Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle pays tribute to Prince Philip
Prince Philip with the Queen at the 2012 State Opening of Parliament
When I first heard about the death of Prince Philip, I thought of the tremendous loss to the Her Majesty the Queen – the Duke was always by her side and gave his ideas, advice and encouragement to her for more than 70 years.
Whether it was with such dignity attending the formal occasions when the Queen attended Parliament with the Duke of Edinburgh for the State Opening, or on visiting a country town, his support and loyalty was always clearly displayed.
It is also a great loss to everyone in the country, felt most strongly by the millions of those who have taken part in his finest achievement, the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. These young people included some from my own constituency of Chorley in Lancashire last year who, along with so many others, showed such drive and initiative to develop themselves further by continuing with the Award programme despite the lockdown.
As we reflect on "a life well lived" we should not forget the wide-ranging achievements of Prince Philip
Born in Corfu of Danish descent, the young Philip's family was exiled, and he found a home in Britain and came to exemplify the traditional standards of loyalty and quiet determination to be found throughout the United Kingdom. In addition, during such a long and full life, his deeply-held beliefs taught us how to be committed and steadfast in our fields of work and home life. Outspoken, with a great sense of humour, he wasn't afraid of talking openly about issues that were close to him.
As a moderniser and public reformer, he promoted the latest in engineering and design and his ideas were developed through the organisations which he led and through a busy programme of engagements, speeches, chairmanships and public duties. The Duke was at the forefront of environmentalism – in protecting the natural world, and he realised that people depend on every living thing on this planet. As he said: we are part of the web of life because we depend on other life. As a pioneer in the World Wildlife Fund, he travelled widely to secure public interest in nature and its protection.
On a local level, he took time to promote sport in communities who may otherwise have lacked facilities. For instance, as President of Fields in Trust, Prince Philip ensured that local people were given sports fields at a time when open land in towns was being eaten up by buildings.
Prince Philip’s sporting interests were wide-ranging; as a sailor, he regularly attended Cowes week for the Regatta – and won. He was a cricket enthusiast, took part in horse riding and performed as a top polo player – he was a winner for Britain too at carriage-driving, which he took up later in life.
His long association with the armed services began as an officer in the Royal Navy during the Second World War and he encouraged his children to follow suit. He became a qualified pilot, gained his helicopter wings, became Admiral of the Fleet for more than 50 years, helped to design the Royal Yacht, Britannia, won numerous medals for bravery and long service, visited troops in Iraq, travelled with the Queen throughout the Commonwealth and only stepped down from official royal duties at the age of 96.
As we reflect on "a life well lived" we should not forget the wide-ranging achievements of Prince Philip – the ambassador, the serviceman, the scientist, artist, naturalist, family man, committee chairman, traveller, loyal supporter of the country and Commonwealth. He will be sorely missed and impossible to replace.
Sir Lindsay Hoyle is MP for Chorley and Speaker of the House of Commons