HRH Prince Philip HRH Prince Philip

Remembering HRH Prince Philip

On behalf of the whole community here at Chelmsford Cathedral, I want today to express my condolences following the death of Prince Philip.

It has been an extraordinary life – from his birth on the Greek Island of Corfu in 1921 to his gentle death on 9th April 2021, an extraordinary life straddling an extraordinary century which has witnessed the Two World Wars – in the second of which he served in the Royal Navy – and a society that has changed with increasing rapidity over the last 70 years.  Prince Philip's own identity – Greek by birth, Danish by identity, British by adopted nationality – suggests something of the complexity that we know as a society today, and the changing world through which he has lived.

For all of us, our celebrations of Prince Philip’s life inevitably centre on his profoundly supportive role as the husband of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. Whatever insights we may feel we have had through documentaries, films and contemporary television series in to the life of the Royal Family, there has also been a deeply private relationship, in which his fundamental support for the Queen has been absolute and unwavering.

In May 2014 the Queen and Prince Philip visited Chelmsford Cathedral to celebrate our centenary year. It was a wonderful and memorable occasion, with many rich memories. But what I remember most today is Prince Philip’s wonderfully dry sense of humour as we waited together in a small anteroom after the service in the Cathedral before meeting guests. That day I saw above all his rounded humanity – a gift worth celebrating today.

Nicholas Henshall, Dean of Chelmsford