Angela Rayner Pays Tribute to Prince Philip
HM Queen Elizabeth II and HRH Prince Philip at the Epsom Derby, England June 1989 | Alamy
The passing of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip has given us all a chance to reflect on his remarkable life and the enduring contribution he has made to our nation as we pay tribute to his lasting legacy.
As the longest-serving Royal Consort in our history, His Royal Highness was an unwavering source of stability to the Queen, our country and people across the Commonwealth.
When the news about this passing broke, I thought first and foremost of the Queen and the grief she must be faced with having lost her husband of seven decades. Although our Royal Family is the most public of families, it is right that the Queen and her family are given the time, respect and space to grieve and mourn the loss of a much-loved husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather.
Prince Philip dedicated his life to public service but what resonates most with the great British public and with myself was his devotion to our Queen.
The Queen said it herself that he was not only her “beloved husband”, but her “strength and stay” for seven decades.
He has been steadfast by her side in times of celebration and in crisis. Together, they have been a symbol of strength and stability in a world that has seen monumental changes – both good and bad.
As a nation we mourn his indomitable spirit and as we remember him, we too must celebrate him.
The Duke of Edinburgh lived his life in service and in duty to our country. He bravely fought for what was then King and country in the Second World War. Forging a distinguished career within the Royal Navy, the Duke will long be remembered as a staunch defender and champion of our Armed Forces and our brave servicemen and women.
As a patron of more than 800 charities and organisations, and the first President of the World Wildlife Fund, the Duke was also a passionate and committed philanthropist.
Of course for many of us in Britain, particularly in constituencies like mine, it is for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award that the Duke will be fondly remembered.
Through these awards, the Duke empowered and inspired millions of young people across the world and has equipped future generations the world over with the skills to challenge themselves and to help others.
The benefits of such life lessons are immeasurable and give us all an insight into the virtues of hard work, sacrifice and discipline. For many children growing up in deprived communities in particular, it is hard to overstate just how much of an impact the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award has had on the lives of millions of young people.
Over his decades of service, the Duke saw the very best of our country. His endless optimism in the potential of our great nation is something I and many others share. He loved our country and we loved him in return. His loss will be felt by the Royal Family and far further afield for many years to come.
Angela Rayner is Labour MP for Ashton-under-Lyne and deputy leader of the Labour Party