HRH Prince Philip – The Epitome Of Public Service, by Lord Popat

The nation was gripped with sadness following the passing of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh – Britain’s longest serving consort of a British monarch.

Prince Philip was indeed an extraordinary man who lived an extraordinary life. He was the epitome of public service who devoted his entire life to Crown and Country. He demonstrated the essence of selfless service and lived by the motto that the things you do for others remain your greatest legacy.

Described by Her Majesty The Queen as her ‘strength and stay’, Prince Philip was the Queen’s loyal and unwavering companion for over 73 years. It was no easy feat, one which required him to walk several steps behind her wife. However, it was a role that he held proudly, and he became incalculable to the success and stability of the monarchy. In years to come, be became a strikingly modern figure who transformed the role of consort.

I have some particular fond memories of His Royal Highness from the time I served as a member of the Royal Household as a Lord in Waiting and Minister of Crown. I was struck by his devotion to service and his positive attitude to issues, particularly his deep interest in faith. He served with a remarkable generosity of spirit, which became an example to us all.

His life reflected the sweeping changes of the turbulent 20th Century. During the last century he dedicated his entire life to the construction of a better Britain, urging the country to adopt scientific methods, embracing the ideas of industrial design, planning, education and training. His most endearing passion was his commitment to the Duke of Edinburgh’s award scheme, which he founded in 1956. The programme operating in more than 140 countries, encourages young people to volunteer for community service.

By character, he was an avid sportsman who enjoyed participating and watching sports until his last years. Often described as restless, he was a man of distinction who possessed a keen intellectual curiosity. He was a man with a sharp mind (occasionally a sharp tongue!), who quickly learnt to carve out a role for himself within the Royal Household. He pursued a number of interests, including the environment, warning for the need for environmental sustainability long before it become fashionable.

Prince Philip also had a strong business instinct who championed industry. It is often said that had it not been for his Royal background, in another life, he would have made a fine and astute businessman. He possessed the right listening capability, always asking the right questions. Prince Philip was devoted to empowering people to be the best they can be, and he understood how to motivate people. He was never afraid to speak his mind and his motto was to get things done.

The passing of Prince Philips marks an end of an era and will no doubt leave a tremendous void for Her Majesty The Queen and indeed the nation. At this difficult time, our thoughts and prayers go out to the Queen who has become a widow. In the midst of this pandemic, like so many families up and down the country, the ability to mourn and support each other is all the more harder. However, Prince Philip’s passing unites us in grief and gratitude.

Prince Philip was one of a kind whose like we will regrettably never see again. He leaves behind a fantastic legacy and a proud nation. May his soul rest in eternal peace.