation much that we didn't know of this quiet, remarkable man," the Dean said.
On what was a sunny yet chilly Spring afternoon, the Cathedral Edmund Consort performed a number of hymns which echoed out across the Nave and into the side aisles.
Lord Tollemache, former Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk, stood at the Pulpit with light pouring into the cathedral and recalled his meetings with the Duke of Edinburgh, whom he said had a 'fierce intellect' and great sense of humour.
Lord Tollemache was just one of a number of speakers who carried out readings at the service.
Lady Euston, who was at the service, said it was a chance to 'reflect and celebrate' Philip's life.
"His Royal Highness has been at the heart of our national life for over 70 years; always leading by example in encouraging and inspiring people across the generations to make the very best of themselves and to contribute to the wellbeing of communities and nation alike," she said.
“Above all he gave the most wonderful support to Her Majesty The Queen.
"He was a man of great personal faith and his life-long service and dedication to family, and this nation, will be an enduring example to us all.”
The Duke of Edinburgh last visited St Edmundsbury Cathedral for the Office for the Royal Maundy on April 9, 2009 – exactly 12 years to the day he died.
He carried out more than 22,000 solo engagements from 1952 and made lasting contributions including as founder of the Duke of Edinburgh Award, President of the World Wildlife Fund and Chancellor of Cambridge University.
The Rt Revd Martin Seeley, said Prince Philip had given 'outstanding' service to the nation, commonwealth and church.
“His charitable work and patronage have been an example and inspiration to many people," he said.
“The service of thanksgiving is an opportunity to celebrate his life, and to pray for the Queen and the Royal Family in their mourning.”
The Duke of Edinburgh's funeral will be held tomorrow at St George's Chapel in Windsor, with 30 guests invited.